How To Take The Bus In Rarotonga, Cook Islands

taking the bus in rarotonga

All you need to know about taking the bus in Rarotonga. I will be giving you all the information you need to know such as whether you should go clockwise or anti-clockwise, the bus schedule, costs, and what to expect!


If you are just wanting a simple and relaxed holiday then taking the bus in Rarotonga is the perfect transport option for you. Join locals and travelers alike as you journey around this small island together. It never takes too long to get to your destination. So sit back and smell the salty sea breeze.

The island of Rarotonga might not be a large place being 32km around. Though unless you have some damn good running shoes and a sporty spirit you are going to need some sort of vehicle. Now, hiring a car or scooter may not be the best option for you, perhaps you are not comfortable on the roads and don’t want to deal with insurance worries. Well, you better learn how to take the bus in Rarotonga.

Riding the bus super easy to do and you can’t get lost as the island is a circle, the bus route will eventually take you back to where you started! This guide to taking the bus in Rarotonga has everything you need to know.

Taking The Bus In Rarotonga: Everything You Need To Know


Why Should You Take The Bus

Taking the bus in Rarotonga is an excellent way to discover the island. It is small enough that the journey doesn’t get uncomfortable and boring. The friendly drivers are also a bonus, always greeting everyone with a big Kia Orana.

Though personally, I think the main drawcard to taking the bus in Rarotonga is that you will really slip into island life. Time here is slower than you’ll experience in busy cities. Everyone is friendly and no one is in a rush. Watch the palm trees swaying in the breeze and listen to the waves crashing on the shore. Feel yourself breathe and relax away from the stresses of reality. Welcome to Rarotonga.

two men walking in rarotonga along palm trees
walking down the back roads in rarotonga to the main circle road to catch the bus

Anti Clockwise or Clockwise

Now before we get into the bus schedule in Rarotonga it is important you understand the anti-clockwise or clockwise concept. Essentially what you need to understand is there is a single main road in Rarotonga. This road is a circle so there are only two ways the bus can travel. This is either anti-clockwise or clockwise.

The majority of the time there will be two buses on the road except for some exclusions which I will cover later. These two buses will be going in opposite directions on a circular road. This makes things super easy for us tourist as it is near impossible to not be able to get to your destination.

Depending on where your accommodation is located on the island in comparison to your destination will determine whether you catch the clockwise or anti-clockwise bus. A ten-minute bus ride will either take ten minutes or fifty minutes, depending on which bus you take! So just make sure you jump on the correct one.


The Bus Schedule

The following are the clockwise, anti-clockwise, and night bus schedule for Rarotonga. The locations listed are the bus stops, sometimes there will be physical shelter there, sometimes not. The time is when the bus departs on the hour.

Public Holidays run as per the Sunday Day Schedule with the night bus running per normal.

There are no buses on Good Friday, Christmas Day, New Years Day, and New Year’s Eve.

Clockwise Bus Schedule:

Monday to Saturday from 7.00am until 5.00pm on the hour.

Sundays from 8.00am until 12.00pm and 2.00pm to 4.00pm.

