Tourism Media’s Media Production Manager, Sandra Wilkinson and her photographer husband, Ian, recently combined a family holiday with a photoshoot in the Cook Islands.

According to Sandra, it made for a terrific adventure and their two kids loved it.

“We take the opportunity to show the kids the world when we can, so when Ian was asked to do a photoshoot of the Cook Islands, we thought we’d all go along,” she says.

“As soon as we stepped out of the airport, we knew this was going to be a different kind of holiday. We were picked up in a ute and the kids had to jump on the back and hold on. There were no seatbelts in the car but the speed limit was only around 30-40 km an hour so we felt it was okay.”

“The kids loved the freedom of just hanging out without too many rules. They spent lots of time picking fruit off the guava, starfruit and plum trees that grow wild and husking their own coconuts to extract the coconut water and fresh coconut.

Sandra says that they’ll always remember the wonderful drums that were an important part of the cultural shows, as well as snorkelling in the crystal clear lagoons.

Even well-travelled families sometimes make mistakes though, and on the way home they came within a hair’s breadth of missing their connecting flights.

As luck (or otherwise) would have it, 2 flights were leaving Auckland for Brisbane at exactly the same time and the Wilkinsons were inadvertently waiting at the wrong one. By the time they realised their mistake, their plane was issuing a final boarding call for the Wilkinson family and had started the ‘offload process’, but they were still at the other end of the airport.

Luckily, as they were sprinting through the airport, one of the ground crew identified them and helped them make the flight.

Whenever a member of our team travel, they usually bring back something and Sandra came home with handpicked organic coffee, roasted in coconut cream from the island of Atiu. Definitely a hit in the office!