Photography Highlights in Cook Islands


With crystal-clear azure waters, swaying palm trees, and bone-white sands, this picturesque little island offers many photography highlights. Rarotonga is the biggest and most visited island out of the 15 islands, but it is still relatively small – the circumference is only 32km and is easy to navigate (you can’t get lost here!).

In Raro, there is that island-time feel – waking up to the sounds of the Rarotongan drum (Pate) in the distance and the roosters crowing on the back lawn. But my recent two-month-long photography assignment was far from boring or uneventful.

Every day I discovered new opportunities and locations to cover rain or shine. After years of traveling the world, no island has pulled me back to return like
Rarotonga has.

Photography Highlight #1 – The Beaches, of course

The beautiful beaches filled with contrasting colors, and vibrant hues and of the south
coast were my favorite. Titikaveka Beach (near a little Polynesian resort) won my vote
along with the ever-popular Muri coming in second place. Young woman looking at sarongs for sale at the markets in Rarotonga Cook Islands



Rarotonga Cook Islands


Photography Highlight #2 – Saturday Market
The Saturday Punanga Nui Market is filled with bustling stall owners, song and dance, and a chance to see and support the locals

Photography Highlight #3 – The Sunrises
Rarotonga for its known for its impressive sunsets on the West Coast and has many
dining and accommodation options built with this in mind, but the colourful sunrises
in Muri are worth getting up early for too!
Polynesian Pacific Islander man and woman dancing at Muri lagoon in Rarotonga Cook Islands

Photography Highlight #4 – Friendly People and Beautiful Culture
Aside from the white-washed churches that splatter the island and the mesmerising
traditional hip-shaking cultural dance shows, Cook Islanders are some of the kindest
and friendliest people I have met.

Photography Highlight #5 -The interior – Mountain Trek
Head into the mountains to get up close and personal with nature and wildlife such as beautiful butterflies or colorful Pacific pigeons (rupe). The interior is lush and green with many hiking paths to explore. The most popular is the cross-Island trek that starts from Avatiu and ends at Wigmore’s waterfall, passing by the Needle (Te Rua Manga).

Pa’s Treks
The track is through dense tropical rainforest through steep and narrow
terrain and takes about 3 hours. There are also many smaller tracks all around the
island which will give you a chance to capture the lush interior in only a few hours.

Photography Highlight #6 – From above and below
Impressive from under the water and over the land, the clear and calm lagoon waters
are perfect for underwater photography, while a short 40min plane ride over land to
capture the panorama of the coral atoll and picturesque reef and lagoon in every
imaginable shade of blue will be a lasting memory. The aren’t any drone
restrictions here that I know of like in many other countries which make this
photograph is a lot easier to capture.

Recommended Gear: underwater camera, drone (or take a scenic flight with Air
Rarotonga), backup camera, and accessories (you can’t get them fixed or replaced on the island).