Car rental in Rarotonga
When you go overseas, sometimes the only thing you want to do is relax – and that’s why many people go to the Cook Islands. However, others like to make the most of their time away and pack as much into their itinerary as possible.
Public transport and tours are limited on Rarotonga, which is why renting a car makes a lot of sense.
Where to hire a car in Rarotonga
Car rental at Rarotonga Airport is limited to a choice between 3 companies: Avis, Polynesian and Island Car & Bike Hire. The first 2 of these are found inside the terminal, the latter opposite the car park’s exit.
There are also a number of car rental offices around the island, often near to major resort areas. The biggest congregation of these is in Avarua on the north coast, but you can also find options at Aroa, Arorangi and Muri.
What to expect when driving in Rarotonga
Like in New Zealand, drivers stick to the left-hand side of the road in the Cook Islands.
The main road on Rarotonga is Ara Tapu, which goes around the entire island. A smaller road – Ara Metua – runs parallel for much of the way, slightly inland, but doesn’t make a full circuit. There are no shortcuts across the middle of the island.
The highest speed limit on Rarotonga is 50km/h, but there are areas where it is reduced to 30km/h.
Popular road trips on Rarotonga
Around the block
Rarotonga is a beautiful island, with pristine beaches and clear waters on one side and rainforest clad mountains on the other. A full trip around the island takes 45 minutes if you don’t stop, but with so many beaches, waterfalls and other points of natural beauty, you may find yourself taking regular breaks along the way.
To Te Rua Manga
Te Rua Manga (The Needle) is a landmark in the centre of the island that combines an uphill drive with an even steeper hike. To get close to the top, turn up Uruau Drive near Avarua. The drive is less than 10 minutes, but the hike may take longer. It’s only advised for experienced and in-shape hikers, and proper hiking boots are highly recommended.
To Takitumu Conservation Area
On the south coast of the island, near Turoa Beach, is the Takitumu Conservation Area. This area of the island is protected to allow the forest to stay strong and to support the local Kakerori bird. This is one of several bird species you’ll find there, along with a number of plants that are unique to the area.
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Please note: all information is correct as of December 2018.