Posted by on 08 Apr 2021 , in Islands
Rarotonga, the hub of the Cook Islands, has so much to see and do, yet remains unspoilt. It takes just 45 minutes to drive around the whole island but with a wide range of scenery, activities, restaurants and cafes there is much to explore.
Climb the summit of the island’s majestic volcanic peak or dive into the crystal-clear turquoise waters and swim with schools of tropical fish. Embrace the warmth of the locals by visiting a cultural village or wander the lively Punanga Nui local markets. Adventure seekers will love getting off the beaten track with a variety of inland adventure activities including quad bikes, 4WD, hiking and cycling. There are many ways to enjoy the inviting lagoon from kite surfing or diving, to stand up paddle board and snorkelling. Savour a range of cuisines with over 100 cafés and restaurants offering casual or fine dining with a Polynesian twist.
Getting around Rarotonga
Getting around Rarotonga is very simple, there is one main road that circles the entire island - with a total distance of 34kms, so safe to say it doesn't take long to get anywhere!
- Local Bus
It's very easy to get around Rarotonga by using public transport. There are two buses which circle the island, one Clockwise and the other Anticlockwise. These buses will stop anywhere along the main road, all you have to do is smile and wave them down.
- Driving in the Cook Islands
Cook Islanders drive on the left-hand side of the road and the maximum speed is 50km per hour, in some towns it goes down to 30km per hour. It only takes approximately 45 minutes to drive around the entire island.
You must be over 16 years and carry a valid current driver's license from your home country, provided it does not expire, is revoked, suspended, or disqualified in that time. You are also only permitted to drive the class of the motor vehicle you are entitled to in your home country.
If you have a motorcycle class on your overseas license, you do not need to take a test to acquire a Cook Islands License, you just need to pay NZ$20 at the police station, where you will be issued your visitor license. The visitor’s licenses are only valid for 31 days.
If you do not have a motorcycle class on your license and would like to hire a scooter during your visit, you will need to undergo a driving test at the Cook Islands Police Station in downtown Avarua. You will need to present two forms of identification when applying for your visitors license: current valid license from your home country and your passport.
All visitors on a visitor’s driver's licence must wear a safety helmet while travelling on a motorcycle in Rarotonga. This is compulsory for Rarotonga only and does not apply to visitors driving a motorcycle in the outer islands.
Cycling around the islands is easy as the main roads are flat. Many hotels will have bicycles available to borrow at a first come first served basis or you can always hire one from town.
Often referred to as ‘Heaven on Earth’, Aitutaki is pure paradise.
Just 50 minutes flight from Raratonga, Aitutaki consists of 15 small motus (islets) surrounded by bright turquoise lagoon and a triangular-shaped reef. The crystal-clear water is home to an array of tropical fish and its pristine white-sand beaches are private and secluded.
After Raratonga, Aitutaki is the second most visited island in the Cook Islands. The private and romantic atmosphere holds a compelling alure to couples and honeymooners. Several operators cruise daily to many of the secluded motus as well as spectacular dive and snorkelling sites abundant with colourful fish, turtles and coral clusters. Attempt to zoom across the sandy shallows kite boarding or try your hand at deep sea and fly fishing. Learn the history and culture of the friendly Aitutaki people on day tours or hire a scooter or bicycle to explore at your own pace.