KIA ORANA AND GREETINGS TO ALL TRAVELLERS TO THE COOK ISLANDS!
HERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT REMINDERS FOR ALL VISITORS
A valid passport and a return ticket will allow you a stay of up to 31 days. Extensions may be granted on a monthly basis, for up to a maximum of 5 months. New Zealand citizens automatically qualify for a 90 day stay. For extensions apply 2 weeks before your permit expires.
No duty is levied on clothing or personal effects (including sports equipment). A reminder that in addition each visitor may bring the following items free of duty into the Cook Islands- Alcohol; 2 litres mixture/or not of spirits, wine and liqueur, OR 4.5 litres of beer. Tobacco; 200 cigarettes, or 250 grams of tobacco, or 50 cigars, or a mixture of not more than 250 grams in total. Goods in excess of NZ$750 are liable for duty. Any food items must be declared on arrival.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Free phone 999 for medical services and other emergencies including the Police and Fire Service. Be aware of your own safety and security especially when enjoying our outdoor adventures. We encourage you to explore our forests and lagoons but ask your hosts or other locals first, before swimming or boating at a beach with a reef passage or undertaking a trek or hike. Look out for safety signs and keep valuables safe at all times.
Vehicles are driven on the left hand side of the road. The motor scooter speed limit is 40kmph if not wearing a safety helmet however safety helmets are highly recommended for both drivers and passengers.
The maximum road speed is 40kmph in town and villages and 50kmph outside of built up areas. Special 20kmph zones are in place around schools during school times, and 30kmph zones are in place in Avarua and Muri. It is a serious criminal offence to drive while under the influence of alcohol, Drivers of all types of vehicles are required to have either a current international license or a Cook Islands drivers license which can be obtained from the Police station in downtown Avarua at a cost of $20 annually.
CURRENCY AND BANKING
The Cook Islands unit of currency is the New Zealand Dollar, supplemented by unique local coins and notes. On Rarotonga banks and money exchange are located in Avarua and are generally open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm. ATMs are conveniently located around Rarotonga including one at the international airport AFTER you clear customs, EFTPOS and credit card facilities are available at most retail outlets, restaurants and businesses.
Westpac and ANZ banks in downtown Avarua are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm. ANZ extends its closing time on Fridays to 4pm whilst Westpac opens from 9am–12pm on Saturdays. ATM’s are conveniently located around Rarotonga including one at the International Airport arrivals area and EFTPOS is available at some hotels and stores. Aitutaki also has ATM facilities. Western Union has an office in Avarua offering money exchange and transfers.
Although the dress code is informal, we do ask that brief attire not be worn when visiting town, churches or villages. Nude or topless sunbathing will cause offence.
Internet access is available in most accommodation facilities or visit a nearby internet cafe. Blue Sky Cook Islands is the local telecommunications company providing internet, international calling, postal and mobile services. Visit their nearest outlet store for service and sales.
Mail is available from the Post Office, which opens Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. Colourful Cook Islands stamps make distinctive impressions on any mail and are keenly sought by philatelic enthusiasts. Telepost is located at the CITC shopping complex in Avarua and is open week days plus Saturday mornings for postal and internet services. International telephone, mobile telephone, facsimile and internet services are available through Telecom Cook Islands.
Several internet café’s are located on Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Wi-Fi is available at key locations.
LOCAL AIR TRANSPORT
Air Rarotonga operates regular services to the Southern Group islands, including Aitutaki. One day lagoon cruise excursions to Aitutaki are also available. Services to the Northern Group islands are infrequent, so check with Air Rarotonga well before you plan to go. Charter flights can be arranged, with in-flight catering and experienced tour guides if required. For further details contact your nearest travel agent or visit www.airraro.com
Medical and dental services are available and there is a well equipped hospital with New Zealand trained staff situated in Rarotonga, with a smaller hospital in Aitutaki. There are no poisonous animals or insects in the Cook Islands.
The Cook Islands enjoy a pleasantly warm and sunny climate all year round. June to August are the cooler months, whilst November to March marks the warmer season, with occasional tropical showers expected. The drier months from April to November have an average temperature of about 26°C, whilst the warmer more humid and damp season runs from December to March. During this season the temperature ranges between 22°C (min) and 31°C(max). The table at below indicates the prevalence of sunshine and even temperatures. Severe weather is rare and infrequent.
Cook Islands Maori is the local language but everyone also speaks English. Here are a few local words you might like to try during your visit: Kia Orana Hello Aere ra Goodbye Meitaki Thank you ae yes kare no tane man vaine woman manea pretty / handsome mataora happy kai food teia ra today apopo tomorrow ra sun marama moon