The minimum age for driving in the Cook Islands is 16. You are able to drive the class of motor vehicle that you are entitled to drive in your home country, remember to bring a copy of your licence with you. If you wish to drive a scooter, you will need to have a motor cycle class on your licence. If not, this can be obtained from the police station after completing a short test. Please note that you need to present two forms of ID when applying for your visitor’s license; current valid license from your home country and your passport, both must either be in English, or you must provide a certified translation. Please also note that driving is on the left hand side of the road, and it is compulsory for all foreign drivers to wear a helmet when on a scooter in Rarotonga.
Cook Islands’ time is GMT-10 hours, which is the same time zone as Hawaii.
The Cook Islands are located right in the heart of the South Pacific Ocean and as such, we enjoy a tropical climate all year round making them an ideal place for holiday makers. The summer months of November to April enjoy a hot climate where temperatures reach 26-30°C whilst the cooler months of May to October will reach temperatures of between 22-27°C. Whilst there are slight variances in the temperatures and rainfall between each of the Cook Islands, the averages tend to be about the same.
Keep it casual. Light clothing is the best, please also be considerate of the local culture and standards while at the beach – nudity is not accepted and will be frowned upon. If you are travelling during the winter months, it would be recommended to bring along a light rain jacket just in case. If you are planning to attend a church service, more modest attire will be required.
Power in the Cook Islands is the same as in Australia or New Zealand, the power sockets are of type I. The standard voltage is 240 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. If required, it is recommended to purchase a converter prior to arrival.
While tipping is not customary in the Cook Islands, gratuities will be welcomed should you feel you have received exemplary service.
Currently, Jetstar, Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti and Virgin Australia operate flights to and from the Cook Islands, while all domestic flights are supplied by local airline Air Rarotonga. Please note that Aitutaki is only a short 40 minute flight from Rarotonga.
Currency & Banking
The local currency in the Cook Islands is the New Zealand dollar, which is also supplemented by Cook Islands $1.00, $2.00 and $5.00 coins. It is recommended to arrive with a supply of New Zealand cash, especially if you are arriving over the weekend. Credit cards are widely accepted and there are ATM machines around the island, however there are some outlets and most market stalls that only accept cash payments.
There are several banking establishments in Avarua Town Centre. Opening hours are Monday – Friday 9:00am – 3:00pm and Saturdays from 9:00am to 12:00pm.
As there is only one main road around the island, public bus system is very easy to use. There is simply one going clock wise, and one and anti clock wise. Tickets are available on board, including a 10 ride pass for a discounted rate. Taxis are available and it is recommended that you pre-book.
Being in the tropics, it is a given that we share this beautiful island with some smaller friends. Please rest assured that majority of the animals or insects on the island are more friendly than harmful. The little local moko (gecko) may make an odd appearance, and if you hear a tapping sound on the wall, this will be them saying Kia Orana! They are harmless and actually very helpful in eliminating other insects like mosquitoes!
There is a range of health services in Rarotonga, including private doctors, a well equipped hospital and emergency services and in Aitutaki, there is a small hospital. Visitors are expected to cover the charge of any treatment required, so it is strongly recommended you purchase travel insurance prior to travel. Please also ensure to pack any prescriptions and your favorite insect repellant. When purchasing sunscreen, please consider the environment and select oxybenzone free products in order to help protect the beautiful coral reef and lagoon.
Telecommunications in the Cook Islands is operated by Bluesky, which has four outlets located around Rarotonga. Here you can purchase a local sim cards, Wi-Fi vouchers and calling cards. Should you wish to use roaming, please check with your service provider.