Flying to the Cook Islands
At the moment, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Air New Zealand is the only airline servicing Rarotonga International Airport, and that is direct from Auckland.
Rarotonga International Airport is the gateway airport for the Cook Islands.
Approximate flight time is four hours from Auckland.
During normal times, there are international flights from Los Angeles, Sydney and Papeete.
NOTE: To travel quarantine-free from New Zealand to Rarotonga, you must:
- spend the 14 full days before your date of departure in either New Zealand or the Cook Islands. This means you can travel from day 15 onwards
- during the 14-day period before travel, not have a positive COVID-19 test (or if you have, you have written advice from a health practitioner that you are no longer infectious)
- not be awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test that was undergone during the 14-day period
- complete the COOK ISLANDS CONTACT INFORMATION FORM within 24 hours of departure. Once you have completed and submitted this form, you will receive a copy of it to the email address you have provided. You must present this receipt at check-in, in order to board your flight
- meet regular immigration requirements. This means that if you usually need a visa to enter the Cook Islands, then you need one to travel quarantine-free. New Zealand citizens do not need a visa to travel to the Cook Islands
For Air New Zealand flight information and fares, visit:
All international visitors to the Cook Islands require a valid passport for the duration of their stay.
On arrival you need to complete an arrival form, which includes details of where you are staying. This is important, because the Cook Islands has a 'prior booking requirement' and you can 'technically' be sent back if you haven't booked a place to stay, at least for the first night of your visit. Additionally, you will need to show proof of a return or onward flight booking.
You will need to complete a customs form declaring food products, seeds, plants or biological material. The Cook Islands have strict quarantine rules. There's usually no problem with canned and vacuum-packed foods, but they must be declared at customs on arrival.
Visitors are given a free 31-day visitors permit upon arrival, which can later be extended as long as you can show adequate funds and an onward passage. Those wanting to stay for longer than six months must apply for a visa from their home country.
The duty free allowance into Rarotonga is 2 litres of spirits or wine, plus 200 cigarettes or 500 grams of tobacco (please check these allowances with retailers in case of a recent change).
Contact tracing in the Cook Islands is easy and accessible. There are two parts to the Cook Islands tracing system, CookSafe and CookSafe+.
All visitors and residents are encouraged to register for a CookSafe QR Card and Tag In at participating locations, and download the Cook Safe+ contact tracing app as an additional layer of protection.
If a COVID-19 case is identified, the Ministry of Health will be able to trace people who may have been exposed to the virus using the CookSafe database and via notification by CookSafe+ app users.
Departure tax is included in your outwards fare and no tax is paid at the point of departure.
No departure card is required