"Air New Zealand is the only..." Cook Islands Transportation Tip by littlebush

Cook Islands Transportation: 27 reviews and 21 photos


Air New Zealand is the only airline that serves the Cook Islands after the collapse of Canada 3000. All flights arrive at Rarotonga. You can fly from Australia(Sydney,Melbourne,Brisbane), Auckland in New Zealand, LA in the States or you can arrive from other Pacific island - Taihiti,Fiji or Hawaii.
On landing at Rarotonga, you will look out of the window of the plane and see a small building and say to yourself 'ok, the terminal must be on the other side', then as you get off the plane, you'll see that the other side is hills and dense rainforest and that 'small building' is the international terminal. When you look at the runway, its hard to imagine how they land a 737 on such a small space! Officially, you must have somewhere booked to stay on arrival but this is never checked up.
On Rarotonga, there are 2 buses...one going clockwise, the other anti clockwise! You can do a complete circuit of the island in 45 mins. The anti clockwise driver is abit mad...in a funny way(Every time he drops you off in Avarua, he will say 'Welcome to the big smoke, dont get lost in my big city, if you do, you'll be the first person in history to do so' - which is funny the first day but...every day!...!) The buses dont run at night and so if staying far from Avarua and you want a drink then there are a few cabs which can be booked but as is Cook Islands life, dont expect them to be ontime!
I also hired out an old MG car for NZ$35/day which was great for touring around the island although due to Rarotonga only have one major road, it can get a bit boring driving round and round!, Also, the brakes on the car didnt work hardly which was a bit scary! To hire a car on Rarotonga, you must have your driving licence from your home country in order to receive a Cook Islands driving permit. Even if you dont want to drive, this licence can be used as a good souvenir at only a few bucks! If you intend to ride a moped on Rarotonga, you must do a test infront of the police station...this consists of riding 30 yards up the road without falling off, and youve passed!
On Aitutaki, hire a moped for NZ$15/day...you'll need it, there are no buses! although a local may offer you a ride on their moped if youre walking!
On Atiu, get a bike!

Flying between the islands is the quickest way to get around and really the only way around,as boats are few and far between! and the islands are very very spread out! the inter island planes are small and get booked up in peak season. On one of my flights, it wasnt too reassuring to see one of the pilots having a kip!
<I><B>Picture : At the sheer drop at The Needle on the Cross island trek</I></B>

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Review Helpfulness: 0.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 24, 2002
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