Exploring Rarotonga – how to get around the island

Posted on June 12, 2017

If you have a trip booked to Rarotonga or you are thinking of heading out here this winter (for Kiwis and Australians) then it’s a good idea to plan ahead when it comes to getting around. Whilst car hire is the most popular choice when you visit lots of places, things are a little different here on Rarotonga.

The island has a circumference of 32km (20 miles) and the main road will take you right around the island, an easy navigation. 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).

This means for many people, a rental car is not all that necessary when they come and stay with us at any of our resorts on Rarotonga. Let’s have a look at some of the alternative ways of getting around the island.

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, running continuously so you can expect to catch a bus regularly. The buses stop just outside our resorts, providing an effortless way to explore the island.

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 – you are guaranteed some stunning views on your way. You can familiarize yourself with the island this way, so we recommend hopping on in your first couple of days and doing the full loop!


Scooters are a huge part of island life, as it is the main way that the people of Rarotonga get around. They are nimble and super-economical on fuel, meaning you can go around and around the island for not much more than $5. A scooter is a great way of exploring the island on your own time.

There are a number of scooter rental offices located within close proximity to all our resorts on Rarotonga. For guest ease, Pacific Resort Rarotonga has an onsite Avis location for rental scooters by the day or longer. You will need the relevant class on your driver’s licence to rent a scooter in the Cook Islands. 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 also makes for a great souvenir!


For those who enjoy getting out and about and exploring by bike, there are lots of places where you can hire a bike. Explore on your own or take part in a guided ride, taking 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 of the island but be aware, it can get extremely hot so take your swimming togs, 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 and exploring some of the interior of the island. Maps are available from reception and you will never be too far from the outer main road, so get out and explore. Ask our friendly reception staff about our local bike hire locations at Pacific Resort Rarotonga.


For those that still want to hire a car, there are a number of 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 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.

However you choose to get around Rarotonga, you will never tire of the amazing views that you will see wherever you go. Rarotonga is one of the easiest places in the world to navigate around, so speak to our reception team and they will get you going!