Renowned international magazine Travel + Leisure has rated Cook Islands as the No 1 island in the South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand.
The survey closed on March 2, before the Covid-19 travel shutdowns.
According to Travel + Leisure, the results reflect their readers’ experiences before the pandemic.
And this year, the number one spot is the Cook Islands, which they describe as a “paradise of talcum beaches and a year-round tropical climate”.
Why the Cook Islands? With a score of 88.15, Travel + Leisure says one reader described it as having the “most beautiful blue ocean you will ever see”.
Cook Islands Tourism chief executive Halatoa Fua acknowledged Travel + Leisure and its incredible audience for choosing Cook Islands for its unique and authentic experiences.
“We are honoured to receive this prestigious award on behalf of the people of the Cook Islands,” he said.
“We are blessed with a pristine and tranquil destination but more so for the 'Kia Orana' spirit and welcoming nature of its people.”
Moorea in French Polynesia came in second, and Tasmania in Australia was third.
Also in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef was 4th, followed by Bora-Bora in French Polynesia, Fiji, Waiheke Island in New Zealand.
The Top 10 was rounded out by three more islands in French Polynesia: Huahine, Tahiti and Raiatea.