Flights into the Cook Islands, are much easier to access than most people think. The capital of the Cook Islands and the main international airport is Rarotonga (RAR). Once you land in Rarotonga, you can then get domestic flights to other outer islands, e.g. Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, etc. within the Cook Islands.
The four international airlines that currently fly into Rarotonga are Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Jetstar Airways and Air Tahiti.
Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and Jetstar Airways: all operate flights from Auckland, New Zealand into Rarotonga. There are flights almost every day with these airlines between Auckland and Rarotonga and once in Auckland, there are connecting flights to other airports around the world.
Air New Zealand: also operate a direct flight between Sydney, Australia and Rarotonga. This service is only provided once a week by Air New Zealand. This service departs Sydney (bound for Rarotonga) every Friday night and the flight from Rarotonga bound for Sydney departs Rarotonga every Thursday afternoon.
Air New Zealand: also operate a second direct service from Los Angeles LAX to Rarotonga departing LA every Saturday night bound for Rarotonga. This direct service departs Rarotonga bound for Los Angeles every Friday night.
Air Tahiti: provide a direct flight between Papeete, Tahiti and Rarotonga also once a week. This is scheduled to depart Papeete every Saturday afternoon and the return flight also departs Rarotonga every Saturday afternoon bound for Papeete. This schedule does however change seasonally and alternates between Thursday and Saturday departures between the 2x airports.
Air Rarotonga is the only domestic airline company serving the Cook Islands. Our paradise is made up of 15 islands spread over 2million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean. These islands are then broken down into the Northern Group Island and the Southern Group Islands.
The Southern Group are the closest island around the capital and consist of Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke, Mitiaro, Palmerston, Manuae and Takutea.
Daily Flights from Rarotonga within the Cook Islands:
Aitutaki: Monday to Sunday 3 - 5 flights per day.
Mauke, Mangaia and Atiu: 3x flight a week, usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Saturday.
Mitiaro: 2x flights a week, every Monday and Friday.
Manuae and Takutea are uninhabited islands and are also protected wildlife reserves
The Northern Group islands are the furthest island in the Cook Islands and are made up of Manihiki, Pukapuka, Nassau, Rakahanga, Tongareva (Penrhyn) and Suwarrow
Of these islands, only Manihiki has a semi-functioning airport but flights are only once every 2 weeks and are very expensive. To get to any of the islands, must be via boat on one of the cargo freight ships that service the outer islands. This means of travel, however, is not a passenger cruise service, it’s a freight cargo shipping schedule. So cabins are not very ideal nor comfortable and the freight schedule usually has a monthly departure if everything runs smoothly with shipping logistics.
Private Chartered flights to some of these islands can be arranged on request, please contact us on our enquiry form for further details.