The Cook Islands are a holidaymaker’s paradise and are rightly known for its incredible beaches, amazing scenery, world-class resorts and rich culture. What you may not know is that it is also a place that is home to an abundant array of wildlife, some of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world!
We thought we’d share some of our favourites with you to give you something else to look forward to during your dream Cook Islands getaway.
1. Black Lip Pearl Oyster
The Black Lip Pearl Oyster gets the honour of being first on our list and is one that can’t be missed when on holiday in Manahiki. This is not because of the species itself, but the invaluable resource they produce – black pearls. Widely considered the highest quality of all the pearls, they are part of a thriving and important industry in the Cook Islands. They are readily available in the local jewellery stores and markets in the form of earrings, bracelets, necklaces etc. They’re naturally exotic and look stunning, making for great gifts for the friends and family back home.
2. Coconut Crabs
Found on the outer islands, Coconut Crabs became an overnight sensation when they were famously featured on an episode of Survivor: Cook Islands in 2006. These amazing creatures are among the largest of their kind and can grow up to 40 cm in length and weigh over 4 kgs. The Coconut Crabs mainly feed on fruit, nuts and seeds and is also known as “robber” crabs due to their tendency to find food and do a runner. Unfortunately, they have become increasingly rare in the Islands but are still seen from time to time. If you’re lucky enough to spot one, make sure you have your camera close by as you won’t want to miss out on this photo op!
3. Hawksbill Turtles
The Hawksbill Turtle is one of a number of sea turtles you might encounter in the Cook Islands (others include the Green Turtle and Loggerhead Turtle). Like most sea turtles, they are a real crowd-pleaser for tourists and these ones, especially so, with their unique pointed beak (like a hawk’s) and stunning shells. They also have a biofluorescent quality, making them all the more magical to look at. Having been swimming these waters for over a hundred years, you’re most likely to see them in and around the coral reefs. There are also diving tours you can do to increase your chances.
4. Moko (Gecko/ Lizard)
Possibly a less glamourous and revered example on this list, the Moko is nevertheless, a common and iconic inhabitant of Rarotonga. There are at least half a dozen species, in the Cook Islands but the Moko stands out because of its great shrilling voice which you will no doubt hear for yourselves. Their unique toe pads allow them to climb trees, walls and even ceilings very effectively and they are quick movers too. They’re sometimes difficult to spot because of their ability to camouflage by changing the colour of their skin but there are enough of them around to pretty much guarantee you’ll spot a few during your trip.
5. Humpback Whales
If you’re coming to the Cook Islands between the months of June and September you’ll be timing your visit to the migration patterns of the magnificent Humpback Whales. These glorious creatures are nothing short of breath-taking and they love exploring and feeding in the deep trenches near the coral reefs of Rarotonga. On a beautiful evening, relaxing on the beach staring out towards the sunset, you might see one or two of them breach the surface out on the horizon.
Some Fantastic Wildlife In Rarotonga To Discover!
As you can see, there are some fantastic species of wildlife to discover during your next holiday in the Cook Islands. It’s just another reason to start making plans for your next getaway in our little island paradise of the South Pacific.