The islands of Tahiti are the stuff of legend, the quintessential showcase of a tropical paradise.
Located directly south of Hawaii and east of Townsville, flying non-stop from the east coast of Australia would take about eight hours but these days, flights are routed mostly via Auckland on Air Tahiti Ni and Air New Zealand, adding an additional hour or so to your travel time.
There are approximately 118 islands that make up French Polynesia of which Tahiti is the largest.
This postcard perfect destination is not only the ultimate place to unwind but it’s also filled with plenty of adventure options and cultural experiences to enjoy.
As is the case in most South Pacific island nations, the people of French Polynesia are welcoming and generous. They love to show off their island home and for good reason.
Here’s just some of what makes Tahiti so special.
As the number-one destination in the world for overwater bungalows, Tahiti’s reputation as a capital of romance and indulgence is well-founded.
While not the cheapest accommodation option, it’s what most visitors go for. There are bungalows for every type of traveller, from families looking to relax in the sun to honeymooners wanting the ultimate in privacy and luxury. An overwater bungalow will never disappoint.
Snorkelling and diving
Snorkel among turtles, butterfly fish, stingrays and black-tip reef sharks in the lagoons or don scuba gear and explore the reefs, atolls and shipwrecks teeming with colourful marine life.
If you’re wondering about the best time of year to plan a water-based holiday, summer weather is long from November to April with December and January most likely to be the wettest months. Temperatures often reach 30-degrees during this period summer while winter averages drop to about 27 degrees and the humidity is considerably lower.
In essence, it’s beach weather all year-round!
Naturally, Tahiti attracts its share of cruise ships.
Look out for ‘repositioning’ itineraries when cruise lines relocate home ports between seasons. While these types of cruises come up at the spur of the moment, the prices for these sailings are often very reasonable.
Cruise lines based in Tahiti include Aranui, Paul Gauguin, Windstar Cruises and Oceania Cruises.
From October to March each year, Tahiti receives similar swells to what Hawaii is famed for. The northern swell surges over the reefs and natural atolls producing perfect waves for beginners.
From April to September, waves are generated by the low pressure systems from the south. That’s when you’ll find quality reef breaks on north Moorea, or for the full pipeline experience, head to Teahupoo on south Tahiti island.
From the alluring scenic coastline to towering mountain peaks, thrilling full and half day 4WD safari tours will get you off-the-beaten-track and into the heart of the island.
Discover ancient archeological sites, swimming holes and volcanic craters formed millions of years ago at the time of the geological upheaval that created the archipelago.
If you enjoy hiking, you’ll love Tahiti. There are spectacular trails throughout the islands from scenic coastal walks, to lush rainforest hikes that take in the amazing waterfalls, swimming holes and fresh-water rivers. Go it alone or hire a guide to hear about the Polynesian legends attached to the natural features around you.
And of course … Lazing on the sand
There’s no better reason to go to Tahiti than for the beaches. Bleached white sands, crystal clear waters and peaceful lagoons all conspire with the glorious sunshine for the perfect cocktail drinking atmosphere.
There is no shortage of gorgeous options to choose from - simply find your own slice of paradise and soak in the sun’s rays in the tropical surrounds. Look out for La Plage de Maui on the Bay of Tapueraha as one of the most beautiful beaches and for something different, try the black sand surf beach at Plage de Taharuu.