Interisland Shipping Companies

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Two shipping companies provide inter-island passenger and cargo services for the Cooks; both travel from Rarotonga to all of the populated islands. Both companies are based at Rarotonga's Avatiu Harbour. Both companies offer information, schedules and booking services. Mataroa Shipping 29018; [email protected] .ck) Sometimes travels within the Cooks, but mainly brings freight from New Zealand to Rarotonga and Altutaki. The office is inside a large building straight ahead as you approach Avatiu Wharf.

Taio Shipping (@ 24905, 24912; [email protected]) The main Inter-island shipping company in the Cooks, with regular schedules between all the major outer islands and Rarotonga. The office Is near Punanga Nui Market, on your right as you arrive at Avatiu Wharf.

There's only limited cabin space and some ships have no cabins at all. You can bring your own food or pay for it beforehand. Showers and toilets are available to all passengers.

It takes approximately a day for ships to get from Rarotonga to any of the other Southern Group islands. Each island you visit costs NZ$65; the Rarotonga-Mangaia-Ma'uke-Mitiaro-'Atiu-Rarotonga round trip takes about four days (NZ$260). The ships rarely travel to Aitutaki. It takes about 3'/i days for ships to get to the Northern Group islands; there's a regular monthly service that does the Rarotonga-Manihiki-Rakahanga-Penrhyn-Rarotonga route and takes about 10 to 12 days (the cost is NZ$700 to NZ$900 return).

The private research vessel Bounty Bay, based on Rarotonga, often runs exploration and eco -trips around many of the more remote islands of the Cooks, including Takutea and Manuae - see p70.

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