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 the Avarua township, Muri Beach, and all school zones. All motor vehicles, including scooters and motorbikes, are limited to 50kmph around villages and the rest of the island.
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 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 during 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. Learn more about visitor licences and motorbike licences.
Travelling with children and need a car seat? Be sure to inquire with your local rental car agency. These cannot be guaranteed on arrival to Rarotonga so book in advance to avoid disappointment. You can also bring your own car seat from home.
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 30 days. If you do not have a motorcycle class on your overseas licence and want to ride a scooter click here to learn more about obtaining a visitor's motorcycle licence in Rarotonga.
All visitors 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 on our sister islands.
Taking the public bus
It is very easy to get around the island using public transport. There are two buses that circle the island of Rarotonga; Clockwise and Anti-clockwise. The buses will stop anywhere along the main road. All you have to do is 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 on 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 directly or via your hotel prior to arriving in the Cook Islands.