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Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com
Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️

Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️

© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

Everything You Need to Know About Transport on Aitutaki

Isolated some 220 km (137 mi) from Rarotonga in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean sits the dreamy lagoon atoll of Aitutaki. You can only fly to Aitutaki from one other airport, while only the occasional cruise ship and yacht make their way to the edge of the lagoon. Once here, the main island can easily be explored by road (and pretty decent sealed roads at that) while the lagoon is accessible via water taxis and lagoon cruises. Find out everything you need to know about getting to and around Aitutaki with this Aitutaki transport guide.

Before we begin, organise your accommodation and activities with ease using The Complete Travel Guide to Aitutaki and Where to Stay on Aitutaki: The Best Aitutaki Accommodations.

1. Aitutaki by Domestic Flight – How to Get to Aitutaki

The only real actionable way to get to Aitutaki is via plane (we say “real actionable way” because no one recommends you to take the cargo ship – not even the locals. More on that at the end of this list). Domestic flights are only available from Rarotonga with several return flights available from Monday to Saturday and one flight on Sunday. Flights last approximately 45-50 minutes and offer stunning views of the lagoon when coming in for landing. The cost of flights to Aitutaki are updated in Domestic Flights in the Cook Islands: Your Guide to Interisland Flights.

Alternatively, day tour flights to Aitutaki are available as part of a day package with Air Rarotonga and The Vaka Cruise. Domestic flights back to Rarotonga are also available via Atiu.

Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️© Sean Scott - Cook Islands Tourism

2. Aitutaki by Private Jet – How to Get to Aitutaki

For those on limited time (but not a limited budget), private jet packages are also available from Rarotonga Airport with Island Hopper Vacations. Fly from Rarotonga to Aitutaki on a private jet for up to seven passengers. The day tour includes a private island tour and lagoon cruise, while the overnight tour also includes a stay at the five-star Pacific Resort Aitutaki. Itineraries are customisable to include fishing or whale watching in the season.

Discover more about hiring a private jet, as well as chartering flights to Aitutaki with Air Rarotonga in How to Hire a Plane in the Cook Islands: A Guide to Plane Charters.

Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

3. Scooter Rental – How to Get Around Aitutaki

A popular way to navigate the island of Aitutaki is by hiring a scooter. There are plenty of scooter rentals on Aitutaki, either from rental companies or from accommodations, with petrol and electric options. A local scooter license is required to legally drive a scooter around Aitutaki, which you can pick up from the Arutanga Police Station. It is a much easier and cheaper process to do than on Rarotonga (but your license here will be valid on Rarotonga – winner!)

Find out more about hiring a scooter in our guide, Scooter Hire in Aitutaki: Where to Rent, Cost & More.

Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

4. Car Rental – How to Get Around Aitutaki

Although less Aitutakian than a scooter, car rental on Aitutaki is still a viable way to get around and comes with the added benefit of not requiring a local driving license or getting soaked when there’s a tropical downpour. You have a small selection of car rental companies on the island, which we compare in The Best Car Rentals in Aitutaki. We also recommend that you become familiar with the local road rules, which we outline in How to Drive in the Cook Islands + 10 Road Rules You Need to Know.

Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

5. Bicycle Rental – How to Get Around Aitutaki

The cheapest way to get around Aitutaki (other than using your own two feet) is by hiring a bicycle. Cycling around the entire island of Aitutaki is only a viable option for the fit and healthy, considering the outer road is approximately 18km (11 miles). Plus, that sun can be pretty brutal when cycling. However, bicycles can be a good way to cycle to nearby towns or attractions from your accommodation. Some accommodations provide bicycles for free, while bicycles are also hired out from selected vehicle rental companies. Find out more about where to rent a bike in Cycle the Cook Islands: Where to Rent Bikes & E-Bikes.

Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

6. Taxi – How to Get Around Aitutaki

There are just two taxi services on Aitutaki. They don’t work like your city taxi, i.e. they can’t be hailed down nor do they run on taxi meters. You need to book them prior to travel by either calling them or getting your accommodation’s concierge service to call them on your behalf. Learn more about getting a taxi on Aitutaki in our guide, Taxis in the Cook Islands: Taxi Fares, How to Use & More.

Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

7. Water Taxis – How to Get Around the Aitutaki Lagoon

For those wishing to spend the day on an uninhabited island or perhaps want to catch a ride to Honeymoon Island during the kitesurfing season, water taxis are available. Most depart from Ootu Beach, but some offer land transfers too if needed. Considering it only takes around 15 minutes to travel to most motu (islets) on the lagoon, prices are pretty reasonable even for a private water taxi. Check out our complete guide to catching a water taxi in How to Catch a Water Taxi in the Cook Islands: The Complete Guide.

Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

8. Aitutaki by Cruise Ship – How to Get to Aitutaki

For a quick visit to Aitutaki, the island is on the itinerary of several South Pacific cruises. Cruise passengers typically enter Aitutaki on zodiac boats through the lagoon’s main passage, arriving in the town of Arutanga. From there, passengers spend the day on lagoon cruises, island tours and more, as listed in the 10 Best Tours of Aitutaki. Find out which cruises visit Aitutaki in the 7 Best Cruises that Go to Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.

Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️© Sean Scott - Cook Islands Tourism

9. Aitutaki by Yacht – How to Get to Aitutaki

With the exception of the cyclone season (November to March), Aitutaki is a port of call for yachties, although not as popular as other islands in the Cooks due to its challenging lagoon terrain. The Ports Authority is located at Arutanga Wharf. Find out more about visiting Aitutaki via yacht and the protocols in our Sailing Guide to the Cook Islands: Tips for Yachting in the Cook Islands.

Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️© Pxhere

10. Cargo Boat – How to Get to Aitutaki

We leave the mention of catching a cargo boat to Aitutaki until last because it’s not a recommended way to get to the island but we still like to give you all of your options. Cargo boats in the Cook Islands are notoriously unpredictable, only leaving Rarotonga for the Southern Group and Northern Group islands once or twice a month. If your heart is set on the adventure and you have the time to spare, reach out to Taio Shipping at the Avatiu Wharf on Rarotonga to organise your voyage. More information can be found in our Cook Islands Cargo Ship Guide: How to Use the Ferry for Interisland Travel in the Cook Islands.

Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki ✈️© CookIslandsPocketGuide.com

Can You Walk Around Aitutaki?

The main island of Aitutaki is approximately 18km² (11 mi²), so walking is definitely not a convenient way to get around Aitutaki. Those preferring to walk are best basing themselves near service centres, such as Ootu Beach, Arutanga and Amuri.

Can You Get a Boat from Rarotonga to Aitutaki?

Yes, but not reliably. Cargo ships depart from Rarotonga to the Southern Group islands, including Aitutaki, once or twice a month but schedules are essentially non-existent. Therefore, taking a boat is not a practical way to get to Aitutaki.

More About Aitutaki and Transport

This Aitutaki transport guide should have given you a good idea of how to get to Aitutaki, as well as how to travel around Aitutaki.

Finally, prepare your entire Cook Islands trip using The Best Cook Islands Travel Guide.

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Cook Islands Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as the Cook Islands. She knows the islands inside out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Raro’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also the editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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