CRUISING YACHT GUIDE TO THE COOK ISLANDS
PORTS OF ENTRY
- Rarotonga: Avatiu Harbour - 21o 12' South, 159o 47' West
- Aitutaki: Arutanga, - 18o 51 South, 159o 49' West
- Penrhyn: Omoka 08o 51' South, 158o 03' West
- Pukapuka - 10o 50' South, 165o 50' West
- Manihiki: Tauhunu - 10o 25' South, 161o 03' West
- Manihiki: Tukao - 10o 22' South, 161o 02' West
- Atiu: Taunganui - 19o 59' South, 158o 08' West
For clearance, the captain must present the passports, clearance from the last port, crew list, as well as a general declaration and details of the yacht.
Yachts may not visit any other islands in the Cooks than those mentioned as ports of entry without permission from Customs and Immigration. At all these islands, the captain should check in with Customs and the Resident Administrator.
No person is to proceed ashore until the vessel has been cleared by Customs, Quarantine has issued a Bio Security Clearance for the vessel and Health has issued a certificate of pratique for the vessel. Heavy penalties apply for not meeting this requirement
If entering in Rarotonga a permit for up to 31 days will be given on arrival. This can be extended, on a monthly basis, up to three months maximum. Fourteen days before the permit expires one should apply for any extension. Proof of adequate funds may be requested for extensions.
In Aitutaki and other ports of entry, a 31 day permit will be given on arrival. Extensions have to be obtained in Rarotonga. If crew disembarks from the yacht, they must notify Immigration and provide evidence of a means of departure from the Cook Islands.
A list of firearms must be produced on arrival and these will be impounded until departure.
Animals have to be confined on board until eventual clearance to land by the Quarantine Officer.
Agriculture and Quarantine
Animals, plants and fruit will be inspected as the Cook Islands are free of serious diseases and pests, and their economy depends very much on agriculture. Fruit and meat may be confiscated, so it is advisable not to arrive with a lot of fresh supplies. Fortunately good local fruit is available. All vessels entering the Cook Islands require a Bio Security Clearance which will be issued by the Quarantine Inspector when he boards your vessel.
Yachts must leave the "Q" flag up until cleared by Port Health, who will visit the yacht and provide pratique.
Port dues are based on the following with the day of arrival and day of departure each counting as one day, regardless of arrival and departure time.
Monohull/Single Hull Yachts - NZD 2.30 per metre per day
Multi‐Hull Yachts - NZD 3.30 per metre per day.
Motor Yachts/Super Yachts NZD 2.60 per metre per day / NZD 0.70 per GRT
Cruise Ship NZD 0.20 per GRT per visit
Note: All prices are VAT exclusive.
NZD 71.77 per person. (EXEMPTED for children under 12)
Local time is GMT- 10.
The official currency is the New Zealand Dollar (NZD).
Business hours are 0800-1600 Monday to Friday and 0800-1200 Saturday.
Banking hours are 0900-1500 Monday to Friday and 0900-1200 Saturday.
Cruising yachts are not encouraged to remain in the islands during the cyclone season, which is from the start of November to the end of April.
All anchorages are weather dependent as are the harbours and depending on forecast weather vessels may be required to clear the harbours for their own protection.
To visit Suwarrow Atoll National Park, one should obtain permission from the resident Park Administrator(National Environment Services).
AVATIU, RAROTONGA (CHART NZ 9558)
Avatiu is the principal port in the Cook Islands. About 150 yachts call at Rarotonga each year. Beware of out-of-date guidebooks that still recommend Avarua Harbour, which has not been used since the hurricane of 1987.
Berthing instructions can be obtained from the Harbour Master who can be contacted on VHF Ch 16, or through the Coast Station Radio Rarotonga (Call sign E5R), which maintains a continuous watch on VHF Ch 16 and also on HF SSB 2182 and 4125 KHz.
Yachts should fly their quarantine flag until cleared by Port Health. Customs and Immigration formalities can be attended to at the Harbour Master's office. Documents required are:
- clearance from the last port,
- the vessel's Registration Certificate, and
- passports for all on board.
Any firearms must be declared and deposited with the Police for the duration of the vessels stay.
A permit for 31 days will be given on arrival. This can be extended up to 3 months by application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
Water is available on the wharf. Diesel fuel can be delivered. LPG bottles can be filled.
There is no slipway, but yachts up to 15 tons can be lifted out by crane, but cradles are not available.
Yachts are not encouraged to stay in the harbour during the cyclone season from start of November to end of April.
Fresh fruit and imported goods are in plentiful supply. Chandlery supplies are very limited, but can be obtained from overseas within a week if required.
- New Year's Day
- 2 January
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- ANZAC Day: 25 April
- Queens Birthday: 1st Monday in June
- Ui Ariki Day: First Friday in July
- Constitution Day: 4 August
- Gospel Day: 26 October
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day 26 December
- Vodafone Cook Islands is open 24hrs daily for long distance calls.
- Phone cards are available.
- Vodafone Cook Islands uses the GSM mobile system.
- Numerous Internet cafes are available.
- Due to COVID-19, Air travel is limited to returning Cook Islanders and Permit holders via Air New Zealand one flight to Rarotonga per week.