Aitutaki | Cook Islands

Getting the call up from Billabong to shoot one of their sponsored athletes in a place high on my bucket list was a surreal moment; resulting in epic proportions of goosebumps and a goofy grin that stretched from ear to ear. Billabong is one of those aspirational brands that you grow up itching to work for in some way, shape or form.

My job = create some stunning imagery in some of the clearest waters in the world. It’s safe to say I was one happy mermaid!

Aitutaki; a tiny gem amongst an archipelago of 15 islands that make up the Cook Islands is the kind of place that makes you question reality. Sitting only 123m above sea level I was stoked to be close to the water at all times. Quite simply it is an untouched paradise full of my favourite things; turquoise lagoons made up of sparkly azure water, swaying palm trees, clear blue skies, uninhabited islands and blinding white sand that all seemed to serenade. Our days started early, before the sun made an appearance and wrapped up after the perfect shot was captured in the fading light.

The day out to Tapuaetai (One Foot Island) was a true highlight and a moment that will be etched in my memory for years to come. Cruising through the lagoon, being photobombed by giant trevally fish and exploring never-ending sand banks and drop offs was unreal. All topped off with finding a deserted island for a feast of freshly caught fish, the sweetest pineapple and passionfruit I have ever tasted and spinning yarns to our legend of a boat driver was quite literally the best day out in my books.

In the evenings we enjoyed sashimi fit for queens, soothed our sunkissed skin and sipped on fresh coconuts in our beachside bungalows at Pacific Resort. Our hearts couldn’t have been more content as we rested our weary heads; already excited to wake up and explore some more.

Working hard, or hardly working in the Cook Islands…..

Constantly in a state of awe and always salty and submerged is my forever kinda feeling.

A big thank you to the legends at Cook Island Tourism for assisting with organising our crazy requests and to Air NZ for getting us to and from paradise.

An extra special cheers to my muse Felicity Palmateer for being effortlessly amazing and to my floating assistant / tea extraordinaire Cayleh Ferguson.

Aitutaki... I will be back!