interesting facts about Cook Islands

14 Cool Facts about Cook Islands

Looking to boost your local knowledge of this magical country? Take a look at these fun facts about the Cook Islands!

1. It’s actually an archipelago.

The Cook Islands is an archipelago of 15 islands in the South Pacific Ocean.

2. What are some of the archipelago’s neighbors?

It is bordered by American Samoa, Wallis and Futuna, Tokelau and Tuvalu to the northwest, Kiribati to the north, French Polynesia and the Pitcairn Islands to the east, New Zealand to the southwest and Tonga, Niue, Fiji, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu to the west.

3. Here’s what you need to know if you’re using a compass.

Fancy popping across to this popular scuba-diving destination for some sand, sea, and sun? Head for the coordinates 21.2000° S, 159.7667° W for your very own adventure on the Cook Islands!

Pukapuka aerial shot

Pukapuka, an atoll in the Cook Islands

4. It’s up and down!

The terrain here varies across the islands, but generally speaking, the northern islands are low coral atolls, whilst the more southern islands are hillier and often volcanic.

5. It’s just smaller than a big British city.

The total land area of Cook Islands is 92 square miles (237 square kilometers)…that’s slightly smaller than Birmingham, England.

6. The Islands are much sparser, however!

Cook Islands’ population was 17,379 in 2018…that’s around 1/100th of the population of Birmingham!

7. What’s the capital of the Cook Islands?

The capital is Avarua; it had a population of 4,967 in 2011.

8. The archipelago has two main seasons.

Cook Islanders enjoy a tropical oceanic climate that is moderated by trade winds, with a dry season from April to November and a humid, but not necessarily rainy, season from December to March.

9. Do people speak English here?

The official languages of the Cook Islands are English and Cook Islands Maori.

Avarua town

Ara Maire Nui, main street in Avarua

10. You can spend NZ money here.

Cook Islands Dollar is the official currency here and it’s linked to the New Zealand Dollar, which is also widely accepted!

11. The life expectancy is fairly healthy.

The average life span here is 76 years.

12. Whittle away!

Cook Islanders are known for their creative and intricate wood carvings, the skills for which are passed down through the generations!

New Zealand Dollar

NZ Dollar

13. Their produce is highly varied.

This picturesque country grows coconuts, pineapples, papaya, tomatoes, coffee, bananas, yams, taro, beans and citrus; they also rear pigs and poultry and catch fish. Its industry consists of tourism, fishing, clothing, handicrafts, and fruit processing. The primary exports include copra (dried coconut kernels), papaya, fish, coffee, pearls and pearl shells, clothing and fresh and canned citrus fruit.

14. They do a big trade in black pearls.

The Cook Islands are actually the second-largest producer of black pearls!

FAQs About The Cook Islands

Does anyone own the Cook Islands?

The Cook Islands are technically overseen as part of New Zealand territory.

Can a US citizen move to and work in the Cook Islands?

Yes - however, you will need a specific permit and visa to do so.

What are the Cook Islands known for?

The Cook Islands are best known for being relatively untouched - nature rules out here!

Do you know any fun facts about the Cook Islands?  Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on August 2, 2023. Suggest an edit

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