While we are looking to go into the Fall and winter, a time when temperatures drop, there is a place in the South Pacific where summer temperatures still remain - the Cook Islands is such a place. They are located north-east of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and American Samoa, are of volcanic origin, and were visited by the first Europeans in 1814.
This is a chain of 15 islands, of which only two are developed for tourism, the others are sparsely populated or undeveloped, each with their own culture and each reflecting the teachings of the Missionares who arrived as early as 1821 and quickly tried to disperse the worship of tribal gods and idols.
Rarotonga is the youngest island in the southern group, and also the Capital city and home to the International Airport. It was once dominated by an extensive volcanic pyramid, which over time has worn down to sawtooth peaks and razorback ridges. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful of the South Pacific Islands, with it's emerald green waters, jagged peaks, deep valleys, aquamarine lagoon, and swaying coconut palms; it is every ones dream of the perfect island paradise.
The islands are very laid back with swimming and relaxing on the white sand beaches the favorite pasttime. The more active person will find lots of things to do - fish and snorkel in the lagoon, hike the trails and nature walks that pass through local plantations and over lush green foliage which often gives way to the various waterfalls that can be seen in the valleys, lookout areas and tropical rain forests. In the south-east side of Rarotonga the Takitu Conservatory Area is home to the endangered Kakeroi bird, as well as other bird species and rare orchids. The sandy bottom lagoon at Muir Beach is one of the best places for sailing, kayaking, wind-surfing, kite-surfing and snorkeling. There are also guided tours to these places as well as to the quaint villages with their borderless houses, roaming chickens, pigs and other farm animals.
One of the most popular ways of getting around is on the island bus, or renting a scooter to go as one wishes. Using the road that circles the island it is easy to get to the villages, fields of taro, mango and bananas. On Saturday mornings, in the main town of Avarua, visitors can shop for brightly colored Sarongs, flower garlands, freshly caught fish, local fruit and vegetables, which is good for those who are staying in rented houses and apartments. There are also small boutiques selling black pearls and fine handcrafts. In the evenings there is fine dining on local cuisine at the restaurants, many of which offer dancing, drinking and local entertainment. The church is an important part of village life, every Sunday morning families turn out to attend the services that are followed by a feast, an excellent way for visitors, who attend, to get to meet the local folks.
The smaller island Aitutaki is north of Rarotonga, and the other place developed for tourism, but on a smaller scale, it has one main town Arutanga. On the south side of the island a break in the reef, that forms the basics of the island, allows small boats to enter the lagoon. On the western side there is a way through the reef that allows boats to enter and anchor close to the shore. One of the best attractions is the small islet in the lagoon, known as 'One Foot Island' which one can walk to, on a sandbar during low tide.
There are daily international flights to Rarotonga, and daily flights from there to Aitutaki. Both places have a large selection of accommodations ranging from resorts to beach huts; restaurants serve international and island cuisine many of them also offering dancing, bars and entertainment.
Recommended websites: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aitutaki