By T. Foster Jones
REMEMBER WHEN AIR TRAVEL was actu- This place is surreal, with water of a clarity and
ally a fun part of the trip? When the flight itself color that I had never before seen in a natural
was something you anticipated with excite- setting. Many describe it as the quintessential
ment, ratherthandread? tropical island setting they picture when
Flying on Air New Zealand from Los dreaming of getting away from it all. More and
Angeles to Rarotonga, or Auckland to Los more people who have visited Aitutaki on day
Angeles, is a return to those days when you felt trips (the island tour and lagoon cruise is a
that you were a valued cus- great way to soak it all up)
tomer and not just baggage have come back for extended
on two legs. stays in Aitutaki’s exotic
No matter where you’re bungalows and beach villas.
sitting, be it in economy or Bidding fare well to
up front enjoying the the simple life of the Cook
rather heady experience of Islands is not easy, but
Business Premier Class, when your destination is
Air New Zealand makes New Zealand, it helps take
the journey between coun- the sting out of leaving.
tries something you can A cosmopolitan city on
actually look forward to. a large inland body of
Pampering from flight water—very reminiscent of
attendants, really good my hometown of Seattle—
food and stretch-out com- Stunning vistas and exotic locales Auckland, with all the shop-
fort even in economy make are part of the Cook Islands (top) and ping, dining and activities
the flight, the distance of New Zealand experience. you’d expect in a large city,
which has been described serves as a great base from
as “two meals and a nap,” seem shorter than which to launch and explore the area.
many domestic flights. Nearby Waiheke Island, home to an eclectic
It’s a great introduction to what you’ll mix of artists, olive growers and winemakers
experience when you land in Rarotonga, the (there are more than 40 wineries on the island,
capital of the Cook Islands. Despite some includingtherenowned Te Whauand Mudbrick
90,000 visitors a year, the Cooks are largely vineyards), is a short ferry trip away, and wor-
unspoiled by tourism. They offer a rare oppor- thy of a full day’s exploration inland and along
tunity for people to experience a different type its coast.
of vacation, where the friendliness of the New Zealand’s north and south islands
native people is legendary. are not to be missed. They offer city comforts,
From the minute you step off the plane, fascinating Maori culture and grand scenery
you are welcomed as if you were a long-lost and wildlife, including sea lions, whales and
family member. You won’t find any high-rise yellow-eyed penguins.
hotels here, but locally run, intimate lodgings Then it’s back on the plane for another
in well-appointed beachside villas and bunga- pampered “two meals and a nap,” scarcely
lows. Dining ranges from seaside elegance at enough time to plan my next trip to this idyllic
Tamarind House to the funky and hugely section of the South Seas. C
popular Trader Jack’s. And the terrain is varied
as well, allowing you to enjoy water sports or
take a four-wheel-drive tour of the lush
inland mountains and valleys.
TOURISM NEW ZEALAND
The low-key, laid-back rhythm of the island
will help prepare you for Aitutaki—a triangular
atoll consisting of three volcanic and 12 coral
islets, just a short plane hop from Rarotonga.
Air, sea, land:
The South Seas experience
COOK ISLANDS TOURISM CORPORATION
with airfa$re1, h,9ote5l an6d daily breakfast from per person*
Valid for travel 1/8 – 3/31/08.
with airfare, hotel,
daily$br2ea,k3fa9st 9and four tours from per person*
Valid for travel 4/1– 6/30/08.
Visit costco.com or call
Costco Travel toll free at
Other dates and lengths of stay are available.
The Costco Connection
Costco Travel offers a variety of South Pacific,
Australia and New Zealand vacations. For
more information, visit costco.com and click
on “Travel,” or call 1-877-849-2730.
*Due to currency fluctuation, price is subject to change. Price is per person based on
double occupancy and includes airfare and hotel taxes. Price is valid for travel as
specified. Price and inclusions are subject to change without notice. Travel purchases
are not included in the Executive Membership 2% Reward program. Seasonal surcharges,
availability, blackout dates and restrictions may apply. All prices are in U.S. dollars.
Costco Travel disclaims liability for any inaccuracies or typographical errors Travel
purchases are not included in the Executive Membership 2% Reward program. Costco
Travel disclaims liability for any inaccuracies or typographical errors. Costco Travel
is a registered seller of travel and travel agency in the following states: Washington
(WST 602042600); Ohio (8789302); Florida (Fla. Seller of Travel Reg. No.ST32555);
and California (CST 2054248-50). Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute
approval by the state of California. Nevada (Nevada Seller of Travel, Registration
No.2007-0060). 07TR1301_A 8/07