These easy-on-the-eyes islands, fifteen in all, were named after Captain Cook, the famed British explorer, who sailed through them in 1773.
They're geographically divided into the North and South groups. The northern islands are mostly low-lying coral atolls, while the southern group generally consists of higher islands, volcanic in origin.
Long a British protectorate, in 1900 the administrative control of the islands was transferred to New Zealand. Today, even though self-governing, the Cook Islands are in a somewhat dependent association with New Zealand regarding defense and other external issues.
The lush green island of Rarotongo, ringed by white-sand beaches, and the stunning coral atoll of Aitutaki (with its blue lagoon), epitomize the beauty of the Cook Islands, and for that matter, all of Polynesia.
The local subsistence economy is subsidized by limited exports of agricultural products, and by foreign aid, mostly from New Zealand. Tourism is on a steady growth rate, however, the island's isolated location limits that growth.
For additional info about the Cook Islands, and their most interesting history, go here.
Facts and Figures
Official Name Cook Islands,
a free association territory of New Zealand,
claimed in 1901
Capital City Avarua (12,000)
Languages English (official), Maori
Official Currency New Zealand Dollar
Currency Converter here
Land Area 240 sq km (92.7 sq miles)
Latitude/Longitude 21º 20S, 159º 76W
Highest Point Te Manga, (the Needle) photo here! It stands at 2,139 ft. (652 m)
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Cook Islands Large Color Map here
Cook Islands Map CIA version here
Cook Islands Outline Map here
Cook Islands Maps at UT here
Oceania Maps here
Cook Islands (Complete) information on the (GDP) overall economy, imports and exports, resources, government, population, military, transportation, and more here
Cook Islands official website here
Cook Islands photos here
Aitutaki Maps and photos here
Rarotonga Maps and photos here
Climate The Cook Islands enjoys tropical conditions throughout the year with gentle trade winds tempering the heat and humidity. Daily highs near 80 degrees are common throughout the year.
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