Rarotonga is navigated by an outer ring road that runs the 32km diameter of the island and houses the majority of tourist sites and businesses.
This makes the island incredibly easy to get around as you can’t get lost. The flat road is great for walking and cycling but you’ll want to look into other transport options for when you don’t feel like doing the 32km journey by foot!
MOTU guests are given complimentary use of our four e-bikes as an eco-friendly way of getting around Rarotonga. We think they’re the best way to discover the island as you get the open-air experience of a bicycle with the help of an electric motor for when your legs need a break!
Scooters are the go-to transport for locals and visitors alike on Rarotonga because they’re fast, easy to drive, and don’t cost must to run. As soon as you step onto the road you’ll see people cruising past you on scooters! Helmuts have recently been made compulsory and we definitely recommend you wear one for your safety and to avoid a fine.
There’s no shortage of scooter hire places on Rarotonga, our favourite is Polynesian Bike Hire, which is located next door to us. You can call them free of charge from your room on 24 227.
A great choice for getting to and from cocktail hour! There are plenty of taxis available on the island. Prices vary from NZ$10 to NZ$20 one-way depending on the distance. We recommend AJ Taxis who you can call on 52 800.
If you’re after comfort and air conditioning, hiring a car might be the best option. Our favourite car hire company is Go Cook Islands who will pick you up free of charge. They can be reached on 24 684 or 55 521.
The big white and yellow busses are Rarotonga’s public busses (not to be confused with the party bus – you’ll know it when you see it).
They run along the main road in a loop going clockwise and anti-clockwise from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 3pm on Saturday. Look out for it outside MOTU at 21 minutes past the hour, however as with most things, the bus runs on island time so can be 10 minutes early or late!
Don’t worry about trying to find a bus stop – just wave the bus down from anywhere on the side of the road.
A note on driver’s licenses
If you’re from New Zealand, Australia, the EU, Norway, Japan, Canada or the United States you’re able to use your driver’s licence from home. For everyone else you’ll need to get a Cook Islands visitor’s license.
This is an experience in itself. The best advice we can give you is to treat the process as a cultural experience of Cook Islands bureaucracy.
The total cost for a visitor’s license is $40 consisting of three parts.
- Theory test – $10
- Practical test – $10
- Actual license – $20
Here’s how to go about getting your visitor’s license:
In order to book your theory test, you need to take your passport to the National Police Headquarters in Avarua where you’ll be allocated a time for this.
Tests are generally taken on Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 2.00pm, Friday 8.30am to 1.00pm, and Saturday 8.30am to 10.30am. However they happen on island time, meaning timing is subject to change and don’t be surprised if you end up waiting a while to secure your spot.
The practical test is a short and simple test that is done just outside the police headquarters. Both tests are straightforward and shouldn’t be a problem to pass – think of them as more of a tick box exercise than the type of driver’s license test you might be used to.