Cook Islands Cook Islands - Image courtesy of Kirklandphotos & cookislandsescapes.com.au

How to get to the Cook Islands

The Cook Islands form part of Polynesia and are scattered across 2 million sq km of the South Pacific, around 3500km northeast of New Zealand and 1000km southwest of Tahiti.

The main island of Rarotonga is easily accessibly by air with direct flights from Los Angeles, Auckland and Sydney

All international flights arrive at Rarotonga International Airport (RAR), the Cook Islands' main international gateway. The airport is located 3 km west of the town of Avarua on the northern coast of the main island of Rarotonga.

Air Rarotonga operates regular scheduled flights between Rarotonga and Aitutaki islands, as well as both the Southern Group and Northern Group of islands.


Flight times to Rarotonga

The following are the most convenient and quickest routes to Rarotonga International Airport (RAR), Cook Islands.

From the United States: Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Air New Zealand offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Rarotonga.

Atlanta to Rarotonga is 18 hrs 1 min, with connecting flightˆ
Boston to Rarotonga is 18 hrs 10 min, with connecting flightˆ
Chicago to Rarotonga is 15 hrs 15 min, with connecting flightˆ
Dallas-Fort Worth to Rarotonga is 14 hrs 30 min, with connecting flightˆ
New York to Rarotonga is 17 hrs 45 min, with connecting flightˆ
San Francisco to Rarotonga is 13 hrs, with connecting flightˆ
Los Angeles to Rarotonga is 10 hrs, direct flight


From Canada: Air Canada and Air New Zealand offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Rarotonga.

Toronto to Rarotonga is 18 hrs, with connecting flightˆ
Montreal to Rarotonga is 18 hrs 55 min, with connecting flightˆ
Vancouver to Rarotonga is 15 hrs, with connecting flightˆ


From Australia: Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Rarotonga.

Adelaide to Rarotonga is 8 hrs 40 min, with connecting flightˆ
Brisbane to Rarotonga is 8 hrs 10 min, with connecting flightˆ
Sydney to Rarotonga is 5 hrs 45 min, direct flight;
Melbourne to Rarotonga is 8 hrs, with connecting flightˆ
Perth to Rarotonga is 10 hrs 45 min, with connecting flightˆ


From New Zealand: Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin Australia offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Rarotonga.

Auckland to Rarotonga is 3 hrs 45 min, wdirect flight


From Singapore: Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Rarotonga.

Singapore to Rarotonga is 14 hrs 40 min, with connecting flightˆ


From the United Kingdom: British Airways and American Airlines offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Rarotonga.

London to Rarotonga is 24 hrs 15 min, with connecting flightˆ


From France: Air France and Air New Zealand offer the most convenient scheduled flights to Rarotonga.

Paris to Rarotonga is 25 hrs 35 min, with connecting flightˆ

(ˆincludes layover time.)


Flying in

Rarotonga International Airport (RAR) is located 3km west of Avarua on the main island of Rarotonga.

Hotel and resort courtesy buses meet every flight. Taxis and hire cars are also available.


Entry requirements

A passport valid for at least six months beyond intended period of stay as well as proof of a return/onward ticket, adequate financial means to support your stay and confirmed accommodation are required.

Generally, tourists do not need a visa for a stay of 30 days or less in the Cook Islands.


Getting around

Land – Round-the-island buses can be flagged anywhere and everyday except Sunday. These two large yellow buses – each offering a clockwise and counter-clockwise trip around the island – depart hourly from Cook’s Corner shopping centre in Avarua on Rarotonga daily.

Taxis and hire cars are available – 4WDs and motorcycles are best to reach out-of-the-ways spots. Traffic drives on the left.

Between islands – Air Rarotonga connects the main island with the islands of Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke, Manihiki, Mitiaro and Penrhyn.


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Latest update: How to get to the Cook Islands: 4 May, 2019


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