ZK1 - South Cook Islands


Rarotonga IOTA OC-013:

Ham Friendly Hotel: Kiikii Motel & Holiday Cottages  The Kii Kii Motel is on the N/E coast of Rarotonga, but the Kii Kii Cottages are on the S/W part of the island and are not a good place for radio.  Do not get the Motel and Cottage properties mixed up! 

The Motel has been used by PA3AXU in 2000, and by many other hams.  The most recent operation was by K6KM, AG9A, K9ZO, and K2KW.  This was another “Team Vertical” operation.  The following information provided by K2KW in Sept 03:

For ham radio operations, the Kiikii Motel is the best QTH on the island (IMHO).  It is NOT the most YL friendly place, since it is a bit weathered and the beach is not for swimming (too rocky).  There are many other locations on the south side of the island where you should take your YL or family.  The Kiikii Motel is on the north-north/east side of the island, with an over the water path to JA, EU, USA, and northern SA.  We rented rooms 16 & 17.  Room 16 is a deluxe over the ocean looking room (downstairs), and 17 is next door (not an ocean view).  A/C power is 220v, and was more than adequate for low power operations.  This location is well suited for verticals on the beach.  To reach the water line, you will need about 100’ of coax.  If you have multiple antennas, you will need runs of 150’(or a bit more) to get antenna separation.  A mast for a Yagi or wire antenna can easily be lashed to the rail on the upper unit.

The Kiikii Motel is within easy reach of the main town Avarua.  Avarua is few minutes away by bus, or a nice 20-30 minute walk, which we did often.   Getting around the island by bus is easy and inexpensive.  If you plan to use the bus as your main transportation (daily trips), ask about buying a book of tickets (it’s not advertised, but it saves you a lot of money), or at a minimum, get a round-trip ticket rather than one-way tickets to save money.  Lots of people rent scooters, but getting a license requires you first rent a bike, then take your drivers test.  This can take a couple of hours if you do so on the day you arrive, since everyone on the plane is doing the same thing!  If you want to rent scooters, I might suggest renting the morning after you arrive, as there probably won’t be a long wait.  Of all the sightseeing tours, here’s the ones that we most enjoyed:  Cook Island Cultural Village (do first if you can); the Raro Eco Tour (including sea kayak and a nature-oriented bicycle ride); the Safari Adventures 4 wheel drive; and a day trip to Aitutaki (expensive, but worth it).  Spending the morning (get there very early!!) at the Saturday market is also a great adventure.

For our trip, we used 3 antennas:  Force 12 Sigma-5, Force 12 40XK (left it on 40m), and a 19’ base loaded vertical for 30m.  All antennas were about 1-2m from the ocean.  There is a reef a few hundred feet out, so there were minimal waves or change in tide.  During our stay, there were a lot of solar flares, and band conditions were horrible.  Even with poor band conditions we were able to work Europe with no difficulty on 40, 30, & 20 (ahh, the power of verticals on the beach!!).  To work EU, you need to know your propagation (use a propagation prediction tool), since the EU high band openings occur at unusual times.  For example, in August, 15m opened to EU around 2 AM local Raro time.   We also worked EU on 40 and 30m at both our sunrise and sunset.  We were able to work EU on 40m 2 hours before our sunset, and up to 2 hours after our sunrise! 

While not radio related, one of the most unique gifts I’ve found (anyplace) are the wonderfully carved jewelery made from mother of pearl from “Tokerau Jim”.  You can get nice pendants as gifts for not all that much money.  His place is on the east side of the island, but he comes to the Saturday market. You can see some of his work on his website at: www.tokeraujim.com

Ham Friendly Hotel: Rarotongan Resort Hotel, Contact Metua Ngarupe Email: keren.aviu@rarotongan.co.ck  Good rooms for radio are room 625 (near beach), and the room above it if there are a few people in your party. That said, all rooms should work for radio, and they are all near the beach. One advantage of booking both the bottom and upper rooms is that you can attach a mast for a tribander to the balcony railings. FYI - Hotel is on the South side of the island de K2KW

Their web site is www.rarotongan.co.ck. Hotel Contact Info:  keren.aviu@rarotongan.co.ck 


See AA8U's web page for more information on the Rarotongan Resort Hotel: http://bsdi.netgain.com/hamradio-online.com/1996/oct/zk1aau.html

Traveling: Even though there is regularly scheduled airlines to Rarotonga, you must be prepared for extended delays, as flights sometimes get canceled when there is no traffic. While not often, sometimes people have had charter an aircraft to get off the island since they are time-limited. Chartering a plane will cost a LOT of money, and you must pay in $$. Brining an extra $1000 per person might be advisable "just in case".


