Tahiti – 5 places you mustn’t miss
If you could close your eyes and wish yourself to a beautiful island paradise you’d open your eyes in Tahiti. Famous for its unique island culture, Tahiti offers visitors an array of dance, musical and culinary experiences as well as some truly stunning beaches (it’s famous for them!)
More than just a pretty place, here’s five Tahitian spots that’ll make you wonder why you haven’t booked your trip yet (oh and we can help with that!).
Celebrate the Polynesian Spirit at the Heiva Festival
Typically running through mid-July, the Heiva Festival showcases and celebrates Polynesian culture through dance, music and merriment.
Visit French Polynesian capital city, Papeete, during this time and you’ll experience a diverse range of offerings; showing off the very best of Tahitian culture. Delight your inner foodie with the tastes of local and French-fused Tahitian dishes at some of the many restaurants or street vendors.
When you’ve had a good wander around, catch one of the Otea dance performances, where skilled performers adorn those iconic grass skirts and put on a show that has been part of Tahitian culture for generations. There are also orchestral performances featuring ukuleles and conch shell musicians.
The Festival is a truly unique experience for locals and tourists alike. The Tahitian practises displayed here were nearly lost during European occupation as they were considered uncivilised or risqué by the missionaries of the time. The Heiva Festival celebrates the resilience of these traditions and rejoices in the survival of the Tahitian spirit.
Beach paradise – something for everyone
Now for one of the key reasons you chose Tahiti – the beach!
For us Aussies, Tahiti’s black sand beaches can be a real site to behold and a totally different experience to walk on too. Formed from the volcanic minerals and lava fragments, they’re soft underfoot and you can feel like you’re sinking into it. Experience the black sand at Taharuu, Plage Lafayette and Plage De Papenoo beaches.
La Plage de Maui is a sharp contrast to the usual iconic black sand beaches. This little strip of paradise has crystal white sand, blue water and a view that’ll make you want to move there permanently. There’s a lagoon that connects to the main body of water, making for a great place to give snorkelling a try and get up close with the multitudes of fish that call Tahitian waters home. You’ll find resort bars and restaurants in the area so when you’re worn out from your day in the sun you can head over for dinner and watch a real Tahitian sunset in comfort.
Oh, and the Tahitian’s invented surfing, so if you’re up for a set or you’d like to learn there are plenty of serious surf beaches and schools that can accommodate that. Taharuu is also a great beach to hit the waves. The beach is quite wide, so you won’t have to worry about getting in the way of the other beachgoers and the Tahitian waves are legendary.
Although there are a lot of beaches that are best left to those that consider themselves the world’s best and bravest, like Teahupo’o .
Take a hike (literally) through Fautaua Valley
If you’re up for a little more adventure than just lazing on a beautiful beach, you might consider grabbing your hiking boots and your water bottle and head out to the great outdoors of the Fautaua Valley hiking trail. The trail delivers a number of notable natural sites, not the least of which is the Fautua Waterfall. At this point in the trek, you can stop and take a rest as you watch the enormous 300-metre cascade of water.
Entry requires a permit which can be purchased for just under AUD$10 at Papeete city hall. All up, it takes around two hours to complete the trail. And especially if you’re new to hiking, it’s best walked in a group with an experienced guide to avoid extending that time by what might be best described as walking in circles.
You can visit the valley any time of the year for a different experience. In the dry season you’ll experience the almost iridescent green of the jungle in the sunlight, whilst in the wet season, the waterfall’s flow is extra impressive.
Swim like the Tahitians at Point Venus
For those after a little bit of history on the side of their island paradise, head to Point Venus on the north peninsula.
The story is that it was from this point that Captain Cook observed the transit of Venus across the moon. This observation was integral to determining a unit by which to measure astronomical movement – how quickly things move in space. It’s an event that only occurs once every 100 years and from a scientific perspective, it was a very big deal.
There’s a monument to the occasion as well as a beautiful old lighthouse, so there’s plenty for you to explore before lunch at one of the seaside cafes.
And speaking of the seaside, the local people make use of the black sand beaches in this area as well so if you’re interested in getting a feel for the Tahitian culture first hand this is a great opportunity to just that.
Spend the day in Moorea
Technically the sister island of Tahiti, Moorea has all the beautiful sand and scenery of Tahiti with slightly fewer people – a nice respite when you’re feeling a bit ‘touristed-out’.
Rise and shine early and hop a ferry over in time to see feeding time at the ‘Lagoonarium’. This haven for fish and other aquatic creatures offers a truly unmatched wildlife experience, allowing people to swim amongst the animals in a lagoon/aquarium habitat. The area is bordered by nets, creating a relatively safe environment for those who want to experience snorkelling without experiencing open water.
When you’re done there, the gorgeous blue waters here make Moorea the ideal place to take a half-day boat tour of the coastline. Choose from a glass-bottom or regular boat and let an experienced guide take you out to all the best spots for snorkelling, pictures and if you go at the right time (July-November) whale watching.
When you’re ready to head back over, catch a ferry back to Tahiti and be home for dinner. Alternatively, you can just stay the night here and head back in the morning. The ferry runs 7 days a week starting at 5:30 am and finishing up at 5:30 pm.
And there you have it, your dream Tahitian get away.
So if you’d like to experience your own version of Tahitian paradise, we’d love to help you. You can always give us a call on (02) 6041 5577, drop into the office at 601 Dean Street, Albury or book an appointment with one of our experienced travel professionals via the form below.
You can find more on some of our other top travel destinations here!
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