What You Need to Know About Driving in Niue
We’re sure if you’re looking at this article, you know how to drive. However, a new country presents new road rules, new road hazards and different driving culture. For instance, did you know it is customary to wave at everyone you pass on the roads in Niue? Niue does have its own set of road rules and hazards across its 123km (76 miles) road network. You’ll also want to know how to rent a car and that you need a special driver’s license to drive in Niue. We go through it all in this guide on how to drive in Niue.
Safety Tips for Driving in Niue
Is Niue a safe country to drive in? Mostly yes, but you do need to approach driving with some caution and follow the rules of the road in Niue. Some tips include:
- Watch out for dogs and chickens on the road
- Don’t park under coconut trees
- Mind the potholes, especially in bright sunlight and after heavy rain
- Stick to the speed limits
- Wear a helmet if driving a motorbike
- Don’t attempt to drive down dirt roads after heavy rain
- Wear a seatbelt
For more information on each, as well as more safety tips, see the 10 Safety Tips for Driving in Niue.
Get a Niue Driver’s License
The first thing you need to know about driving in Niue is that you need to have a Niue Driver’s License to legally drive on Niue’s roads. These can be purchased from the Police Station in Alofi.
Take your overseas driving license, as well as NZ$22.50 payment to the Police Station. The station is open Monday to Thursday, from 8am to 4pm.
Note that you can drive in Niue on your overseas driving license until you get a Niue Driver’s License.
For more advice on obtaining a Niue Driver’s License, see How to Get a Niue Driver’s License. Plus, see what type of license you need to present to get the Niue Driver’s License in Can You Drive in Niue With an Overseas License?
Car Rental in Niue
The next thing you’re going to need in order to drive in Niue is a rental car… But you already guessed that. There are five car rental companies in Niue offering a range of rental cars for all group sizes and budgets. Many of the accommodations on the island also offer car hire either as an inclusion or for an additional fee.
Most of Niue’s car rental companies offer airport pick-up and drop-off, where you just need to go to the appropriate kiosk on arrival at Hanan Airport and simply park up the car at the airport on departure. Otherwise, cars and be picked up/dropped off at the island’s car rental depots, while some rental companies offer pick-up/drop-0ff anywhere on the island.
Many car rental companies in Niue have standard insurance included in the rental, sometimes with the options to upgrade for a lower excess.
For more car rental advice, see The Guide to Car Hire in Niue.
Road Rules in Niue
Of obvious importance is knowing the road rules in Niue. Even if you’re from New Zealand, the road rules and hazards are going to be a little different to what you are used to. Some road rules to be away or include:
- Drive on the left side of the road
- The speed limit in villages and Alofi is 40km/h
- The open road speed limit is 60km/h
- Slow down for cyclists as you approach, give plenty of room when it is safe to overtake
- Motorcycle helmets are compulsory
- Stop at stop signs
- Don’t park on the yellow lines or Parliament buildings in Alofi
- Do not do u-turns at intersections or at the Parliament buildings.
For more information on each of these road rules, see the 10 Road Rules for Niue You Need to Know.
Traffic Fines in Niue
As of 2020, minor traffic violations are treated as infringements of the law, rather than a criminal offence. Therefore, if you violate Niue’s traffic laws, you have the option to either pay a fine within 15 days of the Infringement Notice given or to go to court. Common traffic fines that you can receive in Niue include:
- Driving without a license – NZ$150
- Failing to produce a license – NZ$75
- Failing to give way – NZ$75
- Dangerous riding in a vehicle – NZ$75
- Failing to wear a helmet – NZ$75
- Speeding 1-5km – NZ$75
- Speeding 6-10km – NZ$90
- Speeding 11-15km – NZ$105
- Speeding 15-20km – NZ$120
- Speeding 31km+ – NZ$300
- Failing to comply with constable – NZ$500
- Most equipment violations – NZ$50
The Gas Station in Niue
There is only one gas station in Niue, which is essential to know about for driving in Niue. Even if you don’t use all of your fuel in the rental car, you still need to fill up the gas tank before returning the car rental.
The gas station in Niue is called Central Services and is located in Alofi South. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday, from 7am to 8pm and Sunday from 4pm to 8pm. A fuel station attendant will fill up your car for you. They only accept cash and New Zealand bank cards.
Learn more about Niue’s gas station in The Gas Station in Niue.
Driving Times in Niue
Niue has 123km (76 miles) of paved roads, 64km (40 miles) of this is a road circling the island and is the most popular road for visitors to explore. There are also roads crossing the island, making it possible to cross the island in about 30 minutes. It takes approximately two hours to drive around the whole island if driving at a slow pace (due to the potholes and low speed limits).
Driving times for popular routes in Niue include:
- Alofi – Namukulu – 10km / 6.2m / 15min
- Namukulu – Liku – 20km / 12.4m / 25min
- Liku – Togo Chasm – 6.5km / 4m / 10min
- Avatele – Matavai Resort – 2km / 1.2m / 5min
- Matavai Resort – Alofi (via top road) – 8km / 5m / 12min
- Alofi – Lakepa (cross island) – 14.5km / 9m / 30 min
- Alofi – Liku (cross island) – 15km / 9m / 30 min
For more driving times, see The Driving Times in Niue You Need to Know.