Getting Around the Cook Islands
There are just two ways of getting around the Cook Islands,
the first is by air and the second is boat. Depending on the kind
of vacation you wish to enjoy, getting around by air is much more
efficient, especially if you are here for a short time. However,
if you are planning on enjoying an extended vacation then touring
the different islands by boat is a viable option.
Air Rarotonga is the only domestic airline to operate in the Cook
Islands. Its office is located at the Rarotonga International Airport
from where you can make flight bookings as well as buy tickets.
Air Rarotonga flies several times a day between Rarotonga
and the atoll of Aitutaki;
while to the other Southern Islands flights are on a weekly basis.
Also flying out to the Northern Islands of Manihiki and Penrhyn,
do keep in mind that Air Rarotonga does not fly on Sundays.
An important point to remember is that air tickets purchased outside the Cook Islands are more expensive than those bought in-land. But the downside to this is that very often flights are completely sold out. A great way to economize while flying here is to avail a super-saver fare, which offers a discounted round trip between Rarotonga and Aitutaki. You can also purchase air passes and package deals from Air Rarotonga to make it easier when you are traveling between islands. Air Rarotonga flies to all the Southern Group islands; however in the Northern Group, it only flies to Manihiki, Penrhyn and Pukapuka.
If you are interested in touring the various Cook
Islands by boat, be prepared for a lengthy journey. While most
of the Northern Islands are served by ship only, the trip can often
be a very long one. There are no fixed boat schedules and the weather
needs to be taken into consideration. At the moment two shipping
companies provide inter-island cargo and passenger services to all
the islands except Palmerston, Manuae, Takutea and Suwarrow. It
usually takes a day to travel from Rarotonga to any of the Southern
Group islands; however, a journey to the Northern Islands takes
roughly 3 days.
To get around the islands of Rarotonga, Aitutaki and ‘Atiu,
you have plenty of rentals cars, four wheels drives, motorbikes
and bicycles for hire, but on Ma’uke and Mitiaro your only
options are cycle and motorbike rentals. Most of the other islands
do not require any rental transport to get around, as they are small
enough to cover on foot. Driving here is
on the left side of the road and you will need to get a Cook Islands
drivers license to get around. On Rarotonga a bus service is available
that travels around the entire island.