Getting around the Cook Islands is easy! There's only one main road that circles the whole of Rarotonga with no traffic lights and just two roundabouts. We drive on the left-hand side of the road and at a relaxed speed no faster than 50kmph.

Driving in the Cook Islands

The maximum speed limit is 30kmph in Muri Beach, 40kmph in the towns and villages and 50kmph outside of populated areas. If riding a scooter, the speed limit is 40kmph.

You have to be at least 16 years or older and hold a current and valid driver’s license in order to drive in the Cook Islands. International visitors (over 16 years) can now drive in the Cook Islands for up to six months using their full overseas licence, provided it does not expire, is revoked, suspended or disqualified in that time. On an overseas licence, you will only be allowed to drive the class of motor vehicle that you are entitled to drive in your home country. The overseas licence must be in English or a certified translation provided.

Riding a scooter

If you have a motorcycle class on your overseas license, you do not need to take a test to acquire a Cook Islands Licence, you just need to pay NZ$20 at the police station, where you will be issued your visitor license. The visitors licenses are only valid for 31 days.

If you do not have a motorcycle class on your license and would like to hire a scooter during your visit, you will need to undergo a driving test at the Cook Islands Police Station in downtown Avarua. You will need to present two forms of identification when applying for your visitors license; current valid license from your home country and your passport.

All visitors on a visitor’s driver's licence must wear a safety helmet while travelling on a motorcycle in Rarotonga. This is compulsory for Rarotonga only and does not apply to visitors driving a motorcycle in the outer islands.

Taking the public bus

It is very easy to get around the island using public transport. There are two buses which circle the island of Rarotonga; Clockwise and Anti-clockwise. The buses will stop anywhere along the main road. All you have to do it smile and wave them down.

Click here for our bus timetable.


Cycling around the islands is easy as the main roads are flat. Many hotels will have bicycles available to borrow at a first come first served basis but if you would like a guaranteed bicycle or electric bike, we suggest hiring one.

Polynesian Rental Cars and Bikes have mountain bikes, beach cruisers and jumbo bikes for rent while Tik-e Tours offer e-bikes.

Organising a transfer service or taxi

Visitors can also organise an airport pick up and drop off either direct or via your hotel prior to arriving to the Cook Islands.