July 20, 2024

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Blue Monday travel inspiration: ‘Tropical paradise the Cook Islands are next on my bucket list’

4 min read

9Travel’s Blue Mondays are here to kick start your month and get you dreaming about your next holiday. We’ll share some of our own dream travel spots, the best deals, as well as a few travel tips and tricks we’ve learned.

If there is one thing we might need after a cold and potentially wet weekend (depending on where in this beautiful country you call home) it’s a travel-themed pick-me-up.

Ideally, in the shape of crystal clear blue waters and soft white sand.

Or at least, the dream of eventually sitting by the pool with a cocktail in hand, to keep us going as we kick off July, and with that the second half of the year.

READ MORE: Jetstar celebrates one year of flying from Australia to Rarotonga

Rarotonga, Cook Islands
The Cook Islands are less than six hours from Australia. (iStock)

Welcome to my first Blue Monday column for 9Travel. A place where I hope you can find that little ray of sunshine to get you through another day, week, or month of the everyday. Because who’s to say we only experience Blue Monday in January? And dreaming of your next trip is the perfect way to start a week.

With that in mind, I’d like to share with you my current top three.

READ MORE: These are the best budget airlines for long-haul flights in 2024

Top new travel spot

I can’t stop thinking about the stunning Cook Islands in the South Pacific. Nine’s Travel Guides rated the tropical destination as five-stars and I can see why. Less than six hours away by direct flight from Sydney, the Cook Islands are sometimes overlooked but have become a favourite holiday spot for Aussies.

In fact, there was a 48 per cent rise in bookings for travel to the Cook Islands over the first six months of this year, compared to the same period in 2023.

1. Piha Beach, New Zealand

Surprising beach named the ‘best in the world’ right now

Rarotonga is the capital of the Cook Islands and the biggest of 15. The perfect place to start, whether you want relaxation or adventure. The picture-perfect island of Aitutaki is also just a 40-minute flight away. It’s smaller, but the lagoon is among the most beautiful in the world.

One of the absolute must-dos is the Ariki Turtle Sea Scooter safari – a guided tour to the home of Rarotonga’s sea turtles. Swimming alongside these incredible creatures in the warm island sea is a memory that will definitely stay with you for a long time.

READ MORE: What it’s like onboard multi-million dollar residential ‘yacht’ on an endless cruise

Canoe and kayaks in Polynesia Cook Islands tropical paradise Aitutaki panorama landscape
The island of Aitutaki has one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Top deal I’ve seen

When it comes to our favourite domestic travel destinations, Queensland remains the top pick for a sunny, tropical getaway. Of course, the Gold Coast is always up there, but some other spots to choose include Hervey Bay, Mackay, Gladstone, Townsville or Port Douglas.

That makes this latest deal from Oaks Hotels, Resorts and Suites a perfect opportunity to score a bargain. You can save up to 30 per cent on stays of two nights or more with the Getaways Are Better When You Get Away with Oaks sale.

Due to popular demand, this deal has actually been extended until July 5 and is valid for travel until December 20, 2024.

Oaks Sunshine Coast Oasis Resort, for example, has been voted among Australia’s top 10 family resorts, with great family features including an onsite waterpark, mini golf, and giant Kangaroo Jumper.

Meanwhile, Oaks Port Douglas Resort is located moments from iconic Four Mile Beach, Oaks Port Douglas Resort and boasts a lagoon-style pool with a swim-up bar.

: Oaks Port Douglas Resort
Moments from iconic Four Mile Beach, Oaks Port Douglas Resort offers lush tropical landscaping, an onsite restaurant and spa and a lagoon-style pool with swim-up bar
Oaks Port Douglas Resort has a lagoon-style pool. (Supplied)

READ MORE: What to look for in a good holiday rental

Top travel tip I’ve learnt

A cruise is another great way to explore sunnier and warmer parts of the world during any time of the year.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not an expert cruiser (yet) and I’ve only been on a handful of cruises so far. But one nifty little trick I learnt recently from a Celebrity Cruises crew member was that some ships have magnetic walls! 

That means if you’re worried about running out of storage space in your cabin, you can pack some magnetic hooks and utilise wall space for things like jackets, hats and bags.

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