Self-Guided Vacation in the Cook Islands and Sydney with Five-Star Accommodations
Despite its sugar-white beaches, lush tropical foliage, and turquoise lagoons with colorful fish and coral, the Cook Islands have yet to become a major tourist spot. That’s good news to visitors of the South Pacific island chain, who can enjoy the picturesque surroundings in relative peace and quiet. On this 11-day, 8-night luxury vacation from Air New Zealand Vacations, you can experience the Cook Islands’ untouched natural beauty at your leisure, then spend a few nights in the cosmopolitan city of Sydney. The trip includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles (LAX) on Air New Zealand, accommodations in 5- and 4.5-star hotels, and daily breakfast.
To see a full itinerary, click here.
Days 1–5: Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Fly to Rarotonga (flight time is approximately 10 hours and 15 minutes), then transfer to the 4.5-star Crown Beach Resort & Spa, where you will spend four nights.
Rarotonga is a speck of white sand, emerald-green mountains, and dense jungle in the South Pacific. It’s the Cook Islands’ most populous island, and tourists come for the tranquil beaches, colorful dive sites, and unspoiled jungles that shelter colorful birds. There’s also a significant Polynesian cultural presence here, which you can learn about at the Te Vara Nui village during crafting demonstrations and nightly dance performances.
In Rarotonga, you’ll stay right on the beach at the 4.5-star Crown Beach Resort & Spa. The luxury resort sits in 5 acres of tropical gardens, along a long stretch of white-sand beach overlooking a shallow lagoon. Borrow snorkeling gear and kayaks from the front desk to explore the lagoon. Your stay also includes daily breakfast and nightly turndowns with flowers and candles.
Days 6–10: Sydney
Fly to Sydney (flight time is approximately 7 hours and 15 minutes), then transfer to the 5-star Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney, where you will spend four nights.
World-class museums, waterfront cafés, and high-end boutiques line the streets in downtown Sydney, located along the Tasman Sea in southeastern Australia. The city has a vibrant cultural scene—public art galleries display an ever-changing landscape of contemporary and aboriginal pieces, and there are performances by the Sydney Theatre Company all year long. Sydney is also a haven for nature lovers, with warm summers, mild winters, and plenty of parks and nature trails. Visit the Royal National Park to hike forested trails leading to spectacular lookouts and hidden beaches.
It’s easy to get around the city from the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney. The 5-star hotel is within walking distance of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour, where you can see the Harbour Bridge’s iconic steel arches. During your stay, feast on pasture-fed Tasmanian sirloin, grilled racks of lamb, and other local specialties at the hotel restaurant, Bistro Fax Restaurant & Bar. Your stay also includes daily breakfast.
Day 11: Los Angeles
Fly to Los Angeles (flight time is approximately 18 hours).