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Getting Around


Scootering Rarotonga

Getting around Rarotonga is pretty easy for adult visitors.

There is a very simple bus system with two routes. Actually, it's the same route but the buses travel in opposite directions.

There's the Clockwise bus, which goes clockwise around Rarotonga, and the Anti-Clockwise bus that goes ... you guessed it, the other way.

Trips can get a little pricey on the bus if you take several short trips in a day so you are better off getting 10-trip cards at around $25.

On our first day in Rarotonga we missed our bus from the Edgewater Resort into the capital Avarua and so set off walking instead. It was a long trudge and we later discovered you can flag the buses down and the drivers are pretty good with dopey travellers.

Click here for a bus timetable.

Church, RarotongaWalking is a very popular form of transport on Rarotonga and is the perfect way to get a feel for a country you have just arrived in.

Mind you, we did walk too much that day so be sure to grab yourself a bus timetable early into your trip.

Another exceptionally popular way of getting around is by motor scooter. We noticed hundreds of them while trudging along the road to Avarua.

You can hire scooters relatively cheaply, around $20 a day, and you get a choice of 115cc or 125cc machines. We got automatic ones that made life so much easier.

If you are just hiring them for a day then you only need to get a temporary licence - which is great if you arrive on the weekend when most things are closed after Saturday 1pm.

But if you intend to zip around a bit then you must get a visitors' licence at the Avarua police station for $20.

Our advice is to get in early otherwise the queues can get quite long.

Now here is where we state a vital bit of information.



If you don't then you can't get a licence there, I've seen one young NZ traveller very miffed by that.

You will have to do a pretty basic skills check before getting a Cook Islands licence but if you are like me - and haven't been on a powered two-wheeler in some decades - then do a few practice laps and avoid the local hedges. (It's a long story.)

The helmet laws changed in 2016 and now every tourist needs to wear a helmet if they are on a visitor's licence. The fine if you don't is $100. Even for pillion passengers.

If you have a full Cook Isdlands licence you need to wear a helmet if you are travelling at more than 40km/h.

In cars the limit is 50km/h on the open road.

I'd have to say that in the past one of the most enjoyable days on Rarotonga was zipping around it on a scooter. There was a freedom that was well worth the effort. But nowadays the helmet issues mean I'd be more tempted to hire a car, particularly when in a group.

There are taxis on Rarotonga, but they are not cheap. A trip from the airport to the Edgewater Resort after visiting Aitutaki costs two of us $30 for about a 5km trip.

Another word of advice - don't park your car or scooter under a coconut palm.

The ripe fruit - the brown ones - can drop without notice and give the vehicle a fair old dent.

Also, be wary standing under the trees for the same reason, although locals assure us no one has been killed by a falling coconut.

- Richard Moore



Copyright 2011 RICHARD MOORE