Rarotonga is so small that it takes only about half a day to walk across it, as you can see from this map . Fittingly, two buses encircle the main coastal road of Rarotonga during peak daylight hours.  One bus circles the island on the hour in a clockwise direction; with a second bus departing at 25 minutes past the hour in the opposite direction. The loop takes the buses one hour, and since they’re staggered, you can expect a bus to swing by every half-hour or so. This is unless you are staying on the Western side of the island where they cross paths at the same time. There are officially designated stops, but the bus driver will pick you up anywhere, just hold your hand out to stop the bus. There is also a clockwise evening service for the benefit of restaurant and bar patrons.

There are a several agencies that rent cars on the island. To rent a car you require a valid driver's licence from your home country. You then need to apply for a CIs licence from the Police Station in Avarua township. If you wish to pick up a car from the airport, it is possible to obtain a temporary licence which will last 24 hours or until such time as you are able to visit the Police Station to obtain your Cook Islands drivers licence. Your vehicle hirer can arrange a temporary licence for a small charge.

A cheaper option than renting a vehicle is to hire a motor scooter. To drive a scooter you will need a CIs scooter licence. If you don't have a motorcycle licence from your home country you'll be required to take a practical test. Helmets are not mandatory, but it would be wise to rent one with the scooter. Keep an eye out for dogs on the roads, speeding motorists, and drive cautiously.

The maximum speed limit around Rarotonga is 50km/h except through Avarua and Muri where this is reduced to 30km/h.  For motorcycle/scooter riders, the speed limit beyond these two identified localities is reduced from 50km/h to 40km/h if you do not wear a crash helmet. A maximum of two persons only can ride a motor scooter, motorbike or pushbike. 

It should be pointed out that the accident rate is fairly high, particularly amongst motorcycle/scooter riders. Anyone who hires a scooter on Rarotonga is advised to make sure they have adequate travel insurance in case of accident or injury.

Many hire companies have a fairly high excess on accident damage insurance, whether for car or scooter hire. The insurance excess provided by rental companies can be reduced by paying an extra per diem above the standard hire charges.