Everything You Need to Know About Transport on Mauke
Roughly 270km (167 miles) northeast of Rarotonga, Mauke is only half the size of the Cook Islands’ main island yet feels a world away from the hustle and bustle. After you land on the raised coral atoll in an eight-seater plane, you’ll explore Mauke’s relatively comfortable flattened coral roads via scooter, bicycle or car. There is no public transport on Mauke, so you’ll almost solely rely on your accommodation provider to organise your vehicle rental, airport transfers and/or guided tours to those harder-to-reach places. Learn more about how to get to and around Mauke in this complete Mauke transport guide.
1. Mauke by Domestic Flight – How to Get to Mauke
The only “real actionable” way to get to Mauke 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 on an eight-seater plane with the Cook Islands’ sole domestic carrier are available from Rarotonga with return flights available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Flights last approximately 50 minutes. Occasionally, Monday and Friday flights from Rarotonga stop at Mitiaro before arriving in Mauke and vice versa, which extends the flight time. The flight between Mitiaro and Mauke is approximately 20 minutes.
The cost of flights to Mauke are updated in Domestic Flights in the Cook Islands: Your Guide to Interisland Flights.
2. Scooter Rental – How to Get Around Mauke
The most available way to navigate Mauke is by a scooter. Most of the roads you’ll be using to get around Mauke by scooter are either gravel or dirt road but are in good condition. Scooter rentals are available through accommodations and the Makatea General Store and cost approximately NZ$25-$30 per day. Note that helmets are not mandatory on Mauke (and will not be included in your rental).
A local scooter license is required to legally drive a scooter around Mauke, which you can pick up from the Police Station in Kimiangatau on the main road or use the one that you may have picked up on Rarotonga. It is a much easier and cheaper process, however, to obtain here than on Rarotonga (but your license here will be valid on Rarotonga – winner!) Find out more in our guide, How to Get a Rarotonga & the Cook Islands Scooter License.
3. Car Rental – How to Get Around Mauke
While less available, rental cars are also a good way to get around Mauke and its generally good-condition gravel and dirt roads. Car rental has the benefit of not requiring a local driving license and you won’t get soaked when there’s a tropical downpour. Car rentals are available with Tiare Cottages (see Where to Stay on Mauke) for approximately NZ$70-$80 per day. Get more tips for renting a car in our guide, What You Need to Hire a Car in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
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.
4. Bicycle Rental – How to Get Around Mauke
The cheapest way to get around Mauke (other than using your own two feet) is by hiring a bicycle. Cycling around the entire island of Mauke is only a viable option for the fit and healthy, considering the outer road is approximately 16km (10 miles). Plus, that tropical sun can be pretty brutal when cycling. However, bicycles can be a good way to cycle through the villages or to the beach from your accommodation. Find out more about where to rent a bike in Cycle the Cook Islands: Where to Rent Bikes & E-Bikes.
5. Accommodation Transfers (Airport Transfers) – How to Get Around Mauke
The accommodations on Mauke offer complimentary return airport transfers, usually on the back of a pick-up truck. Your hosts welcome you with a floral “ei” (neck garland) at the airport. You may also receive a short island orientation tour by your host on arrival.
6. Guided Tours – How to Get Around Mauke
Another way of getting around Mauke to see the sights is with a guided tour that includes transport. This also has the added benefit of discovering top attractions, such as the island’s inland caves and the giant banyan tree, that are otherwise difficult to find on your own or require a 4WD vehicle. As guided tours on Mauke are through locals, rather than a formal tour company, they are best organised through your accommodation once you arrive. They typically cost NZ$30-$50 per person. See what types of tours are available in the 15 Best Things to Do on Mauke.
7. Cargo Boat – How to Get to Mauke
We leave the mention of catching a cargo boat to Mauke 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.
More About Mauke Transport and Getting Around Mauke
That’s it for our guide to Mauke transport with the ways to get around Mauke, as well as how to get to Mauke. If you have more questions about travelling around Mauke, check out the following guides:
- Cook Islands Transport Guide: 15 Best Ways to Get Around the Cook Islands
- The Driving Times in the Cook Islands You Need to Know
- A Travellers’ Guide to Hitchhiking in the Cook Islands
Finally, see where your transport can take you with our itineraries: The Best Cook Islands Itineraries for 2 Week, The Best Cook Islands Itineraries for 10 Days and The Best Cook Islands Itineraries for 1 Week.