The Complete Guide to 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 a different driving culture. For instance, did you know it is customary to wave at everyone you pass on the roads in Niue? More seriously, Niue does have its own set of road rules and hazards across its 123 km (76 mi) road network. You’ll also want to know how to rent a car and that you need a special driver’s license to legally drive in Niue. We go through it all, including some essential road rules to know, in this guide on how to drive in Niue.
How Long Does it Take to Drive Around Niue?
It takes approximately 1 hr 30 mins to drive around Niue along the main coastal road.
Go in-depth on the driving times around the islands in Niue Travel Times & Distances: How Long Does it Take to Travel Around Niue?
What License Do You Need to Drive in Niue?
First things first, when you’re wanting to drive in Niue, you need to make sure you have a valid driver’s license.
Niue Driver’s License
Everyone in Niue needs to have a Niue Driver’s License to legally drive on Niue’s roads, including overseas visitors. These can be purchased from the Police Station (Tapeu-Porritt Road).
Take your overseas driving license, as well as card or cash for the NZ$22.50 fee to the Police Station. The station is open Monday to Thursday, from 8 am to 4 pm.
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?
Renting a Vehicle 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 approximately seven 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.
What Do You Need to Hire a Car in Niue
Drivers must meet the minimum age requirements of the car rental company, which in Niue is no younger than 21 years old. You also need to present a full valid license to rent a vehicle – not necessarily a Niue Driver’s License. Some car rental companies also require your debit/credit card details or a cash security bond.
Get a complete car rental rundown in our guide, What You Need to Hire a Car in Niue.
How to Book Car Rentals in Niue
It’s true, not many car rental companies have websites. Therefore, the best places to book car rentals in Niue are over the phone, via email or Facebook Messenger or at the Visitor Information Centre or Scenic Matavai Resort after arrival. Learn more about booking with local tourism operators in our guide, How to Book Tours & Experiences in Niue.
Where to Pick Up Rental Cars in Niue
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 then simply park 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.
What are the Rental Vehicles Like in Niue?
Rental vehicles in Niue are generally in good condition. Car rental companies keep their vehicles maintained and have roadside assistance should you run into any trouble.
There are a large number of cars to choose from in Niue, from small hatchbacks to 4WD vehicles to minibuses. Even motorcycles are available to hire, as outlined in The Guide to Renting a Motorbike in Niue. Most vehicles have an automatic transmission, while a limited few may be manual.
See the breadth of vehicles available, as well as compare all of the car rental companies and their inclusions in The 7 Best Car Rentals in Niue. Plus, get a full cost breakdown in The Cost of Renting a Car in Niue: Full Car Rental Cost Breakdown.
What are the Roads Like in Niue?
Around 123 km (76 mi) of Niue’s roads are paved. The road network is limited and easy to follow with roadsigns updated regularly. However, potholes are extremely frequent in Niue, so care needs to be taken when driving on any of Niue’s paved roads. The west side of the island is kept in slightly better condition than the east side.
Niue’s inland bush roads, as well as some roads leading to sea tracks, are either gravel or dirt roads. Most of these roads can be found on the north, east and south coasts of the island. They are typically single-file roads and can be unsuitable for rental cars. Any roads on the island that are generally unsuitable for rental cars are clearly marked on the tourist maps available at the Visitor Information Centre in Alofi.
Is it Easy to Drive in Niue?
There’s nothing too complicated about driving in Niue. As long as you can avoid a few potholes and have a good arm for waving at the locals as you pass, you’ll be sweet. Niue is an uncomplicated country to drive, with no need for traffic lights and no highways. The road rules that are in place are easy to remember, while the hazards can be counted on one hand: chickens, dogs and potholes.
The Gas Station in Niue
There is only one gas station on the island, 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 from Monday to Saturday, from 7 am to 7 pm and Sunday from 4 pm to 7 pm. A fuel station attendant will fill up your car for you. The gas station accepts cash, credit card and New Zealand bank cards – see What is the Best Way to Pay in Niue?
Learn more about Niue’s gas station in our guide to The Gas Station in Niue. Plus, for the most recent fuel prices, check out The Cost of Renting a Car in Niue: Full Car Rental Cost Breakdown.
10 Road Rules in Niue You Need to Know
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 aware of include:
- Drive on the left side of the road
- The speed limit in villages and Alofi is 40 kph
- The open road speed limit is 60 kph
- Slow down for cyclists as you approach and 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 Building in Alofi
- Do not do U-turns at any intersections or at the Parliament Buildings
- Respect the “No Parking” signs
- You must obtain a Niue Driver’s License.
And for more rules and advice concerning road safety, see the 10 Safety Tips for Driving in Niue.
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 1-5 km – NZ$75
- Speeding 6-10 km – NZ$90
- Speeding 11-15 km – NZ$105
- Speeding 15-20 km – NZ$120
- Speeding 31 km+ – NZ$300
- Failing to comply with constable – NZ$500
- Most equipment violations – NZ$50.
Driving Times in Niue
Niue has 123 km (76 mi) of paved roads; 64 km (40 mi) 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 1 hr 30 mins to 2 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 – 10 km / 6.2 mi / 15 mins
- Namukulu – Liku – 20 km / 12.4 mi / 25 mins
- Liku – Togo Chasm – 6.5 km / 4 mi / 10 mins
- Avatele – Matavai Resort – 2 km / 1.2 mi / 5 mins
- Matavai Resort – Alofi (via top road) – 8 km / 5 mi / 12 mins
- Alofi – Lakepa (cross island) – 14.5 km / 9 mi / 30 mins
- Alofi – Liku (cross island) – 15 km / 9 mi / 30 mins.
For more driving times, see The Driving Times in Niue You Need to Know.
More About How to Drive in Niue
That’s it for our complete guide on how to drive in Niue, including 10 essential road rules in Niue that you need to know. For more road trip advice, check out more of our guides:
- Niue Travel Times & Distances: How Long Does it Take to Travel Around Niue?
- 10 Ways to Save Money on Car Rental in Niue
- Niue Transport Guide: 10 Best Ways to Get Around Niue