Clockwise (location) Time (on the hour)
Cooks Corner 00
Trader Jacks 01
Paradise Inn 02
Tamarind House 03
Game Fishing Club 03
Club Raro 04
Kiikii Motel 05
Superbrown 24 Hr Store 06
Mount View Lodges 06
Love Cafe 08
Takitumu School 08
Matavera Village Traders 09
Tropical Sands 10
Sunrise Motel 11
Pa’s Palace & Museum 12
Avana Waterfront Apartments 12
The Mooring Cafe 13
Aroko Bungalows 13
Kura’s Kabanas 13
Sokala Villas/ Manea Beach 14
Muri Beach Club Hotel/ Te Vara Nui 14
Pacific Resort 15
Te Vakaroa Villas 15
Muri Beach/Captain Tama’s Cruise 16
Muri Beachcomber 16
Koka Lagoon Cruise 17
Muri Beach Hideaway 17
Aremango Guesthouse 17
Muri Beach Resort/Nautilus Resort 17
Tiana’s/Muri Retreat 18
Muri Beach Cottages 18
Te Manava Villas 18
Rumors of Romance 18
Fruits of Rarotonga 18
Raina Beach Apartments 18
Little Polynesian Resort 19
Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel 20
Royale Takitumu Villas/Kent Hall 21
Whitesands Villas 21
Bella Beach Bungalows 22
Sea Change Villas 23
YWAM 24
Arapati Villas/Victoria’s Garden 24
Palm Grove Lodges 25
Moana Sands Beach Villas/Wigmore’s Superstore 26
Vaima Steak House 26
Wigmore’s Waterfall 26
Raro Beach Bach/ Daydreamer Apartments 27
Rarotongan  Beach Resort & Spa 30
Lagoon Breeze Villas 31
Cocoputt 31
Backpackers International 33
Black Pearl of Puaikura 33
Aro’a Beachside Inn/Shipwreck 34
Tex Mart – Arorangi 34
Sunhaven Bungalows 35
Rarotonga Backpackers 35
Kia Orana Beach Bungalows 35
Moana Sunset 35
Castaway Resort 36
Magic Reef Bungalows 36
Are Renga Motel 36
Manuia Beach Resort 37
Crown Beach Resort 38
Tumunu Restaurant 39
Edgewater Resort & Spa 40
Sunset Resort 42
Cooks Oasis/Kikau Hut 42
Reefcomber/Black Rock Store 42
Black Rock Lookout/Tuoro Cafe 42
Rarotonga Golf Club 43
Corner Store 43
Parliament/Oasis 24hr Store 44
Vaiana’s Bar & Bistro 44
Rarotonga Airport 45
Islander Hotel 46
CITC Supermarket 48
Palace Takeaway/Sea Salt Takeaway 48
Punanganui Market/Reefside Cafe 49
Triad Petroleum 49
COOK’S CORNER – TERMINAL 50

Anti Clockwise Bus Schedule

Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 4.30pm on half past the hour.

Saturday from 8.30am until 1.30pm.

Anti-Clockwise (Bus Stop Location) Time (on the hour)
Cooks Corner 30
Cook Islands Police Station 30
Punanganui Market 32
Mama’s Cafe 32
CITC Supermarket 33
Islander Hotel 34
Rarotonga Airport 35
Vaiana’s Bar & Bistro 36
Oasis 24Hr Store 36
Corner Store 37
Rarotonga Golf Club 37
Reef Comber Motel 38
Kikau Hut/Cooks Oasis 39
Sunset Resort 39
Edgewater Resort & Spa 40
Crown Beach Resort 42
Manuia Beach Resort 43
Are Renga Motel/Waterline Café 43
Magic Reef Bungalows 43
Castaway Resort 45
Rarotonga Backpackers 46
Sunhaven Beach Bungalows 46
Aro’a Beachside Inn/Shipwreck 47
Black Pearl of Puaikura 48
Backpackers International 48
Lagoon Breeze Villas 49
Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa 50
Daydreamer Apartments 52
Wigmore’s Waterfall 53
Vaima Steak House 53
Wigmore’s Superstore/Moana Sands Beach Villas 54
Palm Grove Lodges 55
Victoria’s Garden/Arapati Villas 55
YWAM 55
Turoa Bakery/Saltwater Cafe 58
Sea Change Villas 58
The Beach Lodge 58
Bella Beach Bungalows 59
Whitesands Villas 59
Royale Takitumu Villas 59
Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel 0
Little Polynesian Resort 0
Raina Beach Apartments 1
Fruits of Rarotonga 2
Rumors of Romance 2
Te Manava Villas 2
Muri Beach Cottages 3
Muri Retreat/Tiana’s 3
Muri Beach Resort/Nautilus Resort 3
Aremango Guesthouse 4
Koka Lagoon Cruise 4
Muri Beachcomber 4
Muri Beach/Captain Tama’s Cruise 5
Te Vakaroa Villas 5
Pacific Resort 5
Te Vara Nui/ Muri Beach Club Hotel 7
Manea Beach Villas 7
Sokala Villas/The Navigator 8
Kura’s Kabanas 8
Aroko Bungalows 9
Avana Fishing Club/Avana Passage 10
Avana Waterfront Apartments 10
Sunrise Beach Bungalows 10
Tropical Sands 12
Tex Mart-Matavera 12
Matavera Village Traders 13
Takitumu School 13
Love Cafe 13
Tradewinds Store 13
Manea Foods-Ooa 14
Ariana Bungalows/Super Brown Store 15
Kiikii Motel 16
Club Raro 16
Cook Islands Game Fishing Club 16
Tamarind House 16
Chillies Sports Bar 17
Victoria Park/Paradise Inn 18
Bamboo Jacks 18
Trader Jacks 19
Cook Islands Tourism Information Centre 19
COOK’S CORNER – TERMINAL 20

