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 most convenient route to the Cook Islands is by air to Rarotonga International Airport (RAR), located 3km (1.8mi) west of Avarua on the north coast of Rarotonga Island.

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.

Within Cook Islands: Air Rarotonga offers frequent interisland flights.

Aitutaki to Rarotonga is 50 min, direct flight


From Tahiti: Air Tahiti Nui offers the most convenient scheduled flights to Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

Papeete to Rarotonga is 2 hrs 40 min, direct flight


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, direct flight


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

Sydney to Rarotonga is 5 hrs 45 min, direct flight

Adelaide to Rarotonga is 8 hrs 40 min, connecting flightˆ
Brisbane to Rarotonga is 8 hrs 10 min, connecting flightˆ
Melbourne to Rarotonga is 8 hrs, connecting flightˆ
Perth to Rarotonga is 10 hrs 45 min, connecting flightˆ


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

Los Angeles to Rarotonga is 10 hrs, direct flight

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


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

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


From China: Air China, China Eastern Airlines and Air New Zealand offer the most convenient flights to Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

Beijing to Rarotonga is 17 hrs 30 min, connecting flightˆ
Shanghai to Rarotonga is 16 hrs, connecting flightˆ
Hong Kong to Rarotonga is 15 hrs 35 min, connecting flightˆ


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

Singapore to Rarotonga is 14 hrs 40 min, connecting flightˆ


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

London to Rarotonga is 24 hrs 15 min, connecting flightˆ


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

Paris to Rarotonga is 25 hrs 35 min, connecting flightˆ


From Germany: Lufthansa and Air New Zealand offer the most convenient flights to Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

Dusseldorf to Rarotonga is 26 hrs 10 min, connecting flightˆ
Frankfurt to Rarotonga is 25 hrs 40 min, connecting flightˆ
Munich to Rarotonga is 25 hrs 50 min, connecting flightˆ

(ˆincludes transfer 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

Getting around the Cook Islands is relatively easy, with a choice of transport options on all the islands.

Taxis and hire cars are available – 4WDs and motorcycles are best to reach out-of-the-ways spots – and all the islands are good for cycling.

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.

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

More about how to get around the Cook Islands


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Latest update: How to get to the Cook Islands: 14 March, 2020


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