Update from Rover, W7VV who visited the Rarotongan Beach Resort on Dec. 04, 2000:

Hotel Contact Info:  keren.aviu@rarotongan.co.ck  is the local contact at the Rarotongan.  Their web site is www.rarotongan.co.ck.

I operated and set the South Cook Island record for the 2000 CQWW CW contest from the Rarotongan Resort.  We stayed in Room 306 which is on the beach.  Any room in the 300, 600, or 700 series would be OK.  Coordinate through Keren Aviu.  She was very helpful as well as Bo once we got there.  Tell Bo that the ham who had him have someone climb the tree and let him talk on the radio said hello. I used an R7 vertical and FT100D.  You are about 35-45 feet from the room to the water.  I had my R7 installed about 15 feet in front of our ground floor unit, (which I would get rather than the second floor unit).  Staff was very friendly and assisted in installing a G5RV between two trees, unfortunately the trees were not tall enough for the G5RV.  The trees are about 30’ tall. We are going back in 2001 for the SSB test.  A local contact that was very helpful was Victor Riveria, ZK1CG.  Another contact is Jim, ZK1JD.  Wonderful place to vacation and play radio.  The trees are not high enough for a G5RV however they would be OK for a dipole or open feed.  Rooms have air-conditioning and per recent correspondence with the hotel they are installing kitchen units in some of the rooms.  Not sure where these are located.  We also visited the Edgewater and Pacific Resorts and the Rarotongan is by far the best for having your room RIGHT on the water. .  If your trip is a vacation and not operating a radio then I "may" go to the Pacific because of their beaches, however the Rarotongan has by far the nicest view from your patio and the beaches are nice but just not as fine a sand as at the Pacific.

The Edgewater and Pacific do not have rooms immediately on the beach. They are probably nice rooms, however they are on the inland side of the resort.  The water side of the facility contains restaurants etc.

The Edgewater may have a few rooms that are close, as I do remember one long building that is at 90 degrees to the water.  The Edgewater's attraction, again in my opinion, is their main restaurant, swimming pool, and lounge area which is a large tiled area going down to the beach.  I do know that hams have operated from here before however.

The Pacific probably has the most beautiful landscaped facility but again their rooms are inland a ways.  They are building a new suite of rooms however that will be right on the beach.  The beach at the Pacific is by far the best beach on the whole island. 

Email accounts can be established very easily by going to the Telecom Building right in town.  They also have a web site which I believe is "oyster@oyster.net.ck".  I can confirm that if you desire.   The Telecom building is also where you go to get your ham license. Call before going there as the first time I just dropped in the guy was gone for the day.  If you desire I can also get you the name, email, etc. of the contact there.

Ham Friendly Hotel: Paradise Inn on North coast of island. 16 fully self-contained units with full kitchen & bathroom facilities. Rocky beach in front of Inn. No problem installing antennas, and hams have used this hotel before. It is NO problem to put up antenna's. We have a great shop right next door, and we are only 5 mins walk to downtown shops, Cafe's and Restaurants. Our rate is $NZ 96.00 for a share twin unit, ($NZ 48.00 each) (de K2KW July 03)

Another option for housing is to try Dennis (a friend of Heinz DL7RAG) who rents a few Bungalows on Rarotonga. Email: dennis@gatepoly.co.ck

AITUTAKI Island, Cook Islands

Rent-a-QTH (Antennas only) by ZK1DD:

Gina's Garden Lodges - Aitutaki, Cook Islands http://www.cookpages.com/GinasLodges-Aitutaki/ also at:


Kia Orana from the Cook Islands, South Pacific.

Des - ZK1DD - husband of Queen Manarangi, has been an Amateur Radio Operator for nearly twenty years , and is active on ssb and some digital modes on all H.F bands. As co-owner of Gina’s Garden Lodges, situated near Tautu Village,on the Eastern side of Aitutaki Island. The lodge is owned and operated by a Radio Amateur and his XYL. This absolutely guarantees that we are amateur radio friendly, and that we will be there to support and back up any visiting hams that come to stay with us.

Our Island is Aitutaki Island, one of the Cook Islands Southern Group, and is located at 159 degrees 48 minutes 10 seconds west and 18 degrees 51 minutes and 45 seconds South. We are 140 miles due North of Rarotonga Island, which is the capital of the Cook islands. As a rough rule of thumb , we are about 600 miles West of Tahiti Island.

We have a good airservice to our island - 3 flights a day for 6 days of the week. Never on Sunday!

We have 24 hour a day 7 day a week electricity - 240 Volts AC, good water, good hospital and well stocked grocery stores on the island.

We have several antenna's here for guest use, and this means that they only have to bring their station equipment. I can provide a backup for this if there is any unexpected equipment failure or other problems. The Lodges are set in one and a half acres of garden, so there is plenty of room.

