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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cook Islands

The Cook Islands are situated 3,500km (2,200 miles) northeast of New Zealand and 1,000km (600 miles) southwest of Tahiti in the South Pacific, forming part of Polynesia. The islands fall into two groups: the scattered Northern Group are all coral atolls while the Southern Group is of volcanic origin. Most of the larger islands include lagoons surrounded by small areas of fertile land above which rise volcanic hills. Unsurprisingly, given their beauty, the Cook Islands have been used as the setting for several films, the best known being Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence.People come to the Cook Islands for the beaches - and unspoiled ones, at that. The Cook Islands, despite covering a vast area, have a very small population, and the islands do not possess any of the large tourist resorts that some might expect from a lush holiday destination. Yet others might delight in the pristine, powdery beaches and the utter tranquillity. There are, of course, more developed resorts on certain islands than others, such as those on Rarotonga (where the airport is situated) and Aitutaki, which cater for various activities