The Complete Travel Guide to Aitutaki for Families© Zhang Da Qiang - Cook Islands Tourism
The Complete Travel Guide to Aitutaki for Families

The Complete Travel Guide to Aitutaki for Families

© Zhang Da Qiang – Cook Islands Tourism

How to Plan a Family Trip to Aitutaki

Looking for somewhere different to holiday in the South Pacific. Get off the beaten track and discover that other island in the Cook Islands, the breathtaking lagoon of Aitutaki.

Far from the liveliness of Rarotonga, Aitutaki turns down the hustle and bustle of modern-day life and ups the tranquillity. Families who are lucky enough to make the extra 50-minute flight to get here are treated to a getaway where there’s no excuse not to spend some quality time together. There are no kids’ clubs, no babysitting services… It’s time to reconnect as a family and enjoy one of the South Pacific’s most majestic lagoons.

Discover what a family escape to Aitutaki is all about and plan your island getaway with this complete travel guide to Aitutaki for families.

10 Family Tours and Activities on Aitutaki

What does a family getaway to Aitutaki look like? Here’s a quick overview of just 10 things to do on Aitutaki with kids:

  • Jump on a lagoon cruise with Bishop’s Cruises, The Vaka Cruise or Teking Lagoon Cruises and get your passports stamped at One Foot Island
  • Snorkel with tropical fish
  • Be entertained at the island night of Tamanu Beach Resort
  • Enjoy a family outing by kayak
  • Build sandcastles on the beach
  • Go for a swim at Ootu Beach
  • Treat the tastebuds at Aitutaki’s family-friendly cafes
  • Head out sailing on the lagoon with Sailing Aitutaki
  • Play at Arutanga Park
  • Get some pool time in.

We go into detail on all of those points in the 10 Things to Do on Aitutaki with Kids. Otherwise, keep on reading for more inspiration…

The Complete Travel Guide to Aitutaki for Families©

How to Get to Aitutaki

Aitutaki lies in the Southern Group of the Cook Islands, some 220km (137 miles) from Rarotonga and the Cook Islands’ international airport. The only real way to get to Aitutaki is via domestic flight from Rarotonga.

Regular flights are available between Rarotonga and Aitutaki multiple times a day, six days a week and once on a Sunday. Flights take approximately 50 minutes. Child and infant fares are available. Codeshare flights are available from New Zealand and Tahiti. Learn more about flying to Aitutaki in our guide, Domestic Flights in the Cook Islands: Your Guide to Interisland Flights.

How to Get Around Aitutaki

The main island of Aitutaki has a road around the island that’s approximately 18km (11 miles) with plenty of inland roads to cut the journey shorter to where you’re heading. The main ways to get around include car rental, scooter rental and cycle rental. A couple of taxi services are also available. Water taxi services and lagoon cruises are the main ways to get to the other islands in the lagoon. Find out more about transport in our Aitutaki Transport Guide: 5 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki.

The Complete Travel Guide to Aitutaki for Families© David Kirkland - Cook Islands Tourism

Family Activities on Aitutaki

Aitutaki is certainly a destination for families who want to adventure and relax together, with a lagoon cruise or sailing tour being an absolute must. The rest of your time on the island can be sprinkled with incredible snorkelling, kayaking, touring the island and more.

The Best Aitutaki Lagoon Cruises for Families

You can’t travel to Aitutaki and not explore the lagoon! The lagoon cruises here provide an exciting day for families including snorkelling with tropical fish, stopping off at sandbank, indulging in a barbecue buffet, and getting your passports stamped at the world’s most unique post office at One Foot Island. Although you might be the only family on the boat (Aitutaki is a popular honeymoon destination), the cruises here are still very welcoming to families. The Vaka Cruise and Bishop’s Cruises have the largest boats, offering easy access on and off the boat for younger seafarers.

Some of the snorkelling spots that are included in the cruise are 3-4m (10-13ft) deep, better suited to confident swimmers, but the sandbank and beaches offer excellent swimming for littlies. Teking Lagoon Cruises, for example, are more than happy to look after younger children and infants on board while parents swim.

Cruises depart from Ootu Beach, but transfers are typically included. Check out the 10 Best Lagoon Cruises in Aitutaki for a full comparison.

Aitutaki Lagoon Sailing Tour

An alternative way to explore the lagoon is on a Hobie sailing catamaran with Sailing Aitutaki. Families of up to four can enjoy a full morning on the lagoon all to themselves with the guidance of Captain Ted, who can teach the kids (and you) how to sail, as well as stop off at family-friendly snorkelling spots. Ask to do a ceremonial planting of a coconut tree, which is an interesting aspect for all ages.

More Things to Do on Aitutaki with Kids

The rest of your time on Aitutaki can be enjoyed at a more relaxing pace, whether it’s snorkelling with tropical fish (see The Best Snorkelling in Aitutaki: Top 10 Places to Snorkel) or heading out on the lagoon for a short kayaking trip. We go over the more relaxing things to do with your family in the 10 Things to Do on Aitutaki with Kids.

The Complete Travel Guide to Aitutaki for Families©

Family-Friendly Restaurants on Aitutaki

Although self-catering is a viable option on Aitutaki thanks to the array of accommodations with kitchen facilities, as well as the abundance of convenience stores, remember that this is your holiday too. Treat yourself to some of the family-friendly restaurants on Aitutaki and don’t miss one of its famed island nights!

Aitutaki Island Nights

Energetic drumming and captivating dancing with traditional attire swishing from side to side, the entertainment on island nights can’t help but leave your kids in awe. Tamanu Beach Resort‘s island night is infamous across Aitutaki, taking place every Thursday from 6.30pm starting with live music from a local string band.

The buffet with island-style food (and plenty of options even for the fussiest in the family) begins at 7pm, then kids get first pick of dessert. The island show doesn’t start until 8.30pm, however, but kids shouldn’t get too tired with the energetic Pacifika drumming and dancing from the island’s fierce warriors and graceful ladies making for plenty of excitement.

Family-Friendly Cafes on Aitutaki

Some of the most family-friendly restaurants on Aitutaki are, in fact, cafes but delightful ones at that. Koru Cafe at Ootu Beach is a popular go-to for families, where the french toast and sandwiches are a hit with kids. Although a little out of the way, families with a vehicle should definitely scout out the Avatea Cafe atop a hill near the village of Tautu. There are open spaces for kids to burn off energy, a small play area for younger ones and a gift shop with lots of interesting finds. Honourable mentions include the Mouarii Cafe and The Boat Shed – the latter is one of the few restaurants on the island with a kids’ menu. Plus, they have a playground and a trampoline. See them all and more in The Food Guide to Aitutaki.

More About Aitutaki for Families

That’s it for our complete travel guide to Aitutaki for families. For more Aitutaki wisdom, head to the following articles:

Finally, be sure to bookmark The Complete Travel Guide to the Cook Islands for Families containing everything you need to know about planning a family getaway to the Cooks.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Cook Islands Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as the Cook Islands. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Raro’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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