Cook Islands Traveller Tips

Accommodation
All types of accommodation are available throughout the Cook Islands.
Note: Camping is not permitted in the Cook Islands.

Airport
The Rarotongan International Airport is located on the main island Rarotonga, 4.5km from Avarua. For international transport to the Cook Islands: 
Air New Zealand - For reconfirmation of flights, phone (682) 26 300.  
Pacific Blue - For reconfirmation of flights, phone (682) 24 040. 
Air Tahiti - For reconfirmation of flights (booked through Air Raro only), phone (682) 22 888.

Attractions
For attractions in the Cook Islands, check our list of things to see and do in the Cook Islands.

Banking

ANZ
Avarua, Rarotonga, phone (682) 21 750 or email anzcooks@anz.com
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday, 9am-3pm; Friday, 9am-4pm.
ATM services available and located at the main branch in Avarua, Cooks Corner Bus Stop in Avarua, Foodland Supermarket in Avarua, Vonnia's General Store in Arorangi, The Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa in Aroa, Wigmore's Superstore in Vaimaanga and Six Eleven Store in Muri. Amuri, Aitutaki, phone (682) 31 750 or email anzcooks@anz.com
Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday, 9am-3pm; Friday, 9am-4pm.
ANZ is located in Amuri in front of Mango Trading Store.
ATM services available and located at the branch in Aitutaki.
ANZ is also represented by agencies located in Atiu, Manihiki, Mangaia and Mauke.
 
Westpac
Avarua, Rarotonga, phone (682) 22 014, email westpaccookislands@westpac.com.au or visit our website on www.westpac.co.ck. Monday to Friday 9am-3pm; Saturday 9am-12 noon.

Agencies

Arutanga, Aitutaki, phone (682) 31 714. Monday and Friday 9am-3pm. Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, 10am-2pm. 
Atiu Agency (located at Central Store in Teenui) Monday to Friday, 8am-3pm.

ATMs
ATMs are available at the following sites: Main branch in Avarua, Rarotonga International Airport, Oasis Service Station in Nikao, JMC Store at Muri Beach, The Edgewater Resort & Spa in Arorangi and Super Brown Store in Tupapa, Arutanga in Aitutaki.

Departure Tax Sales sold exclusively by Westpac and available at:

  • Main Branch Avarua, Rarotonga
  • International Airport Agency

Bank of Cook Islands
The Bank of the Cook Islands (BCI) is known locally as the ‘Peoples Bank’.
Phone (682) 29 341, fax (682) 29 343, email cash@bci.co.ck
The main branch is situated in Rarotonga, next door to the National Police Headquarters.
Business hours 9am-3pm Monday to Friday.
BCI has a branch network throughout the outer islands at Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Manihiki (2), Mauke, Mitiaro, Penrhyn, Pukapuka and Rakahanga. 

Western Union
Avarua, Rarotonga, phone 682 29 907 or email westernu@union.co.ck
Monday to Friday 8.30am-4.30pm Saturday, 8.30am-12.30pm.
Branches in Aitutaki, Manihiki, Penrhyn, Atiu, Mauke, Mangaia, Mitiaro, Pukapuka and Rakahanga. Foreign exchange services are provided by Globalex Foreign Exchange.

Climate
Warmth and sunshine can be enjoyed year round in the Cook Islands. 
May to October, dry and cooler season, 22ºC-24ºC average temperature.
November to April, wet and warmer season, 24ºC-26ºC average temperature.
For more information call the Meteorological Centre, phone (682) 20 603 or email ops1@oyster.net.ck 

Clubs and Services Phone (682)     Email     
CISNOC the Olympic Body             24 095 tjoseph@cisnoc.org.ck
CI Breast Cancer Foundation 26 072 dawn@baudinet.co.ck  
CI Business & Professional  Women’s Association  (CIBPW)  23 840    
CI National Council of Women (CINCW) 29 418 cincw@oyster.net.ck
Disabled Association  25 537 mamatuki@oyster.net.ck 
Football Association  28 980 cifa@cisoccer.org.ck
French Club  20 458 francenz1@xtra.co.nz
Fitness Cook Islands gym  25 022 fitnesscookislands@oyster.net.ck 
Game Fishing Club  21 419   
Golf Club  20 621  golf@rarogolf.co.ck
Handball 29 818 cihandball@yahoo.com
Ipukarea Society  21 144  2tis@oyster.net.ck 
National Library  20 725  culture1@oyster.net.ck 
Paddling Association   22 226   
Pan Pacific South East Asia Women’s Association (PPSEAWA)  56 490 cazkam@oyster.net.ck 
Rarotonga Bowling Club  26 277   
Rotary Club  24979  mike@thecomputerman.co.ck
RSA  20 590 cirsa@oyster.co.ck
Rugby Union Association  25 854  cirugby@cirfu.org.ck  
Sailing Club 55-289  jandp@oyster.co.ck 
Squash Club  21 056  grant@cooksteel.co.ck 
Topshape Gym  21 254  topshape@oyster.net.ck 
Tennis Association  74 072  nlsamuel@oyster.net.ck 
Virtues CI 55 288  virtues@oyster.net.ck
Voyaging Society   23 779  tangaroa@oyster.net.ck 
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) 25 901 mmatepi@wwfcooks.org.ck
               
