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Driving in the Cook Islands is on the left hand side of the road - same as New Zealand and Australia.
Visitors to the Cook Islands can drive on their overseas licence for up to six months, unless the licence expires, is revoked, suspended or the driver is 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, or sit a driving test whilst in the Cook Islands. If a person wants to drive a motorcycle he or she will have to go through the Cook Islands driving licence testing system. Anyone needing to sit a test to drive a motorcycle or motorbike they must wear a crash helmet during the driving test on Rarotonga. This practical examination is conducted at Police HQ, Avarua.
Those whose licence is written in a language other than English will need an accurate translation. The driver must be 16 years of age or older and have a current and full licence.
Hiring a car or motor-cycle is highly recommended if you want to explore any of the islands at a gentle pace. From1st October 2016,it will be compulsory for scooter and motor bike drivers aged 25 and under to wear a safety helmet. It will also be compulsory for not only the driver but also passengers to wear safety helmets, if travelling at 40kph and over.
Cars, scooters and bikes can be hired around Rarotonga, including at most accommodations, in the main villages and the commercial centre of Avarua. Hirers include Polynesian Rentals, Avis, Island Car and Bike Hire, Raro Cars, Go Cook Islands, Pacific Cars, Eric Short, and Rarotonga Rentals.
On Aitutaki, vehicles can be hired from The Boat Shed, Rino's Rentals, Aquilla Rentals and Ranginui's Retreat.
Road conditions on Rarotonga may differ from your home country. Maximum speeds are 50km for vehicles other than motor cycles around Rarotonga. There are 30km speed zones in Avarua township and throughout Muri village. School zones are 20km. Maximum speeds for motor scooters and motor-bikes are 40km unless a crash helmet is worn by all occupants.
Rarotonga also provides a good bus service, with both "Clockwise" and "Anti-Clockwise" routes setting out from Cooks Corner, Avarua. The Clockwise service commences from Avarua on the hour, whilst the Anti-Clockwise service runs on the half-hour. Only the Clockwise route operates after 4:30pm Monday to Friday, on Saturdays and Sundays. Stops are generally outside hotels and main holiday villas along the main road, or you can flag down the bus-driver. The services are reliable, and a unique way of experiencing the island. Fares start from NZD$5.00 per single journey, with 10-ride concession tickets available. Purchase tickets from the drivers, and remember to take as much change as possible.