Juliane Lykke Jensen - “My Mid Semester Break - Rarotonga, Cook Islands”


Juliane Lykke Jensen

Juliane has left her native Denmark to study at the University of Otago in New Zealand.  When she’s not studying she loves adventures,  socialising and baking healthy treats.  

First of all I need to say that you don’t have to travel outside of New Zealand when you just have arrived. Seriously, this country has everything! But the houses can be cold during winter and you can get tired of the freezing nights and mornings. The fact is that I left Denmark in the very beginning of summer. I missed a very warm summer and “returned back to winter time in New Zealand in July. Now I really miss the sun, summer and warm weather. These things combined ended up with a spontaneous booking of flights to a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean called Rarotonga where we could escape the winter for a while. Though it actually was winter in the island the temperature was around 25 degrees and the water temperature should be around 22!! Yes I know, it sounds amazing and so it was.


“… a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean …”

We left Dunedin driving with a random guy we found on the internet (meaning we spent $20 each for the ride) and went to Christchurch where we slept over at our flatmate Amy’s. Very early Friday morning we had to catch a flight to Auckland. In Auckland you can expect to wait for many hours if you have booked cheap flight tickets… But Auckland isn’t that bad actually. You can go to the city if you have a lot of time but we had “only” 7 hours to spend around the airport. Nearby we found a Countdown and some cafes where we could get cheap lunch (compared to the airport) and nice coffee. In the evening we left Auckland and arrived on Rarotonga at about 2 o’clock in the morning. The owner of the hostel we had booked a room at picked us up and drove us to the hostel. On Rarotonga two hostels are available and of course a lot of resorts. But we felt like cheap accommodation and why pay a lot for a hotel room you won’t be sitting in all day anyway because of the sunny and warm weather?

We travelled around the island by hitchhiking but it is also possible to take the bus which drives around the island all day both clockwise and anticlockwise. But people on the island are very relaxed about hitchhikers and it is easy to get a ride. On Saturdays there is a market in town (the only “town” on the island located on the north side) where the locals sell food, fruit and souvenirs. The market is very nice, the atmosphere is relaxed and there are a lot of different and interesting smells all over. In town there are few different shops or super markets and we got very surprised about the expensive prices. Everything is expensive but if you buy fruit from the locals you can save some money.


“… the locals sell food, fruit and souvenirs.”

On the island it is possible to find fruit yourself though. One of the first days we found a lot of bananas and pawpaw / papayas were also common. Coconuts are all over and we learned how to find the good one, how to open it, how the milk was possible to drink or use for cooking and how amazing the coconut is inside for snacking! We already felt it was like paradise that you just can pick up the fruit you want to but the locals told us that the season during winter was a poor period compared to the tropical fruits the summer provides.