Communications

  • When phoning Cook Islands from other countries dial 682 then the number.
  • Telecom Cook Islands, phone (682) 29 680, www.telecom.co.ck, www.oyster.net.ck
  • Cyber cafés and hotspots are located in Avarua and around the island for internet and email services
  • A range of phone & Wifi cards, plus fax services are also available at Telecom throughout the Cook Islands.
  • Postal services at Cook Islands Post Office and Telepost in Avarua, Rarotonga; Monday to Friday 8am-4pm, Telepost also opens Saturday 8am-12pm. Airmail goes out daily except Saturday and Sundays. Telepost also provides an international courier service, fast fax and email service.
  • Philatelic Bureau in Avarua, Rarotonga for stamp and coin collectors, phone
    682 29 336.
  • Blue mailboxes for posting letters are placed throughout Rarotonga.
  • DHL courier services are available at Rarotonga Airport
  • Cook Islands Television (CITV) telecasts local and imported shows throughout the week in both English and Cook Islands Maori.
  • The AM and FM radio stations (one on each band) offer a mix of music, talk and international news from Australia and New Zealand. Frequencies are AM 630Khz and FM 105.5Khz, FM 101 Khz and FM 88Khz. 

Consulate Offices 
New Zealand 22 201 nzhcraro@oyster.net.ck
British 23 437 mitchell@oyster.net.ck
French  22 424 cassey@eggelton.co.ck
German    24 567   law@browneharvey.co.ck

Counselling & Support Services                                         Phone (682)
Te Kainga – Mental Health/Family Wellbeing                              20 162/50 633
Are Pa Taunga (Mental Health) – Ministry of Health                    52 433
Punanga Tauturu – Domestic Violence                                      21 133/55 134
Putuputuanga Tauturu Taeake (PTT) –  Alcohol Support Group    56 600 
Help Inc – Suicide Line                                                            52 433

Currency

The New Zealand dollar, $NZ

Departure Tax
Adult $55 Child (age 2 to 12 years) $15 Infant (under 2 years) Exempt
Departure tax can be purchased from the Westpac Bank at the International Arrivals Terminal (open for all international flights) or at the Westpac Bank in main town Avarua.

Domestic Transport
Air Rarotonga, phone (682) 22 888, email bookings@airraro.co.ck, offers services to the northern and southern groups of islands. On Rarotonga, bus services run around the island seven days a week departing Avarua from Cooks Corner Depot. Rental cars, motor scooters and bicycles can be hired. Taxis are generally available from 6am till 12pm, and cost about NZ$4 per/km.

Dress

  • Informal, cool and comfortable.
  • Brief attire is not acceptable in town or villages. Nude or topless sunbathing PROHIBITED.
  • A respectable standard of dress is required for church services.

Electricity
240 volts AC Hz/ 50 cycle.
Visitors from North America, United Kingdom and Europe will need adaptor plugs suited for New Zealand to use dual-voltage appliances, such as hair dryers.
For more information, you can contact Te Aponga Uira, phone (682) 20 054, email info@electricity.co.ck

Entry Requirements

  • An entry permit is NOT required by persons who are entering the Cook Islands as bona-fide visitors. If a person is travelling to the Cook Islands via Australia, French Polynesia, New Zealand, or the United States of America, they must ensure that they hold valid transit visas for these countries.
  • A bona-fide visitor (any person who enters the Cook Islands for recreation or vacation/holiday), is exempted from requiring an entry permit for a stay of not  more than 31 days. It also applies to any person who enters the Cook Islands for the purpose of exploring investment opportunities. Those intending to attend business meetings, conferences, exhibitions and sports activities, including tournaments may also travel as bona-fide visitors. An extension beyond 31 days is however available only to those undertaking holiday or recreation.
  • All visitors are required to have a valid passport, proof of onward passage and adequate financial means of supporting their stay. New Zealand citizens are not required to have proof of onward passage.
  • Visitors who are intending to join a tourist boat or a yacht to travel outside of the Cook Islands must apply for permission to enter the Cook Islands via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) – see contact details below.
  • Bona-fide visitors may extend their stay beyond 31 days by making an application at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) in Avarua, Rarotonga.
  • Extensions of stay may be granted on application on a monthly basis for up to a maximum stay of 6 months. 
  • A fee is payable with each application and must be made within 3 working days prior to the expiration of the authorised period of stay. The fee is NZ$70 each for persons 15 years and older. While children under 15 years of age are exempt from the fee they must be included in a parent's or guardian’s application.
  • Holders of passports valid for less than six (6) months days beyond the intended period of stay must seek authority to travel to the Cook Islands from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration, Rarotonga.
  • For queries on entry requirements, phone (682) 29 347 or email admin@mfai.gov.ck or admin@immigration.gov.ck

Libraries & Museums
There are two public libraries and museums on the island and they are both within walking distance of each other. All visitors are allowed to borrow books but would have to pay a deposit that is refundable when they return the books before leaving the island.

