This trip really gets under the skin of French Polynesia, visiting isolated islands that aren’t often on people’s schedule. If you’re looking for a secluded getaway, put these undiscovered destinations at the top of your list!
South of Tahiti, you’ll find the Austral Islands, where legends and unique experiences await. During this off-the-beaten-track holiday, you'll visit a remote archipelago that will open your eyes to the secluded world of the South Pacific. These temperate islands are full of life, with communities that will welcome you to their beautiful shores with open arms and broad smiles.
The Austral Islands will give you everything you dream of from an island holiday, and much more. Watch whales leap from the water, enjoy fruit picked fresh from the trees, hike through untouched jungle and relax on white-sand beaches. Finish your trip with some chill-out time in tropical Moorea, ending your exciting holiday with peace and pure tranquillity.
Depart the UK from your chosen airport.
On arrival in Tahiti, you’ll be transferred to your hotel and check in for two nights. You can spend the rest of the day relaxing and resting after your long flight.
Today is your chance to explore Tahiti, an island that many people leave too quickly in their haste to reach the other islands. It’s a shame, as this lovely island has a stunning interior, as well as great surf and soft black sand beaches. We’ve included a 4WD excursion that will take you deep into the heart of the island, visiting ancient craters that will take you back in time.
The tour will take you along dirt roads and through shallow rivers to visit archaeological sites. Along the way, you can enjoy views of the lush mountains, stop to swim in waterfalls and hear stories from your local guide about Tahitian legends. Lunch isn’t included, but you’ll stop somewhere to eat, choose what you’d like and pay yourself.
After breakfast, you’ll be driven back to the airport and take a short flight to the island of Tubuai. On arrival in Tubuai, you’ll be met at the airport and be taken to your guesthouse where you’ll check in for two nights.
Life is calm and quiet on Tubuai; a lush and fertile island tucked away from the spotlight. Just 1.5 hours from Tahiti by air, Tubuai sits inside a blue lagoon, with coffee and orange trees growing along its mountainsides. This island has many stories to tell, including the tale of the Bounty mutineers who tried to settle here before moving onwards to Pitcairn.
As well as learning the fascinating history of Tubuai, you can spend your here time kitesurfing, snorkelling in the lagoon and hiking through the green valleys. You’ll be staying in a family-run Tahitian guesthouse rather than a resort – it really is off-the-beaten-track living.
After breakfast, you’ll be driven back to the airport and fly to the neighbouring island of Rurutu. On arrival, you’ll be met and driven to your guesthouse.
Wild, rugged and staggeringly beautiful, Rurutu offers the wildlife experience of a lifetime. In July, the blazing red blooms of the atae tree trumpet the annual arrival of the humpback whales, who arrive here to breed in the warm waters. Every year between July and October, the whale-spotting is epic.
While you may not be able to stay in an overwater bungalow with 24-hour room service on Rurutu, you’ll have a unique chance to swim with wild humpback whales. There’s no lagoon here, so the deepwater offshore tempts the whales to come very near to the island. During the whale-watching season, you can even spend your evenings on the beach watching whales jump and splash in the peaceful ocean.
On Day 7, we’ve included a Whale Discovery Cruise. You’ll sail out on the boat looking for the humpbacks before slipping into the water and snorkelling alongside these gentle giants. Rurutu is one of the only places in the world you can do this, so enjoy every minute.
Please note that getting in the water with the whales is never guaranteed. The guide will assess the situation, ensuring the safety of both you and the animals.
After breakfast, you’ll be driven back to the airport and fly to the final Austral Island on your trip agenda - Raivavae. On arrival, you’ll be met and driven to your guesthouse.
Home to a jagged mountain with lush green hillsides, an unbelievably bright blue lagoon and white beaches to die for, Raivavae actually looks a lot like Bora Bora. The beaches on Raivavae are spectacular, but unlike Bora Bora, they are quiet. In fact, you’ll usually find yourselves alone on the powdery white sand that stretches as far as the eye can see.
There are motus (islets) dotted around the lagoon and the beautiful Motu Piscine (Swimming Pool Island), is a particularly special place. During your stay on Raivavae, take a walk or cycle along picturesque paths, where locals will greet you everywhere you go. Life is slow and peaceful here, and staying in a Tahitian guesthouse is like being welcomed into the family home. It’s a rustic, traditional and magical island.
After breakfast, you’ll be met and taken to the airport for the flight to Tahiti. When you land, you’ll be driven straight to the pier, where you’ll catch the 30-minute ferry to Moorea. On arrival, you’ll check into your guesthouse for four nights.
With four nights to enjoy lush Moorea, you’ve got plenty of time to kick your shoes off and relax. Alternatively, if you're feeling energetic, you can get out and discover this beautiful island. Moorea is a green wonderland waiting to be explored. Take hikes along steep cliffs, swim in a bright blue lagoon where colourful fish and rays dance through the water and stretch out on unspoilt beaches that will blow you away.
After the remote and rustic beauty of the Austral Islands, Moorea will feel a little more built-up. The island is still relaxed but busy with visitors, making it a great place to come back to reality after your time off-grid. You’ll be staying at a Tahitian guesthouse with a lovely little pool, right next to a white sand beach. It’s the perfect spot to relax at the end of your holiday.
Today, you’ll be driven back to the port for the 30-minute ferry journey to Tahiti, before being taken to the airport for your flight home.
The Austral Archipelago is cooler than most of French Polynesia because it lies further south than the other island groups. However, it still has a warm average temperature of around 20 – 25 degrees, with plenty of sunshine. There is more rain here, but this keeps these beautiful islands lush and green. The rainfall means that the climate is less humid than the Society Islands and the air feels fresh.
If you'd like to get a feel for this trip, read our blog post ‘Which French Polynesian Island is best for you’ - written by one of our consultants who has been there.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.