Intending operators should bring their own station equipment with them for their use. There are on site the following antennas available for guest use:

Hidaka VS-33 Triband Yagi Beam – 20 , 15 and 10 Metres
Duo Band Mini 2 element Beam for 20 and 15 metres
4 element 10 metre Mono Band Yagi
G5RV Wire antenna

Our Grid locator is BG08tx - CQ Zone 32 ITU 62

Arrangements will have to be made for the issue of a ZK1 visitors callsign which are available from Telecom Cook islands, Rarotonga, on production of the intending visitors valid and current home licence. Cost of a licence is $NZ20. The contact man for the issue of licences at Telecom CI in Rarotonga is Mr Papeiha Aviu - e-mail sales@telecom.co.ck

Kindest Regards

Vy 73 es gud dx,

D.J. (Des) Clarke, ZK1DD

P.O.Box 10, Aitutaki Island, Cook Islands South Pacific.

Phone/Fax : (682) 31-058 E-Mail : queen@aitutaki.net.ck

Akaiami Island

Ham Friendly: Gina's Akaiami Beach Lodge - Akaiami is a lagoon island five miles across Aitutaki Lagoon from Tautu landing.

Akaiami Island is a coral island situated on the outer coral reef of Aitutaki lagoon.It is five miles East of the main island of Aitutaki, across Aitutaki's beautiful blue lagoon. It boasts both a sweeping sandy lagoon beach, and a more rugged , coral ocean beach, with a reef moat. This is a wonderful snorkelling location.

We only accept one booking at a time for this property, so your party will have it all to themselves for the time that you book.

There is a very nice well set up kitchen/dining room to prepare and eat meals,(see later in the message), but no restaurant. At Akaiami Island you would be about 6 miles away from the nearest restaurant!

Our unique property features three studio type rooms, with separate cooking and shower facilities. It is situated on the lagoon beach of beautiful Akaiami Island, right in the heart of the lagoon. You would love to spend some time in this enchanted environment, and operate ham radio. There is a separate toilet and shower block, with two flush toilets, and a fresh water shower. The new kitchen and dining room are spacious, and furnished with a gas cooker, electric frying pan, toaster,and hot water jug, plus cooking and eating utensils.

Each room is supplied with a torch and spare batteries. Guests have a lovely colonial style verandah to relax on, and enjoy the view through the palm trees to the golden sand beach, and the sparkling blue lagoon beyond. The stuff of romance and legend. - the true South Seas in all it's beauty.

There is a 5 kVA Diesel Generator on site, and the whole property is wired for 230 Volt 50 Cycle AC power. Plugs and sockets are NZ/Australian 3 pin pattern.

The Rates for Gina's Beach Lodge at Akaiami are as follows:
Double/Twin : $NZ 300 per night ( this is for two people)
Single: $NZ180 per night
Extra Adult: $NZ75 per night

Children : 12 years to 15 Years inclusive: $NZ60 per night
Children: 8 Years to 11 years inclusive : $NZ20 per night
Children: Under 8 years of age : Free

The rates for Gina’s Beach Lodge at Akaiami include boat transfers across the lagoon.

Contact ZK1DD at Gina's Garden Lodges (above) for more information.

Mangaia Island, South Cook Islands

Ham Friendly – used by IT9YRE and KB5GL (date unknown)

Ara Moana Bungalows On Mangaia Island, in the southern part of Cook Islands  http://www.ck/aramoana/aramoeng.htm


Ben, SM7EQL has a website of his Mangaia DXpedition at: http://www.sm7eql.se/travel/zk1/zk1.html (added 7/2004)

Map of Mangaia http://www.jetsave.co.ck/mgsmap.htm showing location of Ara Moana Bungalows

DXpeditions to ZK1:



General Information:

Interesting travel log by some American... http://fdt.net/~mosquito/index.html

Marcus Kopu of Island Hopper Vacations can help with travel to the north islands. His Email is: vacation@mail.islandhopper.co.ck

More information about the Cook Islands can be found at: 



Map of Rarotonga showing locations of hotels etc http://www.jetsave.co.ck/raromap.htm  Jetsave.co.ck also has a lot of information on the Cook Islands

Another travel agent to try: Stars Travel, Box 75, Rarotonga, 00682/23669 holidays@starstravel.co.ck

Air Rarotonga Flight Operations flitops@airraro.co.ck
Air Rarotonga Reservations bookings@airraro.co.ck

USA Travel Information can be found from Tourism Cook Islands toll free: 888-994-2665. Ask for Karla Eggelton

Another travel site for the Cook Islands http://www.kiaorana.com

Do you have more information on places to operate in this country?

Use the handy feedback form to send me information.