Volunteer in The Cook Islands | Expedition

Aitutaki is one of the Cook Islands, which are in the South Pacific. It consists of a main island, a turquoise lagoon and a surrounding barrier reef. The lagoon’s waters teem with marine life, including rays, bonefish and turtles. As part of our expedition you will get the opportunity to immerse yourself deep within the culture and tradition of this unique island sanctuary whilst stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. The pristine waters of the lagoon will simply take your breath away.

Below is an overview of our travel Cook Islands expedition. (Please note, the itinerary is subject to adaptation depending on availability of tours, the time of the year and also your project start date- additional charges may incur for some activities.)

 Travel Teacher | Welcome to Aitutaki

Day 1

Kia Orana! and welcome to Aitutaki. Upon arrival at your destination you will be welcomed at the airport by the Travel Teacher Team, we will organise your transfer to your final destination. Once you have settled in your accommodation you will meet with your Impact coordinators and receive a full induction including information on the surrounding areas, Health & Safety and a look forward to the journey ahead. You will then have some time to recuperate after a long journey.

 Travel Teacher | Ootu Beach

Day 2

Today is your first day at your work placement, so we will make the short trip to Araura College where you will be welcomed by students and staff.  You will be introduced to your cohort of students that you will be working with during your placement, and this will be a good opportunity to deliver some ice breaking activities. Work placement will run during the mornings (5 days per week)

In the Afternoon you will get the opportunity to head to Oo'tu Beach. The best has crystal clear waters and is great for swimming, you may also get the chance to do some paddle boarding should you choose.

Day 3

Day 3 will provide you with a very unique opportunity. You will be transported to Aitutaki Marine Research centre (AMRC) to discover how the giant clams are farmed.  These clams are eventually farmed to overseas aquariums. This is a truly unique experience.  The cruise boats at the marina visit snorkelling sites where these clams can be viewed.

Being in a place where the word ‘paradise’ doesn’t even begin to explain it was a privilege. Travel Teacher has shown me a whole new world and it’s something I will never forget.
— Yasmin Coxon - Travel Teacher Alumni

 Travel Teacher | Maunga Pu hike

Day 4

In the afternoon you will get the opportunity to hire a bike and explore the island of Aitutaki. The roads on the island are very quiet which makes this experience very safe. Alternatively if you choose you will be able to hike to Maunga Pu - the highest point of the island at 124 metres, this rewards you with a breathtaking view of the island, the turquoise lagoon.

 Travel Teacher | Aitutaki Lagoon

Day 5

Today you will get the opportunity to explore the exquisite Aitutaki Lagoon.  This is a truly wonderful experience which allows you to immerse yourself deep within the island's natural beauty, The lagoon is great for swimming, snorkelling or simply just relaxing - you will be overwhelmed! There will be a possibility of joining an afternoon cruise excursion which will allow you to see more of the lagoons great diversity.

 Travel Teacher | Walking trails Aitutaki

Day 6

This afternoon will be an opportunity for you to take some leisure time, and do as you wish. You may choose to relax in the garden surroundings of your accommodation or take a good book down to the beach. If you choose to be more active we can recommend some good walking trails which will allow you to take in more of the island.

The island itself is very small but paradise therefore you will be able to learn every aspect from cultural foods to dances.
— Holly Farmer - Travel Teacher Alumni

 Travel Teacher | One foot island

Day 7

Its the weekend which means that it's your day off. Today you will get the opportunity to embark on an island cruise excursion which will allow you to take in places such as 'One Foot Island'. On this island you are able to get your passport stamped at the smallest post office in the world, a very unique experience. The lagoon excursions also make regular stop off for swimming and snorkelling. This is a wonderful experience. In the evening you will get to sample a traditional 'Island Night' at one of the islands luxury resorts.

 Travel Teacher | Aitutaki

Day 8

Aitutaki is again your oyster. Today you will have the opportunity to sample the island at your own pace so relax and enjoy your day of leisure. Sunday is considered to be the day of rest in Aitutaki however there is still lots of activities available should you choose. A visit to the local church is a must! Aitutaki is home to the oldest church in the Cook Islands, with foundations laid in 1821.  You may also wish to embark on another lagoon tour (we can organise this for you). 

 Travel Teacher | Cultural Tour

Day 9

Today you will get the opportunity to sample the culture and tradition of the island, led by a local expert and archaeologist - Ngaakitai Pureariki (Ngaa). Ngaa is a passionate advocate of teaching history to visitors of the Cook Islands. You will get the opportunity to visit some historical sites on the island and learn about the structure and way of life in Aitutaki, prior to the coming of the Europeans. 

I would recommend this experience to anyone who has the courage to step out of their comfort zone.
— Kate Stretch - Travel Teacher Alumni

 Travel Teacher | Whale watching

Day 10

Today we will be on the hunt for humpback whales so don't forget your cameras. Departing from the local fisherman's wharf, accompanied by our team we will search the wide waters for signs of humpback behavior, should we be able to spot them you will have the opportunity to swim with these incredible mammals.

 Travel Teacher | Honeymoon Island

Day 11

Today we take a trip to Honeymoon island - small uninhabited island (motu) of Aitutaki atoll. In fact it is a sandbank with palm trees. Also some large birds like to nest here.  You will have the opportunity to try your hand at some kite boarding or simply relax in a hammock and watch the world go by.

 Travel Teacher | Aitutaki Lagoon

Day 12

How does some snorkelling and Kayaking in the lagoon sound? Venture into the lagoon, see the amazing coloured fish and coral or you can make anchor on the beach and relax with a good book.

Outside of the classroom, Travel Teacher takes you to some of the most beautiful and sought after locations in the world. The ocean was beautiful, the people the friendliest I’ve ever known, and the food was fresh and gorgeous.
— Alex Hutt - Travel Teacher Alumni

 Travel Teacher | Aitutaki island night

Day 13

Its your final day on the island, you will spend your afternoon at leisure before attending a traditional island night. You will be introduced to an authentic display of Cook Islands Maori and will have the opportunity sample some traditional foods as you engage with local people.

 Travel Teacher | Aitutaki

Day 14

Your journey in Aitutaki has come to an end, today you will depart the island and begin your journey back to the UK.