I took advantage of a gloomy day in Auckland to start thinking about my next stop following New Zealand. I really love traveling open ended because it does allow you to go at your own pace and figure where you would like to go along the way. One down side is…you have to actually take the time to figure those things out and book them.
So, where am I going? The COOK ISLANDS!! This really kind of came out of nowhere, but I could not be more excited about it! Oh, and I leave in 4 days!!
Sorting it all out
When I bought a one way ticket to New Zealand, I knew I would need to show proof of onward travel. Basically, New Zealand will give U.S. citizens a 3 month tourist visa, but they want to know that you’ll be getting the bloody hell out. I knew this, but told myself I would deal with it later. Well, later showed up the night before my big trip was starting when online checkin with my airline reminded me….oooops!
So, rather than create a fake itinerary (not advisable in the stricter countries), I booked a fully refundable ticket over to Australia. I never really had a strong desire to go to Australia, I am not sure why. I had thoughts of heading over to one of the South Pacific islands, but after looking into it and talking to some folks, I was getting the impression that it might be too expensive to swing with less than one week’s notice.
So, I went back to this ticket to Australia I had and thought, well….what the hell, why not do it for a couple weeks?! So, I booked it! Changed the flight and reorganized to go to Australia. I was set!
Or so I thought…
I couldn’t help but to keep thinking about the islands. Before I came on this trip, I told myself I wanted to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves and I felt like this was one of them. I knew about the Cook Islands because some friends of mine had been to them recently and raved about them. I liked the idea that they were off the beaten path too.
I found myself in a book store and was reading a Lonely Planet book on the Cook Islands. They listed a few hostels and more budget accommodations on the islands. After a few emails, checking of flights….the trip was booked! I will be flying into Rarotonga and staying there for 2 nights, then flying to another island, Aitutaki, and staying there for 5 nights, before going back to Rarotonga for another 2 nights and finally back to Auckland! Whew! From Auckland I will finish the rest of my backpacker bus tour heading south down the north island and on the west coast of the south island. That part should take me another 3 weeks or so. But, I am thrilled for this next part of my adventure!
Has anyone ever been to the Cooks? Is it on your travel bucket list?
photo credit #1: www.aroapalms.com
photo credit #2: www.beautifulpacific.com/polynesia-islands.php