Language: Cook Islands Maori (15 dialects spoken over the 15 islands that make up the Cooks), English is widely spoken.
Capital: Avarua on Rarotonga.
Population: Approximately 13,097 on Rarotonga, total population around 17,791 (2011 Census information).
Currency: NZ dollar along with $1, $2 and $5 Cook Islands coins.
Official Tourism website: www.cookislands.travel. The Visitor Information Centre is in Avarua next to ANZ Bank.
Transport: Public buses, scooters, cars, bicycles, some taxis although more the phone and book variety. Cook Islands Tours (highly recommend) provide airport transfers.
Rarotonga International Airport: The airport is 2-3 kms from Avarua. Air Rarotonga provides domestic flights. Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia fly from NZ.
Religion: Over half the population belongs to the Cook Islands Christian Church. Others may be Mormons, followers of the Baha'i Faith, Seventh Day Adventists or Jehovah Witnesses.
Banks: ANZ, Westpac and Bank of the Cook Islands, there are a number of ATM's on the island.
Sunday: Sunday is dedicated to church, family and rest. Some bars and eating establishments may also be closed. No alcohol is sold in stores or supermarkets on this day.
Water: At Pae Moana, we have installed an ultra violet purification system so you can drink the water straight out of the tap. However elsewhere, boil tap water first or alternatively you may want to go for the bottled variety just in case. It's possible to get large bottles refilled (opposite Oasis Energy store in Nikao) rather than buy additional bottles.
Time: 22 hours behind NZ, leave on a Tuesday afternoon flight, arrive early am Tuesday morning. Flight time from NZ - 4 hours.
Festivals and Events: There's only a few listings on the official tourism website, check out - www.cookislands.org.uk.
Whale watching: July - October, A where, when and how to guide. Cooks Islands Whale & Wildlife Centre.
What to wear? Casual dress is the way to go although if you intend to go to church pack something smart. Cover up when you're at the market, in town or in villages in keeping with how the locals dress.
24 hour, 7 days a week fuel & food: Oasis Energy Petrol Station/Store in Nikao near the airport and Super Brown Petrol Station
Mosquitos: It's best to go prepared, if you explore the island's mountainous interior you'll definitely need repellent.