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French Polynesia

Moorea (Society Islands)

Less than 10 minutes away from Tahiti by air (every 1/2 hour) or less than one hour by ferry are the deep, spectacular bays and white sand beaches of Moorea. The craggy volcanic peaks, reflected in the tranquil waters of Cook's Bay and Oponohu Bay, rise like a shark's jaw from the island's basaltic base. The lush mountain slopes are covered with rain forest or pineapple plantations, and white sand beaches border crystalline lagoons.

Upon your arrival at the ferry terminal or at the small airport you can rent a car or a scooter , or take the local public transport, the "truck" to take you to your destination (most hotels have pick-up).

Only 40 miles around on a well paved road along the shore, this dramatic and lush island can easily be circled by car, scooter or on bicycle for the more physically inclined.

You can also enjoy horseback riding along the beach or the interior, hikes to hidden waterfalls or visit the Belvedere's very spectacular scenic view point ( take a look at the QTVR panorama ).

For a truly spectacular Tahitian Show, the best anywhere in Polynesia, go to the Tiki Village where you will enjoy a memorable lagoon-side dinner and spectacular show. The owner, Olivier Briac has also made this unique Tahitian environment famous for his spectacular Royal Tahitian Weddings which have been a favorite of movie stars such as Dustin Hoffman as well as the international jet-set.

There is no town to speak-of on Moorea, but you will find a few areas along the road with clusters of shops selling miscellenious goods, local crafts and colorful hand printed fabrics (pareos).

Like all Polynesian islands, Moorea is enriched by folklore.  Legend has it that a golden skinned lizard abandoned by its human parents, became stranded on the reef of Emeho as it swam after them. The merciful gods turned it into the island of Moorea (which means 'golden lizard') one of the true jewels of French Polynesia.

Although it is only 17km from Tahiti and regarded as her sister island, Moorea maintains its natural beauty and tranquility. Indeed it is often compared to James Mitchener's mythical island of Bali Hai.

Its volcanic peaks rise like a shark's jaw from the islands basaltic base and are best viewed from Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay, or from the Belvedere Lookout point, where the sacred Rotui Mountain divides the two bays.

One third of French Polynesia's total hotel capacity is on Moorea with 922 lodging units provided in hotel rooms and bungalows, or in small local style thatched roof 'fare'. These include 746 garden, beach and overwater bungalows and 176 rooms.

The mountain slopes of Moorea are covered with pineapple plantations and at water level, white sandy beaches border crystal clear lagoons.

Moorea's quiet tranquillity will soothe your senses, for life is easy and slow moving here, yet Moorea offers a variety of entertainment and recreation.

The best way to get to know this magnificent island is to take a circle tour by hire car or scooter through the small picturesque villages. This way you can roam at will to the sugar white beach of your choice or inland through the bamboo forests and pineapple and vanilla plantations. You are free to stop as many times as you like to appreciate the spectacular views of the mountains and valleys, lagoons and bays. The trip will take about four hours depending, of course, how long you stop along the way.

In Opunohu Bay at the Kellum you can visit a beautiful large garden and old colonial home, built last century and apparently untouched by time.

A tour of Opunohu valley means stops at the stone marae temples and archery platforms used by Polynesian royalty in pre-Christian days and a pause at Le Belvedere Lookout Point which offers an unequalled panorama of Moorea's two bays.

If you like horse riding, there is nothing more exhilarating than galloping along the white sandy beaches. There are also all sorts of nautical activities including deep sea fishing, motor boat cruising, sailing, scuba diving, coral gazing and shell collecting using glass-bottom boats.

Glass-bottom boats leave Hotel Bali Hai dock daily at 9am and 2pm except Thursday and Saturday if the boat is being used for snorkelling excursions.

Moorea has many talented artisans whose creations are sold in boutiques and privately owned shops around the island. Here you'll find the perfect 'pareu', sundress, bikini, shirt and beach-wear. These hand-painted designs are ideal for the tropical climate.

Black pearls can be purchased from several jewellers and boutiques on Moorea and the public market in Pao Pao beside Cook's Bay has locally made shell jewellery and hats, tote bags, baskets and mats woven from palm fronds, pandanus and banana plants.

There are a number of special events worth attending such as the Tahitian Tamaara'a Show. You arrive by outrigger canoe at sunset, taste foods

Visitors to the island of Moorea are very lucky on two counts. Of course, there is the island's natural beauty and, with the Tiki Theatre Village being located on the island, holiday makers have a unique opportunity to visit an old Tahitian village.

Hotels & Resorts on Moorea
On Moorea most hotels are located at the sunny and sheltered northshore of the island.

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We have included French Polynesia in some of our specials to the South Pacific, eg. our Kontiki Voyage and South Sea Dream Voyage. Another option is to create your own package to French Polynesia by utilizing the seperate travel components, like hotels, flights and excursions on the islands.

For a legal wedding the legal requires in French Polynesia that you remain at least 30 days in French Polynesia before the marriage. In practice this means you may only have a ceremonial wedding in French Polynesia (see also Tiki Village).

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