The Best Places to See the Stars in the Cook Islands
When night falls and the sky is clear, the universe puts on the most mesmerising show made all the clearer thanks to the Cook Islands‘ limited light pollution. Head out on the beach or simply look up from your accommodation on a clear night and enjoy the show or, for the serious astrophotographers and amateur astronomers, head to the locations listed here in the best spots for stargazing in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands.
1. Aitutaki Lagoon
We’re starting off this list of the best places to stargaze in the Cook Islands away from Rarotonga, as the best stargazing can truly be found on the outer islands which have far less light pollution than the main island. Aitutaki is an easy outer island to get to with several flights a day. Anywhere from the atoll is magical for stargazing but returning from a sunset lagoon cruise with Kutekute Tours and Transfers after dark is a stunning way to see the stars. Learn more about the cruise in The Best Sunset Cruises in the Cook Islands and plan your trip to Aitutaki using The Complete Travel Guide to Aitutaki.
2. Motu Oneroa, Muri Lagoon
As we know that most of you are visiting Rarotonga, we’ll get this spectacular stargazing spot on Rarotonga in early. Oneroa is one of the uninhabited motu of the Muri Lagoon which you can either wade out to or paddle to by kayak. Go to the southern end of the island and face between the next motu, Koromiri and Muri Beach and you’ll be facing due south – ideal for spotting the Southern Cross and the constellation of the Centaurus.
3. Aitutaki Escape, The Best Accommodation for Stargazing on Aitutaki
The only accommodation in the Cook Islands (that we know of) with a telescope is Aitutaki Escape. Needless to say, this is an enticing prospect for hobbyist astronomers looking to get more out of their stargazing experience. Learn more about the accommodation in the 5 Best Luxury Accommodations on Aitutaki.
4. Etu Moana Boutique Beach Villas
While this eco-friendly resort on Aitutaki might not boast luxuries like a telescope, Etu Moana Boutique Beach Villas does boast some of the most minimalistic (yet functional) lighting at night in order to vastly reduce light pollution at the resort. With that, it’s one of the best places for stargazing on Aitutaki without having to leave the comforts of your villa’s deck (or even your outdoor shower).
5. Ikurangi Retreat, The Best Accommodation for Stargazing on Rarotonga
Nestled inland in one of the least-populated districts of Rarotonga, Ikurangi Retreat provides some of the best stargazing on Rarotonga. The glamping accommodation has a deck and even an outdoor bathroom to admire the stars while you’re doing your business. Learn more about the glamping accommodation in the 10 Best Eco Resorts in the Cook Islands.
6. Avana Point, Rarotonga
A sheltered harbour at the northern end of the Muri Lagoon, Avana Point is one of the best places for astrophotography on Rarotonga due to the minimal lighting. It’s also one of the 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunrise in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
[BONUS] Any Other One of the Outer Islands in the Cook Islands
We can’t stress enough how much better the stargazing is on the less-visited islands of the Cook Islands. Find yourself a secluded beach on the islands of Mangaia, Atiu, Mitiaro or Mauke – the most accessible of the Southern Group islands – and have the stargazing experience of a lifetime. If you want to get truly remote, head to the Northern Group islands of Pukapuka, Penrhyn or Manihiki and the stargazing is something else. Find out more about all of the islands mentioned and more in our guide to The 13 Less-Travelled Islands of the Cook Islands.
More About Stargazing in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Now that you know where are the best places for stargazing in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, check out these other after-dark experiences:
- 10 Things to Do in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands at Night
- 10 Best Places to Watch the Sunset in the Cook Islands
- The Ultimate Guide to the Cook Islands Nightlife
Finally, add more items to your bucket list using the 101 Best Things to Do in the Cook Islands: The Ultimate List and plan all the logistics using The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide.