Cook Islands Weather and Climate
General & Geography
The Cook Islands form a group of islands in the southern Pacific, around 3,000 kilometers from New Zealand. They lie in a marine area of over 1.8 million square kilometers and their land area is only 242 square kilometers.
The islands have about 20,000 inhabitants, most of them Maori. The Cook Islands are an independent state in free association with New Zealand and a member of the Commonwealth. In total, the archipelago consists of 15 islands, 12 of which are permanently inhabited.
On the largest island of Rarotonga (67 square kilometers) is the capital Avarua with the only international airport and the largest cargo port in the Cook Islands. But in Avarua you can’t really speak of a city, it is more of a village with a single street.
Another well-known island in the Cook Archipelago is Aitutaki, about 250 kilometers from Rarotonga. It is probably the most beautiful in the Cook Islands. The island, which is only around 18 square kilometers in size, is actually just a lagoon in the vast expanse of the ocean. On Aitutaki there is neither traffic nor large hotels. The smaller bungalow complexes and private quarters are located directly on the palm-lined white sandy beach.
Mangaia, the second largest of the Cook Islands, is 200 kilometers southeast of Rarotonga. It was on this that the English navigator James Cook landed in 1777, who ultimately gave the entire archipelago its name. Mangaia is also an atoll, surrounded by a large coral reef, a dream island for amateur divers.
In addition to the islands already mentioned, Manuae, Mitiaro, Mauke, Takutea and Palmerston also belong to the southern Cook Islands. All are between 300 and 600 kilometers from the main island. The northern Cook Islands Manihiki, Penrhyn, Nassau, Rakahanga, Pukapuka and Suwarrow are small and inaccessible atolls, some over 1000 kilometers from Rarotonga.
Climate of the Cook Islands
Due to their location near the equator, the Cook Islands have a tropical marine climate. There are no recognizable seasons, the temperatures are almost uniformly warm all year round. The average daily values between November and April are around 28 degrees, from May to October around 25 to 26 degrees.
Rain falls on the Cook Islands all year round in irregular, mostly short and powerful showers. In November, the humidity and amount of precipitation then slowly increase, the actual rainy season in the Cook Islands usually runs from the beginning of December until the end of April The foothills extend until the end of May. Every now and then, tropical cyclones also occur on the islands.
Best time to travel to the Cook Islands
The best time to travel to the Cook Islands are the months outside of the rainy season, especially the period June to October. The marginal months of May and especially November are also usually very suitable as a travel time. The main season in the Cook Islands usually begins at the end of May and is associated with higher overnight prices.
In principle, however, the Cook Islands can also be visited in the rainy season if you can live with some restrictions. European visitors, when they are not traveling the world for months anyway, prefer stable travel weather for understandable reasons when they are already making the long way to the other end of the world.
Temperatures, precipitation, sunshine in Rarotonga (Cook Islands)
|Daytime temperature||29 ° C||29 ° C||29 ° C||28 ° C||27 ° C||27 ° C||25 ° C||25 ° C||25 ° C||26 ° C||27 ° C||28 ° C|
|Night temperature||23 ° C||23 ° C||22 ° C||22 ° C||20 ° C||19 ° C||18 ° C||18 ° C||19 ° C||20 ° C||21 ° C||22 ° C|
|Water temperature||27 ° C||28 ° C||28 ° C||27 ° C||27 ° C||25 ° C||24 ° C||24 ° C||25 ° C||25 ° C||26 ° C||26 ° C|
|Precipitation in mm||241||280||221||211||179||115||98||132||135||95||150||189|
|Hours of sunshine||6||6||6||5||5||5||5||6||6||6||6||6|
The annual average temperature in Rarotonga is 23.9 ° C. For comparison: Munich reaches an average of 8.6 ° C, in Berlin it is 9.6 ° C. The warmest month is January (26.1 ° C), coldest month of August, with mean values of 21.7 ° C. The maximum water temperature in Rarotonga is 28 ° C. Comfortable bathing is possible at these temperatures. All months have a water temperature of at least 21 ° C and are therefore suitable for a beach holiday.
The annual precipitation is 2046 mm on 141 days with precipitation. For comparison: In Munich, 967 mm, in Berlin 570 mm, precipitation is measured annually. The months of January, February, March, April, May and December are considered the rainy season as more than 175 mm of precipitation can be expected per month. Overall, about 1321 mm of precipitation can be expected in the rainy season. You cannot expect snow in any month in Rarotonga.
As our climate table shows, March is the sunniest month with an average of 6.3 hours of sunshine per day. In the annual mean, the sun shines an average of 5.7 hours per day. For comparison: In Munich and Berlin, the sun shines an average of 4.7 hours per day throughout the year.
Cook Islands landmarks
Those who travel to the Cook Islands are looking for that South Sea feeling, the white sand, the turquoise sea, the palm trees, the tropical flowers and the friendly islanders. He will swim, snorkel, dive, canoe, kite surf and enjoy the good life to the full. You will not experience major events here, and you will hardly find any impressive historical places.
Nevertheless, you can get to know the world of the locals, experience their crafts, their dances and their cuisine up close. A good starting point for this is the Avarua Punanga Nui Market in the small island capital. We can also recommend a tour to the Muri lagoon. Our photo hotspot: Black Rock Beach on Rarotonga!