Night Bus Schedule

The night bus follows the clockwise route. It departs on the hour from 6pm to 10pm Monday to Saturday.

Be aware there is no night bus on Sundays in Rarotonga.

Night (Clockwise Only) Bus Stop Location Time (on the hour)
Cooks Corner 00
Hidie’s Bar/ Cafe Sala 00
Garden Bar/Boogies Burgers 01
Trader Jacks 02
Rehab/Empire Theatre 02
Staircase Restaurant & Bar 02
Tahiti Cafe 02
Bamboo Jacks 02
Paradise Inn 03
Chillies Sports Bar 03
Tamarind House 03
Flying Boat Fish n Chips 03
Club Raro 04
Super Brown Takeaway 06
Manea Foods – O’oa 06
Tradewinds 07
The Plantation 07
Matavera Village Traders 08
Tex Mart – Matavera 09
Te Ata Kura Store 10
Kia orana Store 11
Avana Fishing Club 12
La Casita Restaurant 14
The Rickshaw Restaurant 14
Te Vara Nui Village 14
Pacific Resort 15
Sails Restaurant 16
Deli-licious 16
Aqua Cafe/ Muri Outlet 17
Te Manava Villas 19
Fruits Of Rarotonga 19
Hidden Spirit Cafe & Grill 20
The Sands Restaurant 20
Turoa Bakery/Lavazza 22
The Yellow Hibiscus 24
Wigmore’s Super Store 25
Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa 30
Kaena Restaurant 31
Cocoputt 31
Aroa Beachside Inn Shipwreck 34
Tex Mart- Arorangi 35
Waterline Bar & Grill 36
Manuia Beach 37
Crown Beach 38
Tumunu Restaurant 39
Spaghetti House 39
Edgewater Resort 40
Alberto’s Steak House 41
Sunset Resort 41
Kikau Hut Restaurant 42
Corner Store 44
Oasis 24hr Store 45
Cafe Jireh 45
Aquarius Motel 46
Nu Bar 46
Palace Takeaways 47
Mama’s Cafe 47
Drift In cafe 48
Raviz Indian Cuisine 48
Apii Cafe 49
Cafe Ariki 49
Robs Charcoal Chicken 50
COOK’S CORNER – TERMINAL 50

Island Time

Let’s get the first thing first, island time. It is a thing in Rarotonga and the locals love it, including the bus driver. Though, in saying that they are not going to be too far off the scheduled time. I have even taken bus’s that came early!

Generally speaking, it is best to be at the bus stop 10 minutes before the scheduled departure. Also if your bus is for some reason crazy late, don’t worry, there will be another one going the other direction soon.

palm trees in rarotonga
continuing up the back roads to the main road where you can catch the bus from

Where To Catch The Bus In Rarotonga

There are well over fifty different bus stops depending on which route you are on so you will never be too far away. All major accommodation will often have a bus stop in front of it, as well as popular restaurants. This way you will never have a problem when taking the bus in Rarotonga.

It is very unlikely you will need to walk more than a few meters from your final destination. Just tell the bus driver where you would like to go when you jump on and he will drop you as close as possible.

blue hibiscus mural in rarotonga
sitting at the bus stop in rarotonga outside of the backpackers

How Much Is The Bus In Rarotonga?

