If you are planning a trip to Rarotonga, it’s a good idea to get a feel for the size of the island so you can work out how you are going to get around. The island of Rarotonga has a circumference of 32km (20 miles) and the main road will take you right around the outer circumference of the island making it easy to navigate your way. There are a series of interior roads that will lead you to some accommodations as well as access to some of the island walks, however the majority of the hotels and accommodation options can be found on or just off the main road (Ara Tapu).
The Rarotonga Bus
With not a traffic jam in sight, one of the most relaxing ways of getting around the island of Rarotonga is to catch the Island Bus. There are two buses running throughout the day – one that runs clockwise and the other running anticlockwise. The bus takes around 50 minutes to get around the whole island and runs continuously so you can expect to catch a bus every 50 minutes. The clockwise bus stops outside Pacific Resort Rarotonga at quarter past the hour and past Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa at 19 minutes past the hour. The anticlockwise bus, which is the quickest way of getting into the main town of Avarua stops by Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa at three minutes past the hour and by Pacific Resort Rarotonga at five past the hour and will get you to the Cook’s Corner stop by 20 past.
Catching the bus is a big part of island life and you will see tourists and locals alike on the bus. It’s a great opportunity to watch the world go by and as the bus takes the coastal road, you are guaranteed some stunning views on your way. Catching the bus is a great way to get yourself familiar with the island so we recommend hopping on in your first couple of days and doing the full loop of the island.
Scooters are a huge part of island life and a common way for locals and tourists a like to get around the island. They are nimble and super-economical on fuel meaning you can go around and around the island for not much more than $5.
There are a number of scooter rental offices located within close proximity to both Pacific Resort Rarotonga and Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa. Pacific Resort Rarotonga conveniently has an Avis branch located on site where you can rent scooters by the day or longer. A scooter is a great way of exploring the island and putting you on your own timeframe. You will need the relevant class on your driver’s licence however if you don’t, you can always head down to the police station and take your test to get a temporary Cook Islands drivers licence which is always a favourite souvenir for tourists.
There are a number of car hire options on the island and these can be great if you are travelling as a family and need more room than just the two people you can fit on a scooter. With little traffic to worry about, getting around the island by car is pretty easy and the roads are of a good quality. We drive on the left in Rarotonga so those people flying in from places who drive on the right need to remember this as it can be a little daunting at first, especially with all the scooters on the roads.
Drivers on Rarotonga are extremely courteous to scooters – we’re on island time so no one is ever in a huge rush so take your time and give plenty of room to scooter riders.
For those who enjoy getting out and about and exploring by bike, there are lots of places where you can hire a bike and either get out and explore on your own or take part in a guided ride which will take you to the inner island and the chance to do some off roading. As the island is only 32km in circumference, it won’t take you too long to cycle around the whole thing but be aware, it can get extremely hot so take your swimming togs and make sure you have regular breaks and cool off in the stunning lagoon.
A bike is a great way of getting off the main road the circles the island and exploring some of the interior of the island. Maps are available from guest services and you will never be too far from the outer main road anyway so get out and explore. There are a couple of bike hire places within walking distance of Pacific Resort Rarotonga so just ask our guest services staff and they will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
However you choose to get around Rarotonga, you will never tire of the amazing views that you will see wherever you go on the main outer road. Rarotonga is one of the easiest places in the world to navigate around!