Moorea Travel Guide
Tahiti's sister island - Moorea - was an important domain of the royal Pomare family, and the birthplace of the Protestant Church in French Polynesia. Tradition has it that this rugged volcanic island was the dorsal fin of the great fish of Tahiti
. Today, its scenic beauty draws many visitors, who come to appreciate its white sandy beaches, crystal clear lagoons, rugged mountains and the tranquil, easy pace of life.
The best way to explore Moorea is to hire a car or scooter and drive the ring road (60km) which encircles the island. The road passes through scenic villages and offers spectacular views along the way of mountains, pineapple plantations, valleys and lagoons. Highlights include beautiful Opunohu Bay, with its historic homestead, the marae temples at Opunohu Valley and the Belvedere Lookout.
Take a travel holiday/vacation to Moorea and explore Tahiti's sister island.
Moorea is 17km northwest of Tahiti
Sunny and pleasant year-round. Average daytime temperatures are about 26ºC
November to March.
Most rain falls during the most humid months from December to February.
April to October.
The Church of St Joseph, Paopao Market, Marae Sites, Mt Rotui & Belvedere Lookout, Opunohu Bay & Kellum Homestead, Dolphin Quest, Tiki Theatre Village, Tahitian Tamaara'a Show, Glass-bottom Boat Tours, shark feeding, surfing, dving, watersports, walking & climbing
- The Church of St Joseph
The old church at Paopao contains a fresco painted by Heman in 1948, which depicts the visitation of the Angel Gabriel.
PK 10, 500 Paopao.
- Lagoon Cruises
Tours of Moorea's beautiful lagoon also offer shark feeding, swimming with the rays, and a picnic stop and snorkel on Motu Fareone.
- Paopao Market (Le Marché de Paopao)
Located beside Cooks Bay, the market sells locally made shell jewellery, bags, baskets, hats and mats woven from palm fronds and pandanus.
Open Monday to Saturday, 6am-5pm and Sundays 4.30am-8am.
- Marae Sites
There are two restored marae (sacred worship) sites on Moorea in the Opunohu Valley - Titiroa and Afareaito. At Afareaito, visitors can still see the ancient archery platforms used by Polynesian royalty in pre-Christian days. From the carpark at Titiroa, a track leads through the forest to the raised alter of Marae Ahu-o-Mahine. The island's oldest marae is Marae Umarea (PK10) - a wall of coral boulders along the waterfront.
- Mount Rotui & Belvedere Lookout
This sacred mountain divides the twin bays of Cooks and Opunohu. The Belvedere lookout offers panoramic views over both the mountain and bays.
- Opunohu Bay & Kellum Homestead
Overlooking beautiful Opunohu Bay, this colonial home has a large tropical garden ideal for a stroll.
- Dolphin Quest
Play or snorkel with the dolphins in the dolphin lagoon at Papetoai.
- Tiki Theatre Village
A traditional village offering visitors the chance to experience Tahitian culture and art, with dance performances, fire shows and canoe rides on the lagoon. A traditional ahima'a (a meal cooked in an underground oven) is offered on Friday and Saturday nights.
PK 31 Haapiti.
- Glass-bottom Boat Tours
Boats leave Hotel Bali Hai dock daily at 9am and 2pm (except Thursday and Saturday if the boat is in use for other excursions).
- Tahitian Tamaara'a Show
Arrive by outrigger canoe at sunset, and enjoy foods cooked in a traditional underground oven, followed by a Polynesian dance revue.
- Shark Feeding
Shark feeding shows are organised in the lagoon by several diving clubs. Visitors can see grey, yellow and blacktip sharks, as well as moral eels, majestic rays and brilliantly coloured fish.
Good surfing spots are at Matauvau pass at Haapiti, and the pass opposite Atiha village.
- Diving & Snorkelling
Dive spots include the passes of Taotahi and Avamotu, the Rose Garden, with its exceptional coral formations, and Ray Passage, a lagoon dive where you can swim with stingrays. Divers can see sharks, moray eels, jackfish, parrotfish, barracuda, triggerfish and turtles, as well as a sunken ship. There is good snorkelling at Hauru Point, with its white sand beaches.
Moorea's huge lagoon is ideal for watersports, with hire centres based at most major hotels. Options include lagoon trips, jetski hire, waterskiing, parasailing, aquawalking, deep sea fishing, diving and boat charters.
- Walking & Climbing
A guide is a good idea, as walks can be poorly marked and it's easy to lose your way. The trek from Vaiare to Paopao passes through pineapple plantations to Mount Tearai. Other options include the Saddle of the Three Coconuts, which has magnificent views of Moorea and its neighbouring islands, and The Hole in the Pierced Mountain. More experienced climbers can also undertake the difficult climb up Mount Rotui (900m) with a guide.