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
- Anti Clockwise or Clockwise
- The Bus Schedule
- Where To Catch The Bus In Rarotonga
- How Much Is The Bus In Rarotonga
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.
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)|
|Game Fishing Club||03|
|Superbrown 24 Hr Store||06|
|Mount View Lodges||06|
|Matavera Village Traders||09|
|Pa’s Palace & Museum||12|
|Avana Waterfront Apartments||12|
|The Mooring Cafe||13|
|Sokala Villas/ Manea Beach||14|
|Muri Beach Club Hotel/ Te Vara Nui||14|
|Te Vakaroa Villas||15|
|Muri Beach/Captain Tama’s Cruise||16|
|Koka Lagoon Cruise||17|
|Muri Beach Hideaway||17|
|Muri Beach Resort/Nautilus Resort||17|
|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|
|Bella Beach Bungalows||22|
|Sea Change Villas||23|
|Arapati Villas/Victoria’s Garden||24|
|Palm Grove Lodges||25|
|Moana Sands Beach Villas/Wigmore’s Superstore||26|
|Vaima Steak House||26|
|Raro Beach Bach/ Daydreamer Apartments||27|
|Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa||30|
|Lagoon Breeze Villas||31|
|Black Pearl of Puaikura||33|
|Aro’a Beachside Inn/Shipwreck||34|
|Tex Mart – Arorangi||34|
|Kia Orana Beach Bungalows||35|
|Magic Reef Bungalows||36|
|Are Renga Motel||36|
|Manuia Beach Resort||37|
|Crown Beach Resort||38|
|Edgewater Resort & Spa||40|
|Cooks Oasis/Kikau Hut||42|
|Reefcomber/Black Rock Store||42|
|Black Rock Lookout/Tuoro Cafe||42|
|Rarotonga Golf Club||43|
|Parliament/Oasis 24hr Store||44|
|Vaiana’s Bar & Bistro||44|
|Palace Takeaway/Sea Salt Takeaway||48|
|Punanganui Market/Reefside Cafe||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)|
|Cook Islands Police Station||30|
|Vaiana’s Bar & Bistro||36|
|Oasis 24Hr Store||36|
|Rarotonga Golf Club||37|
|Reef Comber Motel||38|
|Kikau Hut/Cooks Oasis||39|
|Edgewater Resort & Spa||40|
|Crown Beach Resort||42|
|Manuia Beach Resort||43|
|Are Renga Motel/Waterline Café||43|
|Magic Reef Bungalows||43|
|Sunhaven Beach Bungalows||46|
|Aro’a Beachside Inn/Shipwreck||47|
|Black Pearl of Puaikura||48|
|Lagoon Breeze Villas||49|
|Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa||50|
|Vaima Steak House||53|
|Wigmore’s Superstore/Moana Sands Beach Villas||54|
|Palm Grove Lodges||55|
|Victoria’s Garden/Arapati Villas||55|
|Turoa Bakery/Saltwater Cafe||58|
|Sea Change Villas||58|
|The Beach Lodge||58|
|Bella Beach Bungalows||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 Beach Resort/Nautilus Resort||3|
|Koka Lagoon Cruise||4|
|Muri Beach/Captain Tama’s Cruise||5|
|Te Vakaroa Villas||5|
|Te Vara Nui/ Muri Beach Club Hotel||7|
|Manea Beach Villas||7|
|Sokala Villas/The Navigator||8|
|Avana Fishing Club/Avana Passage||10|
|Avana Waterfront Apartments||10|
|Sunrise Beach Bungalows||10|
|Matavera Village Traders||13|
|Ariana Bungalows/Super Brown Store||15|
|Cook Islands Game Fishing Club||16|
|Chillies Sports Bar||17|
|Victoria Park/Paradise Inn||18|
|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)|
|Hidie’s Bar/ Cafe Sala||00|
|Garden Bar/Boogies Burgers||01|
|Staircase Restaurant & Bar||02|
|Chillies Sports Bar||03|
|Flying Boat Fish n Chips||03|
|Super Brown Takeaway||06|
|Manea Foods – O’oa||06|
|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|
|Aqua Cafe/ Muri Outlet||17|
|Te Manava Villas||19|
|Fruits Of Rarotonga||19|
|Hidden Spirit Cafe & Grill||20|
|The Sands Restaurant||20|
|The Yellow Hibiscus||24|
|Wigmore’s Super Store||25|
|Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa||30|
|Aroa Beachside Inn Shipwreck||34|
|Tex Mart- Arorangi||35|
|Waterline Bar & Grill||36|
|Alberto’s Steak House||41|
|Kikau Hut Restaurant||42|
|Oasis 24hr Store||45|
|Drift In cafe||48|
|Raviz Indian Cuisine||48|
|Robs Charcoal Chicken||50|
|COOK’S CORNER – TERMINAL||50|
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.
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.
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.
Beach front location with affordable bungalows from $105.00 per night.BOOK NOW
With standard rooms from $130.00 you can enjoy life on the beach at an affordable price.BOOK NOW
Romantic adults only resort. With rooms from $230.00 per night enjoy luxury in peace.BOOK NOW
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.
LIKE IT? PIN IT!
Want more Cook Islands inspiration? Check out….
- WHERE TO EAT IN RAROTONGA
- AITUTAKI DAY TOUR FROM RAROTONGA: DISCOVER PARADISE WITH AIR RAROTONGA
- EXPERIENCE THE BEAUTY OF RAROTONGA WITH KOKA LAGOON CRUISES
- SWIMMING WITH TURTLES IN RAROTONGA: SEA SCOOTER SAFARI WITH ARIKI ADVENTURES
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