Circle-island buses run around the coast road in both directions, departing from the Circle Island Bus Stop at Cook's Corner in Avarua. Buses running clockwise depart hourly from 7am to 11pm Monday to Saturday, and from 8am to noon and 2pm to 4pm Sunday.
Buses running anticlockwise depart at 30 minutes past the hour, from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, and from 8.30am to 12.30pm on Saturday. There are no anti-clockwise buses on Sundays.
A night bus service runs clockwise on Friday at midnight and at 2am on Saturday. Note there is no 11pm bus on Friday.
Adult/child fares are NZ$4/3 for one ride, NZ$8/5 for a return trip (two rides) or NZ$30/19 for a 10-ride ticket. A family pass, valid for two adults and two children, costs NZ$26. There’s also a day pass (NZ$16). The bus can be flagged down anywhere along its route. Tickets can be purchased on board.
Pick up bus timetables from the tourist office or the bus driver, or see the website for Cook’s Passenger Transport. Several free publications, including the Cook Islands Sun Rarotonga Map, also contain timetables, and they are often posted in restaurants and shops.
Car, Motorcycle & Bicycle
The speed limit is 50km/h outside town and 30km/h around Avarua. It’s illegal for motorcyclists to ride two abreast (though many do), and if you exceed 40km/h on a motorcycle without a helmet you’ll be fined. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road
To rent a car, your drivers licence from your home country is valid, but if you're planning on zipping around the island on a scooter, you'll need to get a Cook Islands drivers licence (NZ$20). If you’re not licensed to drive a motorcycle at home, you’ll also have to take a short practical test (NZ$5) including negotiating a simple slalom course of road cones. You can get your licence any day from 8am to 3pm, but turn up early as the police station issues many motorcycle licences daily and queues can be long.
The quintessential mode of transport in the Cook Islands is the scooter. Good rates for rental bikes are around NZ$50 for three days or NZ$100 per week. Cars and jeeps are available for around NZ$50 to NZ$70 per day. Mountain bikes are around NZ$7 per day or NZ$50 per week.
BT Rentals Scooter and motorcycle hire.
Rarotonga Rentals Opposite the airport.
Tipani Rentals Near the Edgewater Resort in ‘Arorangi.
A number of operators around the island have amalgamated into the Cook Islands Taxi Association. Look for the bright green cars and vans. Rates are about NZ$3 per kilometre. From Muri to the airport will cost around NZ$40, and there is also the option of fixed-price airport transfers of NZ$15 to NZ$20 per person to destinations around the island.
Atupa Taxi Contact Panala & Ngaoa Katuke.
Executive Taxi Contact Ivor and Dorothy.
H-K Taxi Contact Teuira and Shirley.
JP Taxi Contact Kim Pirangi.
Muri Height Taxi Contact Junior Wichman.
Price Taxi Contact Larry and Ina Price.
Rainbow Taxi Contact Tere Poaru.
Seeplus Taxi Contact Rei Enoka.