Standard Bus Ticket Prices

Adult: one way $5.00NZD / return $8.00NZD

Child: one way $3.00NZD / return $4.00NZD

Multi Journey Ticket Prices

Hop on Hop Off: Adult $16.00NZD / family $26.00NZD (two adults & two children) 

10 Journey Pass: Adult $30.00NZD / child $19.00 NZD


Where To Stay In Rarotonga

There are plenty of options when it comes to accommodation in Rarotonga. From small hostels, apartments on the beach, luxury resorts, and everything in between.

Though just be aware that even 5-star resorts in Rarotonga don’t actually look too great so adjust your expectations accordingly. This is an island with limited resources and seems to be a few years behind New Zealand, which is again, a few years behind the rest of Oceania. As a result, rooms can look quite dated, think floral prints from the ’70s, though that’s just the atheistic on the island.

Find the best hotels in the area

kiikii inn

Kiikii Inn & Suites

Beach front location with affordable bungalows from $105.00 per night.

BOOK NOW
club raro resort

Club Raro Resort

With standard rooms from $130.00 you can enjoy life on the beach at an affordable price.

BOOK NOW
sanctuary rarotonga

Sanctuary Rarotonga Resort & Spa

Romantic adults only resort. With rooms from $230.00 per night enjoy luxury in peace.

BOOK NOW
the rarotogan resort

The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa

Set on a private beach this 4 star resort is the perfect getaway from $190.00 per night.

BOOK NOW

 


Things To Do While In Rarotonga

One great thing about Rarotonga is that is it basically impossible to get bored during your stay! There is such a wide variety of things to do and beautiful sights you will constantly be out exploring.

Also, for a more extensive list be sure to check out my post on the Best Things To Do In Rarotonga.

Aitutaki Day Tour: If you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience definitely think about booking the Aitutaki Day Tour. Though it is pricey, 100% worth it. It still has some of the best beaches I have ever seen.

Cultural Show: A more tame activity is checking out one of the evening cultural shows. These are a magnificent insight into the Cook Island culture with extremely impressive performances involving dance and fire. A buffet dinner is also included with both western and local favorites.

Across Island Hike: One of the most popular things to do is do the Across Island Hike and visit The Needle. This will take you right into the interior of the mountainous island with some amazing ocean views.

Raro Buggy Tours: I have always wanted to do the buggy tour as there is such hype so I booked it in on my most recent trip. I remember saying at the start to my partner that we must swap halfway so I get some fun. Though when that time came I was enjoying it so much I was happy to stay a passenger!

Beach Hop: Now you cannot go to Rarotonga and miss out on exploring the incredible ocean life and this can easily be done on a budget, if not for free. Basically, no matter where you are staying on the island the ocean is just a walk away. Do what I did and bring your own snorkel, or hire your own from a few dollars a day. Honestly, you could spend hours exploring the underwater life and corals (pro tip: the best snorkeling spot is Aroa Marine Reserve behind The Rarotongan beach resort or in front of Fruits of Rarotonga)

Swimming With Sea Turtles: No matter what your budget is swimming with sea turtles is one activity I recommend to everyone visiting Rarotonga. This experience will have you swimming alongside these majestic beauties. I did this with Ariki Adventures and cannot recommend this enough. As an alternative, they also offer a lagoon safari which I recently did. This is suitable for all ages and is safe for those who are not the most confident swimmers.

Lagoon cruise: More of a family-friendly activity is the lagoon cruise. There are a couple of companies you can book with, though we went with Koka Lagoon Cruises. It is a perfect way to get into the Cook Island spirit. With plenty of performances, snorkeling, entertainment, and a delicious lunch it is the ideal way to spend half a day.

Quad Biking: If you are a bit of an adrenaline junkie then quad biking is perfect for you! Head right into the inland area and among the jungle. Explore off the beaten track and get some of the best views of the famous needle which stands high over Rarotonga.


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All you need to know about taking the bus in Rarotonga. I will be giving you all the information you need to know such as whether you should go clockwise or anti-clockwise, the bus schedule, costs, and what to expect!


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