Northern Atolls Adventure

Visit Penrhyn, Manihiki and Pukapuka on one unforgettable charter adventure trip!

This is an adventure tour that provides a rare opportunity to visit the distant and remote northern group atolls of Pukapuka, Manihiki and Tongareva (also known as Penrhyn).

Flights are scheduled according to demand which is normally for one tour every two to three months. The flights are operated by Embraer Bandeirante turboprop aircraft, which have a capacity of 15 passengers, but are restricted to 9 passengers on these long flights due to the extra fuel load.

Light refreshments are served and the aircraft has a toilet.

Contact us for accommodation/meal options as they do change from time to time.

The passenger complement usually includes several government officials from the local health and education departments, telecom technicians and the like, making their rounds of the far-flung northern islands. Normally a strong rapport develops among members of the group and adds to the fun and adventure of visiting some of the South Pacific's most remote island communities, and spectacular atolls.


Day 1 - Rarotonga to Pukapuka

The flight departs from Rarotonga International Airport at 7 am and arrives at Pukapuka at 11 am and may include a short stop at Aitutaki for refueling. In clear conditions, passengers are treated to spectacular views en-route of Suwarrow (Where hermit Tom Neale lived his solitary existence), Nassau and Tema Reef.

Pukapuka's airport is located on the southern motu, about one hours boat ride across the spectacular lagoon to the main settlement at Wale. This is a fascinating island and community, not the least because of the romantic writings of Robert Dean Frisbie. A strong community organisation and visionary environmental management practices have sustained these people for centuries. Guest house accommodation by arrangement at a government guest residence.


Day 2 and 3 - Pukapuka to Manihiki

Departing Pukapuka at 10.30 am, a one and a half hour flight takes you to Manihiki Atoll, the home of the Cook Islands black pearl industry. Here, the lagoon is dotted with small structures perched on coral heads serving as platforms for the seeding of oysters, that will, after nearly two years, yield a lustrous south seas black pearl.

You will spend two nights here at a guest house or on a black pearl farm where you will be fascinated by atoll lifestyle, and the dedication and effort required to produce the queen of gems.


Day 4 - Manihiki to Penrhyn (Tongareva)

It's a flight of a little over one hour to reach the World War 2 airstrip at Tongareva, the northern-most of the Cook Islands. American serviceman were based on the atoll in the 1940s and built a large runway in the event hostilities in the Pacific should reach this far east. At times during the War, a number of large US naval vessels moored in the large deep lagoon.

The remains of a crashed B17 bomber remain as evidence of this bygone era. A tragic encounter with 'blackbirders'
(South American slave traders) in the early 1800s, the pearl shell trade, and World War 2 have all played a part in shaping Tongareva as it is today. This remote outpost remains home to approximately 600 islanders who spend their days fishing and more recently, cultured black pearl farming.

Day 5 - Penrhyn to Rarotonga

The tour departs at midday for the last leg of the journey, a four hour flight south to Rarotonga - and cool drinks, soft beds and a large steak!


Pricing, Schedules and Accommodation

For pricing and more information on the Northern Atolls Adventure consult our Charter Rates Open Link in new Window or Call our Travel Centre on +682 22888 or email our charter specialists at charters@airraro.co.ck for details of the next scheduled departure and accommodation options.

Due to the increased cost of fuel this tour is now only available as a charter. All additional paying passengers, if you wish to have non-excluse use of our aircraft and crew, will be offset against the charter cost with a two week no-cancellation policy, which can considerably reduce your cost of the charter.



This tour involves long range over water flying in small turbo-prop aircraft and is not to be confused with regular airline travel. Because of the logistics of fuel and other operational arrangements in this isolated area, delays to departures can occur.

Air Rarotonga will not be responsible for disrupted passenger expenses in the event of a delayed departure from Rarotonga. Normal disrupted passenger expenses will be covered by the airline in the event of delays during the course of the tour, that arise after departure from Rarotonga.

Pukapuka as seen from the air
Pukapuka from the Air

Beach and Village, Pukapuka
Beach and Village, Pukapuka

Pukapuka Lagoon
Pukapuka Lagoon

Pukapuka Lagoon
Pukapuka Lagoon

Manihiki from the Air
Manihiki from the Air

Tongareva from the Air
Tongareva (Penrhyn) from the Air

Tongareva Lagoon
Tongareva (Penrhyn) Lagoon

Suwarrow from the Air
Suwarrow from the Air

SNassau from the Air
Nassau from the Air

Tema Reef from the Air
Tema Reef from the Air

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