Planning your Holiday
Independent Review by Beautiful Pacific
Tahiti holidays are extremely popular amongst honeymoon couples lured by exotic beaches, the glamour of staying in an elegant overwater bungalow, snorkelling amongst manta rays in a turquoise lagoon and dining on some of the finest French cuisine and imported wines. But it's not just romantic couples the islands appeal to. The main island of Tahiti is popular for adventure travel, particularly hiking in Tahiti Iti where there's also world famous surfing breaks. Families have some great holiday options on Moorea where deep water Cooks Bay offers great sightseeing and Hauru Beach has an abundance of water activities including a Dolphin Quest. Despite these appeals, the majority of holiday-makers arrive on a honeymoon, spend a night or two around Papeete and then head off to stunning Bora Bora to be pampered.
The high season for tourism in French Polynesia is in July / August when French nationals arrive from Europe on their long summer holidays and coinciding with the Australian winter months when the warm tropics beckon. During these months, and also in December, rooms at the more popular resorts and regions can often be booked out well in advance.
What to do on Holiday in French Polynesia
There are some excellent sightseeing tours around Tahiti and Moorea taking in the wonderful coastal scenery as well as some interesting archaeological sites in the rainforest. Both islands have lush tropical forests with hiking trails to waterfalls and lookouts with Tahiti Iti being especially popular with hikers. Bora Bora is best experienced on a scenic helicopter flight although there is a good hike to WWII guns perched on a hilltop and offering magnificent views of the lagoon.
There are a couple of noteworthy museums to enjoy on Papeete with the Paul Gauguin museum on the south coast giving a real insight into the islands colonial era. There's a decent golf course also on the south coast, and another on Moorea Island landscaped around a lagoon and with plenty of water hazards. If you're into shopping, head to Papeete and call in at the local Papeete market where local produce, handicrafts, colourful sarongs and perfumes vie for your attention.
Gorgeous, rare black pearls are one of the reasons many people come to French Polynesia; they are simply fabulous, and quality varies so be careful when spending your money; a cheap black pearl can be as little a s a few dollars – but for the most perfect specimens the sky's the limit on value. Created only by the giant, black-lipped oyster in sheltered warm water lagoons, the rare Polynesian black pearl varies in colour from silver through dark grey with green and pink highlights. To see how it's done, schedule a visit to a pearl farms on the island of Tahaa or on one of the low islands in the Tuamotu Group.
For water enthusiasts, Hauru Beach on Moorea has excellent surfing and kite surfing, whilst surfers stay on the main island of Tahiti for breaks off the south coast and west coast where famous Teahupoo is located. There are plenty of day cruises and snorkelling tours around the lagoon on Bora Bora as well as good scuba diving reefs. Scuba diving enthusiasts also rave about fast moving passages in the lagoon atolls of the Tuamotu Group where sharks are in abundance.
Tahiti Tourist Information
Getting to Tahiti is relatively straightforward with direct flights from Los Angeles (connecting on to France and Europe), Auckland, Sydney and several Japanese cities. The international airport is located at Faa'a a few kilometres south of Papeete Town on the main island of Tahiti.