Driving in Cook Islands

Driving in Cook Islands

Travel is a breeze around Rarotonga, which is 32 kilometers in circumference. There are two main roads on Rarotonga, you can circle the island on the Ara Tapu sealed road, through the villages and past the beaches; or you can take the older inland road, which winds through fields of taro, pawpaw, bananas and local farmlands.

The most common form of transport around the islands is by motor scooter. Driving is on the left hand side of the road and speed limits vary between 40kph in the town and 60 kph in low populated areas.

Visitors over 16 years can drive in the Cook Islands on their current and full overseas license for up to six months, unless the license expires, is revoked, suspended or disqualified in that time.

Visitors will be allowed to drive only the class of motor vehicle they are entitled to drive in their home country. If visitors hold an overseas driving license for a car only, the license holder will only be permitted to drive a car in the Cook Islands.

However, if a visitor wants to ride a scooter or motorbike in the Cook Islands and is not licensed to do so at home, he or she will still have to obtain a Cook Islands Driving License (either Class A covering motorbikes/scooters or Class AB covering both regular vehicles and motorbikes/scooters). This involves a practical test at the Police Headquarters in Avarua and the payment of NZ$20 license fee plus NZ$5 practical fee.

Rarotonga Bus Service

There is a circle island bus running every half hour. The bus travels clockwise on the hour and anti clockwise on the half-hour.

Bus Scheldule

Daytime: Clockwise Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat 8am-1pm.
Daytime: Anti-clockwise Mon-Fri 8:25am-4:30pm, Sat 8:30am-12:30pm
Night time: Clockwise Mon-Sat 6pm,9pm and 10pm. 

Taxi's and Push bikes

Taxi service is available upon advance booking. There are no meters and rates vary substantially from one taxi to the next so it is important to establish the fare before entering the taxi.

Push bikes are also a great form of transport as the main road on Rarotonga Island is basically flat and makes for easy cyclying. It takes approximately half a day to cycle around the island.