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Cook Islands Travel Guide

Geography

These 15 islands and atolls, with a land area of only 240 square km, are scattered over 1.83 million square km of the South Pacific, leaving a lot of empty ocean in between. It's 1,433 km from Penrhyn to Mangaia.

The nine islands in the southern group are a continuation of the Austral Islands of French Polynesia, formed as volcanic material escaped from a southeast/northwest fracture in the earth's crust.

Five of the northern islands stand on the 3,000-meter-deep Manihiki Plateau, while Penrhyn rises directly out of seas 5,000 meters deep.

Distance Between Islands in Kilometers

Rarotonga

259

Aitutaki

278

296

Mauke

263

241

59

Mitiaro

215

209

93

235

Atiu

204

385

213

232

215

Mangaia

500

367

657

611

574

704

Palmerston

1,324

1,089

1,361

1,304

1,296

1,470

843

Pukapuka

1,246

1,000

1,278

1,217

1,209

1,382

756

89

Nassau

1,204

946

1,145

1,102

1,093

1,304

880

530

500

Manihiki

1,248

991

1,189

1,146

1,137

1,348

922

535

506

44

Rakahanga

1,365

1,111

1,241

1,204

1,222

1,433

1,130

889

859

363

354

Penrhyn

950

713

978

926

917

1,111

533

398

310

385

417

733

Suwarrow

Continue to   Geography: Island Types   »