French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France located about half way between South America and Australia in the South Pacific. It is comprised of five archipelagos: Marquesas, Gambier Islands, Astral Islands, Tuamotu Atolls, and the Society Islands including Tahiti. The population of 280,000 is spread across 118 islands, almost 70% on the island of Tahiti alone with three quarters of that in the capital city of Papeete.
The journey begins on the island of Moorea, “The Magical Island”. Moorea, meaning “yellow lizard” in Tahitian, soars magically out of the ocean in an explosion of green velvet, a quick 10 minute plane ride from Tahiti.
The shape of Moorea resembles a heart with its two nearly symmetrical bays opening to the north side of the island: Cook's Bay and Ōpūnohu Bay. The island was formed as a volcano 1.5 to 2.5 million years ago, the result of a geologic hotspot in the mantle under the oceanic plate that formed the whole of the Society Archipelago.
The journey continues on Huahine, “Garden of Eden”. The two connected islands are located 30 minutes by plane from Tahiti. The lush forests, untamed landscape and the quaint villages make Huahine one of Polynesia’s best-kept secrets.
A deep, crystal-clear lagoon surrounds the islands with its magnificent bays and white-sand beaches. Relatively unchanged by the modern world, Huahine offers a slower taste of old Polynesia. This fertile world provide local farmers a bountiful harvest of vanilla, melons, coconuts and bananas.
Enjoy this sample of French Polynesia. Perhaps you will be inspired to set out on your own adventure. You won’t be disappointed.