The government still seems to be getting to grips with the internet and some of their many sites are dull or lack updates, but they're improving. That said, they're still a good place to go if you're after specialist information. And some are definitely worth a browse. The main site will tell you who's who in government, has a potted history of the Islands, details of overseas representatives and some essential facts and information. But updates are very few and far between
The National Environment Service has a wealth of information about its work and the protected areas of the islands. Also worth a look are the Statistics Office (census reports, tourism figures, the consumer price index etc) and the Business Trade Investment Board (what you need to know if you're thinking of setting up in business in the Islands).
The Rimatara lorikeet is among the incredible array of plant and animal life in the Islands and it's included in what I think is one of the most amazing pieces of work on the internet.
The Cook Islands Biodiversity website is thanks to one man - Gerald McCormack of Rarotonga - who has meticulously documented over 4,000 species. And he thinks there's still at least 3,000 more to go! Fascinating to browse, even if you just look at the wonderful pictures like this one which are mostly Gerald's own work. Start searching here
There are plenty of Blogs about the Islands but Alisha Street from Rarotonga has the best in my opinion. MY RAROTONGA includes her fascinating accounts of visits to Mauke and Mitiaro as well eating out ideas and a top 25 of things to do in Raro with the kids. And she's taken some fantastic photos too.
KUKICAST is my new podcast. It's the place to meet people who have a unique insight into the Islands. Search for "Kukicast" wherever you get your podcasts, or click here to go to my Podcast page. It's a new and exciting venture and more episodes will be on the way soon so I'd love your feedback
British born, Penelope has lived in Rarotonga since 1984 and is using her hobby of videoing to capture life in the Cook Islands. And she does it brilliantly with some beautifully shot films and informative accompanying notes. This is a "must visit. Click here
If it's truly fantastic photos you're after, take a look at Marcus and Evita Gleinig's collection. Marcus lives in Rarotonga and has kindly allowed me to use some of the stunning shots on this site. As well as capturing the beauty of his home island and its people, there are also some great shots from the least visited places in the Cooks group. The picture here is his of One Foot Island in the Aitutaki lagoon
Cook Islands Maori is not the easiest of languages to get your tongue around, but New Zealanders Junior Charlie and Tom Harrison are making it their mission to help you learn in an easy and fun way. There are plenty of other resources out there but this is, in my opinion, the best. Their YouTube channel has bite size lessons covering everything from greetings, counting and asking the time to wishing someone happy Christmas. And along the way you can find out how to husk a coconut and how to flirt!
Click here for their YouTube channel lessons
Cook Islands News is the "must read" in the Islands. But if you're elsewhere in the world, the on line edition is updated 6 days a week and you can trust its reporting which is amazingly comprehensive. The paper even has its own journalism charter which commits to best practices. Their Facebook page is also worth following. The paper has some of its content behind a paywall but a lot is still free.
The Islands' other newpapers are the Cook Islands Herald and its sister publication, the Cook Islands Times. The on line edition is well out of date, but the newspaper sometimes publishes a weekly edition (also often out of date) on Facebook; search for 'Cook Islands Times'. The Herald is worth a visit, if only to read "Chooks Corner" (all the gossip that isn't fit to print!)
Radio Cook Islands is, to say the least, quirky but fascinating to tune into. It reaches all of the islands and is a much valued service. The news bulletins are in English and Cook Islands Maori and the music will give you a real taste of the Islands. Right now its broadcast over the internet seems only to be available via TuneIn Radio (and you need to be Australia, New Zealand or using a VPN service which can provide an IP address from there). But the station posts stories on its Facebook page
Cook Islands Television is no BBC or US network type operation, but it does a great job none the same. Watch its reports on Facebook. If you're visiting the islands, make a point of watching the very low budget adverts and the weather forecast! All that said, both radio and TV services do a great job in my opinion.
The only internal airline. Search timetables, book flights and also have a look at some great pictures and videos
TOURISM DEPARTMENT Packed with photos, information and ideas. Disappointing lack of detail about the remote outer islands
AITUTAKI'S OWN WEBSITE Full of great pictures and information about the second most visited (and must visit) island
COOK'S ISLAND BUS Timetables and more. Just decide if you're going to travel clockwise or anti-clockwise round Rarotonga
'LOVE THE COOK ISLANDS' FACEBOOK PAGE Stories about the Islands and its people by the author of this site