Cook Islands Library and Museum Society & USP
Cook Islands Library and Museum Society is an incorporated society run largely by volunteers, which has combined resources with the University of the South Pacific.
Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9am-1pm; Evenings Tuesday, 4-7pm; Saturday, 9am-1pm.
There is a wide selection of children and adults fiction and non-fiction, as well as academic books. New books arrive every week.
Visitors pay a fee of $25 and $10 is refundable upon return of the books.

The Museum has the most extensive collection in the Cook Islands. Entrance fee: $3 adults; $1.50 for children aged 12 yrs and under. For more information, phone (682) 26 468, email librarymuseum@cookislands.org.ck

The National Library and Museum
Library: Opening hours: Monday and Wednesday, 9am-8pm; Tues/Thurs/Fri, 9am-4pm.
School Holidays, Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm.
Library Membership: School students (primary and secondary), free of charge. Adults $10 per annum. Visitors $10 fee and $20 deposit (refundable). For more information, phone
(682) 20 725, culture1@oyster.net.ck or website@oyster.net.ck

Museum: Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm. Fee: by donation only. For more information, phone (682) 20 725, email museum@culture.gov.ck

Geographical Location
Tropic of Capricorn, latitude from 9º to 22º

Language
Cook Islands Maori and English.

Local Newspapers
Cook Islands News, phone (682) 22 999, fax 25 303, email editor@cookislandsnews.com
Daily information on local events, tide times, weather, foreign exchange and more. 
Weekly issues of The Cook Islands Herald, Times and Independent are also available, as well as weekly issues of the New Zealand Herald. 
Cook Islands Herald, Independent and Times, phone (682) 29 460, email bestread@ciherald.co.ck

Local Time
10 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Medical & Dental Services

  • Medical and dental services are available 24 hours a day.
  • There are no poisonous animals or insects in the Cook Islands, although mosquito repellent is advisable.
  • Rarotonga Hospital, phone (682) 22 664 or (682) 20 065, email aremaki@oyster.net.ck
  • Dental Services Tupapa, (682) 29 312, email aremaki@oyster.co.ck 

Population
19,569 - about half of the population live on the island of Rarotonga.
For more information, see website www.stats.gov.ck

Public Toilets

Toilet tissue not provided, so carry your own supplies.
Located in:

Avarua      Punanganui Market; Cooks Corner shopping mall and bus depot; and opposite the Police   Station. 
Nikao Social Centre opposite the golf club near Black Rock. 
Panama Before the airport from town, next to the cemetery.
           

Roads in the Cook Islands

  •  Drive on the left side of the road.
  • If you are on a motorbike or scooter, the maximum speed is 40km/h without a safety helmet. It is compulsory to wear a safety helmet if travelling between speeds of 40km/h to 50 km/h. For all other vehicles, the maximum speed limit is 50 km/h. If you drive in excess of the prescribed speed limit you will be automatically fined.
  • A Cook Islands driver's license must be obtained from police headquarters in Avarua for $20.
  • A practical test is required for all and intending motorbike drivers who do not have a current overseas motor scooter licence. This is an additional cost of $5. Phone (682) 22 499, email mtetava@police.gov.ck
  • When walking, cycling, riding motor cycles or driving around the island
    – single file please.

Safety
The Cook Islands are safe but, as with anywhere else in the world, never leave your personal belongings unattended and ensure your accommodation and means of transport is locked at all times.

Taxes & Tipping
All taxes are included in prices. Tipping is contrary to Cook Islands Custom, however if you feel the service was exceptional, like any other country in the world, we appreciate your acknowledgement.

Transport within Rarotonga

  • Rental cars, vans, 4WD, scooters and motorbikes.
  • Circle island bus service.
  • Taxi services.

Travel Agents

Jetsave Travel 
Phone (682) 27 707
Email jetsave@cooks.co.ck 

Matina Travel
phone (682) 21 780, Fax (682) 24 780
E-mail sale@matinatravel.co.ck

Cook Islands Holidays.com 
Phone (682) 21 530 
Email askunclejeff@cookislandsholidays.co.ck 

Tipani Tours
Phone (682) 25 266
Email tours@tipani.co.ck

Island Hopper Vacations 
Phone (682) 22 026
Email vacation@islandhopper.co.ck

Treks
Visitors to the Cook Islands should not attempt treks or tramps alone.
Please book all walks with an accredited guide, as track conditions can be dangerous.

Visitor Information
 

  • The Cook Islands Visitor Information Centre is located in Avarua next to the ANZ Bank and is open Monday to Friday 8am-4pm and Saturdays 9am-12noon, email tourism@cookislands.gov.ck, www.cookislands.travel
  • The Aitutaki Visitor Information Centre is located in Arutanga across the road from the Post office.
  • The Oronga Market Visitor Centre is open Monday to Friday, 8am-4pm.

Water
We encourage all our visitors to boil water before use. Most hotels have water filter systems. Bottled water is readily available from local shops.