Get Inspired / Pacific Islands / Cook Islands Things to see & do in the Outer Islands, Cook Islands Share on email Print this article Share on Facebook Get Inspired / Pacific Islands / Cook Islands Things to see & do in the Outer Islands, Cook Islands story by: Inspire Cook Islands Authentic island life flourishes on the three tranquil, remote volcanic and coral islands of Atiu, Mangaia and Ma’uke, all of which are less than an hour’s flight from Rarotonga. Atiu, with its taro gardens, forests and tiny secluded sandy coves, is steeped in legend as well as being rich in rare birds including a swiftlet that lives in caves. Don’t miss the locally-brewed bush beer and homegrown coffee. The island is famed for its handmade quilts and ukuleles. Explore a labyrinth of caves on Mangaia, the second largest of the Cook Islands. Take a four wheel drive safari or go deepsea fishing. The market sells delicate shell necklaces and handwoven pandanus bags. Ma’uke, the garden island, has caves with freshwater pools to swim in and a unique 'divided' church with separate entrances for worshippers from two villages. Our Favourite things to see & do • ZIONA CHURCH, MA’UKE – Built in 1882, it was once described by New Zealand artist Samuel Palmer as one of the 12 most fascinating churches in the world. It’s an example of early Western architecture mixed with Pacific influences, along with a lot of Maukean ingenuity. • LARGEST BANYAN TREE IN THE WORLD, MA’UKEs – Picking a path along the unsealed crushed coral roads on the way to Motuenga is a surprise encounter with the largest banyan tree in the world – over an acre in size. • SPECTACULAR CAVES, MA’UKE – It is the caves that create the mystery of this spectacular island. The Motuenga, which is said to have a hundred separate underground chambers leading to the sea, is but one of the many dotted all over with deep freshwater pools filled with cool crystal waters. • RARE BIRDLIFE, MANGAIA – The Mangaian Kingfisher never eats fish but instead preys on skinks, insects and spiders. Nesting in old coconut palms, this bird the Mangaian Kingfisher was thought to be under threat of extinction, but with a population of between 400-700 is safe for now. • ANCIENT CAVES, ATIU – For the intrepid, a walk through the fantastic dense tropical jungle leads to Anatakitaki Cave where three caverns harbour clear pools of water, stalagmites, stalactites and a high natural cathedral ceiling above. The caves, which riddle the coastline, were often used as burial grounds and ancient artefacts can be found deep in the chambers. • ORAVARU BEACH, ATIU – Captain Cook landed here in 1777. Cook set foot on Atiu and trekked inland in search of supplies. Oravaru Beach is the only place in the Cook Islands that Captain Cook set foot on. Enquire Now First name* Last name* Email* Phone How can we help? My preferred House of Travel Store* Select Outlet Auckland Albany: Auckland North Botany Junction: Auckland South Browns Bay: Auckland North Devonport: Auckland North Ellerslie: Auckland Central Hobsonville: Auckland West Howick: Auckland East Milford: Auckland North New Lynn: LynnMall Auckland West Newmarket: Auckland Central Orewa: Auckland North Parnell: Auckland Central Ponsonby: Auckland Central Remuera: Auckland Central St Heliers: Auckland East Takanini: Auckland South Takapuna: Auckland North Whangaparaoa: Auckland North Bay of Plenty Mt Maunganui Papamoa Rotorua Taupo Tauranga CBD the Crossing Canterbury Ashburton Barrington: Christchurch South Christchurch City: Christchurch Central Ferrymead: Christchurch East High Street Lanes: Christchurch Central Hornby: Christchurch West Merivale: Christchurch Central Northlands: Papanui Christchurch North Rangiora Riccarton: Christchurch Central Shirley: Christchurch North Timaru Upper Riccarton: Christchurch West Hawke's Bay / Gisborne Havelock North Jenny Nilsson: Hastings Nelson / Marlborough Blenheim Motueka Nelson Richmond Northland Kerikeri: Northland Whangarei: Northland Otago / Southland Alexandra Balclutha Dunedin Lakers Gore Lakers Invercargill Oamaru Wakatipu: Queenstown Wanaka Taranaki / Manawatu Broadway: Palmerston North New Plymouth Stephen Parsons: Palmerston North Wanganui Waikato Calder & Lawson: Hamilton East Cambridge Coromandel: Whangamata Hamilton: Hamilton Central Matamata Morrinsville Taupo Te Awamutu Wellington / Wairarapa Featherston Street: Wellington City Hunter St CBD: Wellington City Johnsonville: Wellington North Kapiti Coast: Paraparaumu Lower Hutt: Wellington North Masterton West Coast Greymouth Hokitika Westport I would like to receive email updates on the latest HOT holiday deals HOT Privacy Statement * required fields Similar Journeys Add or remove from Wishlist The coolest new things to do in Vanuatu Read more Add or remove from Wishlist Video: Introduction to Rarotonga Read more Done this? Tell your friends about it.