When is the best time of year to visit the Cook Islands?

There isn’t really a ‘bad time’ to visit the Cook Islands as the temperatures are balmy all year round. However, if great weather is what you're looking for, you should plan your trip between June and August as this is the peak of the dry season when humidity and rainfall are at their lowest. That said, it's also the peak tourist season so be prepared for higher prices and the most beautiful spots to be a bit crowded. Travelling outside of the peak season definitely isn't off the cards, but there are a few factors to consider. We've broken some of them down to help you decide when to visit the Cook Islands.

What’s the weather like in the Cook Islands?

Located in the heart of the South Pacific, the Cook Islands boast a tropical oceanic climate with pleasant weather and warm, stable temperatures throughout the year. Although there are two seasons – a wet season from December to March and a dry season from April to November – there’s a fair amount of rainfall throughout the year with a yearly average of 2,000 mm (79 inches). However, the air temperature doesn’t fluctuate much with average year-round highs hovering between 25°C to 30°C, and lows between 20°C to 25°C.

The dry season sees average highs of 25°C to 28°C. July and August are the coolest and driest months with lows of 20°C at night, but this is still relatively mild if you're coming from somewhere with a more temperate climate. The wet season experiences more humidity, rainfall and slightly hotter daytime highs of 29°C. Even still, it tends to rain heavily for short periods either in the morning or in the afternoon, so there isn't too much disruption to your day. The South Pacific also sees tropical cyclones in the wet season, and while the Cook Islands aren’t usually severely affected, there’s always a chance. The water temperature is steady throughout the year, lingering between a balmy 24°C to 28°C.

Average temperatures in the Cook Islands

MONTH

AVERAGE HIGH (°C) 

AVERAGE LOW (°C) 

January

29

24

February

29

25

March

29

25

April

28

24

May 27 22
June 26 21
July 25 21
August 25 20
September 25 21
October 26 22
November 27 23
December 28 24

For the best weather - July and August

The best weather is in July and August, so it makes sense that this is when the tourism season really heats up. July is a particularly busy month when large numbers of travellers from Australia and New Zealand flock to the Cook Islands during the winter school holiday period for some tropical warmth. So, while you'll get great weather, you can also expect higher prices for accommodation, sold-out tourist activities, and busy beaches, bars and eateries.

For cheaper rates and quieter beaches – December to March

The off-season coincides with the wet season when the weather is hotter, stickier and wetter. A little rain doesn’t need to dampen your holiday spirits, though. The skies clear quickly after a downpour and it's unlikely to chuck it down all day. Some travellers even enjoy the rain as it can be a nice reprieve from the heat. The biggest pro of visiting in the wet season is that you can usually find cheaper rates for hotels and tourist activities, as well as empty beaches, making it a perfect time to enjoy the serenity of the Cook Islands.

The shoulder season – April, May, September and October

The shoulder months of April, May, September and October are the sweet spot when you can expect relatively dry weather, lots of sunshine and less humidity – but with fewer tourists. It's a great time to experience the beauty and buzz of the Cook Islands when it's not super busy.

If you want to see whales – June to October

Whales migrate from Antarctica to the warm waters of the South Pacific between mid-June and October. You’ll often see pods of humpbacks breaching or spraying water through their blowhole just off the shores, particularly along the western beaches of Rarotonga. You have an even greater chance of spotting one if you do a boat tour and sail into the open water.

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