French Polynesia, the collective name for those 118 lovely islands of which Tahiti is the largest, remains a popular holiday destination and more Australian travellers are venturing there to dip their toes in the turquoise waters.
It’s also a perfect honeymoon destination with long sandy beaches, the bluest waters, great weather, plus outstanding over water accommodation.
The tropical paradise has so much going for it and there are now attractive packages available, making holidaying in these magnificent islands even more affordable.
While not a cheap place to visit, with careful planning and wise choices you can make the dollar stretch, so you can enjoy every moment of the holiday retreat.
Sailing is a top attraction of Tahiti with new yacht charter packages offering the chance to sail around some of the world’s most beautiful islands – an appealing option for families and a fun introduction to sailing for kids.
With neighbouring islands, Bora Bora, Moorea, Huahine, Tahaa and Raiatea, Tahiti presents countless island-hopping opportunities, fanned by the reliable trade winds of the South Pacific and gentle currents.
Yacht charter companies in Tahiti offer a wide selection of yachts, including mono-hulls and catamarans with cabins catering for a couple, group of friends and families.
The most pressing decision is whether to sail alone or hire a skipper and be free to relax and enjoy paradise. For a complete relax or a special occasion, you can also employ a chef to ensure a steady stream of fine food and a topped up wine glass.
The lagoons and islands are close enough together that you can sail easily from one to the next with confidence as the weather is usually fine.
The standout feature is the stunning scenery – think white palm-fringed beaches and towering volcanic mountains that rise out of azure lagoons.
It’s one of those “pinch me, I can’t believe I am here” destinations that has been known to take your breath away.
Even the word Tahiti, conjures up images of romance and beauty and some may recall the iconic Imperial Leather television ad where a wealthy family contemplate where they should go next in their own private jet. A stylish woman replies from a bubble bath “Tahiti looks nice” which became a bit of a catch phrase.
French Polynesia is divided into the Austral, Gambier, Marquesas, Society and Tuamotu archipelagos and Tahiti is the highest and largest island in French Polynesia lying close to Moorea Island.
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The bustling harbour town of Papeete, located on the northwest coast is the capital and is a modern city with new public facilities, shopping centres, art galleries and museums.
The Robert Wan Pearl Museum focuses on the local pearl industry and the rare and beautiful Tahitian black pearl, Pinctada Margaritifera. Named after cultured pearl craftsman Robert Wan, the museum covers the history of pearling and provides information about the black pearl. You can also purchase them throughout Tahiti.
Papeete has a colourful Municipal Market where you see displays of fruit and fish, nibble on French-inspired pastries and stock up on handicrafts.
Another landmark is the 19th-century Notre Dame Cathedral with its distinctive red spires.
Want to get active? Try the Fautaua Valley hike through verdant jungle studded with stands of torch ginger. It takes about three hours, including a stop for lunch at Fautaua Falls.
Other destinations include the Islands of the Societies that are best known for their gentle beauty, cathedral-shaped volcanic spires, fern-softened valleys and crystal lagoons.
The Austral Islands in the south, boast tidy houses of colourful coral limestone and a cooler climate, while the mystery of the Marquesas Islands lingers with its massive mountains of abrupt sculptured cliffs.
The Tuamotu atolls wind along the reef creating lagoons full of interesting marine life while in the Gambier Islands there is an ancient cathedral of neo-gothic design.
To fully appreciate the history and beauty of each island group, visitors can climb aboard an excursion bus or catch the local transport known as “le truck” to various attractions.
There are museums and cultural centres on the main islands and friendly locals are only too willing to share their culture, tips and stories. The adventurer and the sports-minded are also catered for with horse riding, golfing, hang-gliding, bowling, tennis and squash available.
Accommodation ranges from magnificent over-water bungalows, often with private glass viewing floors to spy on the marine life below. For the budget conscious there are backpacker hostels or you can go native in a thatch roof fare or rent a cosy hut in the middle of a tropical garden.
There also cruise lines such as Paul
What’s the best time to visit? November to April is the wet season while August is the driest month.
One thing is assured, you may well feel like settling in until winter is over at home.
YOUR TAHITI ADVENTURE BEGINS HERE
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