Shallow sniffs confirm what the nose hints – the smell of tropical flowers. Frangipani fragrance is one of the first impressions of Aitutaki, breathing in sweet scented air, often through the open windows of your transfer bus.
Aitutaki is pronounced (a-too-ta-key) and is the second most visited destination in the Cook Islands.
It used to be the first point of entry to the Cook Islands. Pioneering air travellers began visiting Aitutaki in the 1950’s. Tasman Empire Airways Ltd (TEAL), which became Air New Zealand in later years, began landing on the large lagoon of Aitutaki in Solent flying boats, as part of the fabled Coral Route between New Zealand and Tahiti.
Today, visitors take a 45 minute flight north of the capital Rarotonga, on a modern SAAB 340 30 seater pressurised aircraft, finding much of the same old world pace and island charm as in 1957.
Many visitors with limited time in the Cook Islands opt for the popular day-trip to Aitutaki, including a lagoon tour complete with snorkelling and a fresh fish lunch.
Many of those who do this, wish they had more time and could stay longer on this Coral Atoll with one of the pristine and most uncommercialised Lagoons found anywhere in the world.
Just 220 kilometres north of Rarotonga, Aitutaki is the only atoll in the six inhabited southern group islands.
There are a number of small and beautiful resorts on Aitutaki, each set amongst the most splendid environment. Aitutaki also has a good range of bungalows and other accommodations available.