A Self-Drive Day Tour of Atiu
Have a day to spend on Atiu and don’t know what to do with it? This one-day itinerary of Atiu will ensure you make the most of it! Rent a car, scooter or bicycle and hit the quiet coastal roads of the coral atoll as you explore glorious viewpoints, secluded beaches, coastal forest, bizarre rock formations and more. You don’t need to hire a guide, as this self-guided day trip around Atiu lays out the top sights and attractions on an easy-to-follow route complete with maps.
How to Get Around Atiu Using This Self-Guided Itinerary
This self-guided one-day itinerary of Atiu has you exploring the island independently. To get around, you will either need to rent a car, scooter or bicycle! Tips on where to hire can be found in the following guides:
- The Best Car Rentals in Atiu: The Top Atiu Car Rental Companies
- Scooter Hire on Atiu: Where to Rent, Cost & More
- Cycle Rarotonga & the Cook Islands: Where to Rent Bikes & E-Bikes.
Note that our itinerary starts at Atiu Villas, as this is where most people stay and hire vehicles during their time on the island. Atiu’s alternative accommodation, however, is not too far away. For more transport options, check out our Atiu Transport Guide: 7 Ways to Get to (& Around) Atiu.
Atiu Villas to Oneroa Beach
Distance: 4.4km (2.7 miles), Drive time: 8 minutes, Cycle time: 18 minutes
From Atiu Villas, head south until you reach the coastal road and start your round-the-island trip! Head left (east) along the coastal road for approximately 1.8km (1.1 miles) to reach Takauroa Beach. At low tide, walk along the beach/reef west to find a series of sinkholes that temporarily trap colourful fish at low tide and create your own amazing aquarium! These are aptly known as the Coral Garden.
After your adventure, head back on the road north for another kilometre (0.6 miles) to come across the beautiful stretch of sand at Oneroa Beach. There are steps in the road to access the beach. At low tide, it’s possible to walk along the reef to The Three Grottos – see the 10 Free Things to Do on Atiu for details.
Oneroa Beach to Konakonako Landing
Distance: 7km (4.3 miles), Drive time: 13 minutes, Cycle time: 28 minutes
The main attraction of this stretch of coast is the drive/cycle itself. The quiet road has a mix of forest and tranquil plantations. If it happens to be windy and high tide, you may spot the Whistling Holes (Pari Aniu) natural water fountain blowing ocean water into the air along the coast.
Pass alongside the airstrip and some 800m (2,645ft) past the airport building you’ll find the trail that leads to Konakonako Landing. At around low tide, water gets trapped to create a natural infinity pool lookout out across the reef and Pacific Ocean.
Konokonako Landing to Tumai Beach
Distance: 4.9km (3 miles), Drive time: 10 minutes, Cycle time: 20 minutes
After Konokonako Landing, head south to the Taunganui Harbour, which makes a fun and sheltered spot for a swim and a snorkel. At the harbour’s southern end, find the shipwreck of the SV Edna.
About a kilometre (0.6 miles) south of Taunganui Harbour, look out for a small trail leading to the coast from the roadside. You’ll find a quaint picturesque (but unnamed) beach.
A little further on (about 200m/656ft), you’ll reach Oravaru Beach. This is the landing place of Captain Cook on April 3 1777. It’s also a great beach for relaxing and bathing at high tide.
The next beach on the agenda is Atiu’s most popular, Taungaroro Beach, approximately 1.5km (0.9 miles) south of Oravaru. The beach is just a few metres from the main road and has a sheltered picnic area, making it an ideal lunch stop.
Finally, in our beach medley, Tumai Beach is only another 100m (328ft) down the road with rocky slabs to explore between remote stretches of sand.
Tumai Beach to Atiu Villas
Distance: 6.7km (4.2 miles), Drive time: 13 minutes, Cycle time: 27-30 minutes
You have a scenic stretch of coastal forest to keep you shaded (especially if you’re cycling) as you travel from Tumai Beach to Vai Piake Landing, approximately 700m (2,297ft) south. Enjoy the views of the rugged coast from the vantage point here. You can also access a beach through some narrow steps in the rock wall.
Travel another 2.5km (1.6 miles) to the southern tip of the Atiu, Te Tau. Follow a jagged coastal trail to amazing views of a coral field. Take it all in, then return up the trail the way you came.
Your final beach destination is Matai Beach nestled between two rocky cliffs. Then, it’s approximately 2.2km (1.4 miles) back to Atiu Villas – with a little bit of uphill for you cyclists.
More About Planning a Self-Guided Day Trip Around Atiu
That’s it for our self-guided day trip around Atiu. If the sights visited on this one-day itinerary of Atiu weren’t enough, these other articles should give you more ideas!
Finally, don’t miss a thing on the atoll with The Complete Travel Guide to Atiu.