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Local Transport

All the islands are good for cycling. Rarotonga has a regular circle-island bus service, taxis, and bicycles, motorcycles and cars for hire. Aitutaki has a taxi service, and bicycles, motorcycles and cars for hire. ‘Atiu has a taxi service, rental motorcycles and a couple of Jeeps. You can rent scooters and bicycles on Ma’uke, Mitiaro and Mangaia.

Hitchhiking is legal, though of course never entirely safe, and if you’re walking along an empty stretch of road someone will stop and offer you a lift before too long.

Saddle Sore?

We’re not sure how many registered motorscooters there are in the Cooks, but this egalitarian form of transport is everywhere you look. To see a smartly dressed minister aboard his trusty Honda on the way to Sunday-morning church is a visionary sight indeed. People smoke and chat riding two-abreast, talk or text on the phone and maybe chew a sandwich at the same time. Robust Polynesian mamas perch on the side while tiny children cling on behind.

Locals prefer the manual 110cc ‘postie bike’ but the scooters hired to tourists are usually the automatic type. They’re easy to ride with push-button ignitions, brakes and throttle. Even if you’ve never ridden a motorcycle before, after 10 minutes you’ll be riding like a pro, and after a few days you’ll be walking like a cowhand. Be careful with the proximity of your suntanned legs to the hot exhaust pipe. Get too close and you’ll be in danger of getting a ‘Rarotongan Tattoo’. Watch out also for the occasional stray dog, and avoid riding at night as there's minimal street lighting on most parts of the island.

Remember also if you don't have a motorcycle licence in your home country, you need to head along to the police station in Avarua and get local accreditation when you first arrive.