The Complete Guide to Applying for the Scooter License for Rarotonga and the Cook Islands
Want to rent a scooter in Rarotonga or one of the other islands in the Cook Islands? If you already have a motorcycle license from one of the accepted countries (see the Can You Drive in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands With an Overseas License?), you’re good to go. If, on the other hand, your overseas license isn’t licensed for motorcycles, you’ll need to apply for a Cook Islands visitor scooter license. This includes a theory and practical test. Don’t let that put you off, though! We’ll show you how to apply for a scooter license in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Visitor Scooter License in the Cook Islands
Before we dive into this complete guide to getting your scooter license in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, here are a few quick questions the internet has about getting a scooter licence.
Do You Need a License to Drive a Scooter in Rarotonga?
Yes, you need either an overseas license that enables you to ride a motorcycle/scooter in your home country or a Cook Islands visitor scooter license. More on the latter is coming up in this guide!
How Old Do You Need to Be to Drive a Moped in Rarotonga?
You need to be at least 16 years old to legally drive a moped/scooter in Rarotonga and the Cook Islands.
How Long Does it Take to Scooter Around Rarotonga?
The main road that circles Rarotonga, Ara Tapu, is 32km (20 miles) long, which takes approximately 45 to 50 minutes to drive around on a scooter if you’re travelling between 40 to 50kph (the limit is 50kph). Find out more about driving times in How Long Does it Take to Travel Around Rarotonga?.
How Do I Get a Bike License in Rarotonga?
To get a bike license in Rarotonga, you need to go to the Rarotonga Police Station in the town centre of Avarua, complete a visitor driver’s license application form and take the theory test. After you’ve passed, you will need to complete your practical test before you are issued a Cook Islands scooter license. More details on this while process are covered in this guide!
Where (and When) to Apply for a Rarotonga Scooter License
Scooter licenses must be obtained from the Rarotonga Police Station in the town centre of Avarua. The Police Station is a large building on the main road, Ara Tapu, that’s impossible to miss. It’s located between Cook’s Corner and the BCI Bank.
The driver’s license office at the Rarotonga Police Station is open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 3pm and Saturday from 9am to 12pm. You can collect, complete and submit driver’s license application forms during these hours.
There are allocated theory and practical test times, which are:
- Theory Test – From Monday to Thursday at 9am, 11am and 1pm and on Friday at 9am and 11am
- Practical Test – From Monday to Thursday at 10am and 2pm and on Friday at 10am and 1pm.
Note that times are subject to change.
Where to Apply for a Scooter License in Aitutaki
You can also acquire a scooter license in Aitutaki that allows you to drive a scooter anywhere in the Cook Islands, including Rarotonga. There are no tests required for obtaining a scooter licence in Aitutaki; just your overseas driver’s license and a NZ$2.50 fee for the paper license! Winner!
Scooter licenses in Aitutaki are available at the Aitutaki Police Station, located in Arutanga, just up the hill behind the Vodafone and BCI offices. Opening hours are from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm.
How to Complete the Scooter License Application Form
The first step of getting your scooter license for Rarotonga is completing the “Application for a Licence to Drive a Motor Vehicle – Visitors V-1“. Don’t get it confused with the application for Cook Islands residents.
What You Need for Completing the Scooter License Application Form
You need your passport (or notarised birth certificate – but you’re more likely to have your passport with you as a visitor), your overseas driver’s license, and your certified translation if the license is not in English (if applicable – see Can You Drive in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands With an Overseas License? for more details). Pens are usually supplied at the Police Station, but it doesn’t hurt to take one, just in case.
What Details are Needed for the Application Form?
For the Rarotonga scooter license application form, you will need to provide the following:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Name of accommodation in the Cook Islands
- Overseas license number (if known)
- Overseas contact details and next of kin contact.
You will also need to tick the appropriate box for the type of license you are applying for, which is the “A1” motorcycle class for an engine capacity not exceeding 125cc. You’ll then tick the appropriate boxes for the fees you’ll be paying under “cash” or “cheque”. For example, most visitors applying for a scooter license will be selecting “Visitor”, “Police Theory” and “Police Practice”.
