The Cook Islands are made up of fifteen small islands located in the South Pacific Ocean and have a total land area of approximately 240 square kilometres. The Cook Islands lie north-east of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and Fiji and were first settled in the 6th century AD by Polynesian people, who migrated from Tahiti. Nowadays, the population is just under 20,000, although many more Cook Islanders live in New Zealand. There are fifteen major islands in the Cook Islands, which are divided into two distinct groups of coral atolls - the Southern Cook Islands and the Northern Cook Islands. The Southern Cook Islands are made from mainly volcanic activity, they are quite hilly and have more vegetation and wildlife.
The Cook Islands are very popular as they offer a range of things to do for the whole family. The majority of the population lives in the Southern group, while the Northern Cook Islands group consists of flat coral atolls which are sparsely populated. An atoll is a sunken volcano topped with coral growth. Moulded by a Polynesian heritage mixed with a European influence, The Cook Island culture is mystical. With their own unique identity, the people of the Cook Islands are born of the sea. Cook Island culture is shrouded in traditions and legends passed down through the generations. The beauty and charm of the Cook Islands is matched by the friendliness of the people. There is an outgoing spirit of celebration embedded in Cook Island culture.