The crowd has spoken and Virgin Australia has listened, re-introducing direct services between Christchurch and Rarotonga in the Cook Islands starting next year.

Back by popular demand, the direct service will give South Islanders the chance to escape the chilly NZ winter and fly somewhere much warmer – touqoise water lapping on a white sandy beach, overshadowed by palm trees, and an inevitable cocktail in hand just sweetens the deal.

Virgin Australia will offer the flights at convenient times on a Boeing 737-800 beginning on 25 June 2016 and running weekly every Saturday for 16 weeks, with the last flight on 8 October 2016.

“A Saturday afternoon departure allows South Islanders to drive to Christchurch and fly direct to a Cook Islands vacation.”

Justin Watson, Chief Commercial officer – Aeronautical, Virgin Australia


In the last few years the number of Kiwis travelling to the Cook Islands has steadily increased, and the new service will give South Islanders another convenient holidaying option.

“This definitely is fantastic news for people in the South Island looking for a winter getaway… There hasn’t been a non-stop service from Christchurch to Rarotonga for many years, but we have had travellers and travel agents constantly asking when there will be one. We are delighted that Virgin Australia has seized the opportunity. It’s a short non-stop flight to paradise.”

Graeme West, General Manager of Cook Islands Tourism Corporation

A direct service between the two destinations was much-requested and much-missed by South Islanders, and no doubt this good news will further enhance Virgin Australia’s strong market share in NZ.

What do you think of the new direct service between Christchurch and the Cook Islands? Let us know in the comments below.