You’ll then need to sign and date the application and hand it over at the Driver’s License desk at the Police Station, which is well signed on the righthand side of the main entrance. At the desk, your passport and overseas driver’s license will be photocopied. Then you will need to pay the appropriate fees for your theory and practical test.
How Much Does the Rarotonga Scooter License Cost?
- Theory test: NZ$10
- Practical test: NZ$10
- Card licence: NZ$20.
Note that this does not include the cost of a rental scooter and helmet, which are also required to take the test. More on that below.
Scooter Theory Test
After handing in your scooter license application form, you will be shown where to pick up your theory test to complete in a small room to the right of the main entrance. The hours of testing are from Monday to Thursday at 9am, 11am and 1pm and on Friday at 9am and 11am. Note that hours are subject to change.
The short theory test is made up of 25 multi-choice and short answer questions checking that you know the road rules. You need to get at least 23 out of 25 answers right in order to pass.
If you have any doubts, maybe take a look at How to Drive in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands + 10 Road Rules You Need to Know. Note that the advice we give in this article is general advice about driving in the Cook Islands; not official reading material for your test!
Again, the theory tests cost NZ$10. If you fail, you can re-take the test at another time and date, costing an additional NZ$10.
Scooter Practical Test
If you pass your theory test, you will be allocated a time for your practical test. Practical testing takes place from Monday to Thursday at 10am and 2pm and on Friday at 10am and 1pm. Again, note that these hours are subject to change.
For your practical test, you need a scooter and a helmet.
How to Get a Scooter for the Practical Test
This is a question many visitors have when hiring a scooter; how can you do a practical test at the Police Station with your own scooter when you’re not licensed to drive a scooter to get there?!
One option is to turn up at the Police Station “scooterless”, do your application and theory test, and then hire a scooter from one of the scooter rental companies within walking distance; Polynesian Rental Cars & Bikes is right next door. You can hire a scooter for the day and pay the refundable deposit, then return the scooter after your test if you would rather hire with another company (see Scooter Hire in Rarotonga: Where to Rent, Cost & More for ideas) or if, you know, you fail the test.
Alternatively, some scooter rental companies issue a temporary motorcycle license on pick-up, which you must take with you and ride straight to the Police Station to apply for your license.
What Does the Scooter Practical Test Involve?
Your scooter practical test takes place in an alley alongside the Police Station. There is a line of traffic cones running down the middle.
The test starts with you showing the examiner that you are confident riding a scooter; showing that you know how to put a helmet on correctly and how to start the scooter. Then you’ll ride the scooter to the “Give Way” sign at the end of an alley, use your indicators and check both sides before making a u-turn and returning up the opposite side of the traffic cones to the “Stop” sign. Finally, you’ll do the alleyway run again, this time, weaving in and out of the traffic cones without, of course, hitting any of them.
Again, practical tests cost NZ$10. If you fail, you can re-take the test at another time and date for another NZ$10 fee.
What to Do Once You Have Passed Your Scooter Test
Once you have passed your scooter practical test, you will need to go back to the driver’s license office inside the Police Station where you will hand over your practical test paperwork and pay the NZ$20 fee for printing your Cook Islands Motorcycle License!
The Conditions of Your Cook Islands Scooter License
Visitor scooter licenses are valid for 30 days from the date of issue and only allow you to drive a scooter with an engine capacity not exceeding 125cc.
More About Hiring a Scooter and Driver’s Licenses in the Cook Islands
We hope you found this guide to getting a scooter license in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and the Cook Islands useful. So useful, in fact, that you’re ready to jump to more helpful tips in the following guides about scooters and licenses:
- Scooter Hire in Rarotonga: Where to Rent, Cost & More
- Scooter Hire in Aitutaki: Where to Rent, Cost & More
- Scooter Hire in Atiu: Where to Rent, Cost & More
Finally, get more Raro road advice in the 10 Safety Tips for Driving in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands. Plus, more ways to travel around in our Cook Islands Transport Guide: 15 Best Ways to Get Around the Cook Islands.