Mention the word 'Tahiti' and your mind drifts to inviting beaches, palms fronds swaying in the warm breeze and crystal clear waters.
The largest of the 118 islands that make up French Polynesia in the central Southern Pacific Ocean, Tahiti is known around the world for its overwater bungalows, spas, snorkelling, diving and romance. Alongside its equally famous sister island of Bora Bora and less well known (but equally fabulous) Moorea, these islands make for some of the most spectacular and luxurious holidays going.
Plus they're easier to get to than you might imagine, with weekly flights from Australia via New Zealand with Air Tahiti Nui. Qantas Frequent Flyers can also earn and use Qantas Points towards flights and enjoy access to lounges in Papeete and Auckland where eligible.
Although primarily known for it's beaches and watersports, the islands have something for everyone, with fine dining and delicious local flavours, sports, shopping and plenty of sightseeing.
- Let your wheels do the work with a Papeete Waterfront Segway tourOpens external site in a new window
- See life from a local's perspective with a full-day Moorea Cultural tourOpens external site in a new window
- Explore life below the waves on Bora Bora with an introductory scuba diveOpens external site in a new window
- Take a 4WD tour of MooreaOpens external site in a new window including the Belvedere Pineapple Farm and Magic Mountain
- You'd be missing out if you didn't try a sunset sail round Bora BoraOpens external site in a new window on a catamaran yacht.
See the best of Tahiti
Take a look at the image gallery below by using the left or right arrows.
Expect a laid back attitude to life with a modern buzz on this Polynesian archipelago.
Papeete is the nation's capital city and gateway to the country. Meaning 'water basket', the city used to be where Tahitians would come to fill their calabashes with fresh water. Now it's a thriving hub with world-class resorts, fine dining and unmissable local restaurants, nightclubs, markets, pearl shops and stylish boutiques.
Evenings in Papeete are when things come alive. Stroll Vai'ete Square along the waterfront and enjoy the many restaurants and local roulottes where you can sample delicious local delicacies.
You'll also find extensive shopping along the waterfront and in the Public MarketOpens external site in a new window. Hunt out Tehitian collectibles including pearls, precious native wood carvings, artwork as well as pareu (a traditional Tahitian wraparound skirt) and momoi oil.
Head to the market on Sunday mornings when it's most lively with locals stocking up for a day of family gatherings.
Further afield see the island with a Circle-Island tourOpens external site in a new window that has been operating for over 100 years! See more than 71 miles of dramatic coastline, with wave pounded cliffs, secluded beaches and a tour of the stunning inland scenery.
Just under an hour's flight from Tahiti or Moorea, Bora Bora is famous around the world for it's peaked island centrepiece surrounded by magical blue lagoon. Well known amongst the honeymoon crowd, it's a haven of tropical huts and luxury bungalows perched above the sparkling water. Explore the island itself and you'll find lush valleys filled with hibiscus and palms. Stroll along the white sandy beaches and snorkel amongst the corals and the tropical fish, the calm waters protected by the motu (islands) circling the lagoon.
Spend your days exploring by outrigger canoe, climb aboard a Boston whaler or take a wave rider or jet ski and see what's on offer. You also won't want to miss a sunset cruise, surely one of the most romantic things on the island.
Less well known than its islands siblings but none the less dramatic, Moorea really is a magical island. A few minutes by plane from Tahiti or 30-minutes by high speed catamaran, the island soars dramatically from the water with stunning ridges and peaks gently falling down to meet the water's edge.
A wide shallow lagoon surrounds the island with stunning, natural waterfalls on show. Look out for pastel-painted houses sitting quietly in gardens of hibiscus and birds of paradise. Take time to explore the small villages that dot the island and soak up the truly relaxing vibe the island gives off.
French Pacific Franc (CFP)
During the high season, May to October, temperatures range from 20-27 degrees celcius, while in the low season, November to April, temperatures vary from 20-30 degrees celcius. December and January average 30 centimetres of rain a month, however, Tahiti receives more hours of sun than Hawaii during the comparable humid season.
Getting from the airport
Visitors often come stright through Papeete and miss out on the city port's vibrant atmosphere. The town's larger size and population mean there are plenty of transport options, from affordable public transport to more luxurious private transfersOpens external site in a new window.
When you land at Faa'a International Airport, your hotel or cruise line representative should arrange onward travel. Alternativelty there are car hire options available. If you're flying on to other islands you'll find the Air Tahiti flights also leave from Faa'a Airport. If you're heading on to Moorea by ferry, they leave from the waterfront in downtown Papeete.
Getting around the island of Tahiti
To get around Papeete and the surrounding towns, the public transit system offers large white 'RTC' buses. Taxi service is also available from your hotel and is best arranged by your hotel concierge. Once in downtown Papeete, the waterfront, restaurants, and shopping are all within walking distance.
To explore the wider island try a Circle-Island bus tour or 4X4 day trip. You'll get to go off the beaten path and see the island's lush green interior. Otherwise why not take to the water and hire a motorboatOpens external site in a new window or yacht charterOpens external site in a new window, or for the more active an outrigger canoe tour from Matavai Bay. A helicopter tourOpens external site in a new window will give you an amazing bird's eye view of the island.
Disclaimer: ^ You must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to earn and redeem Qantas Points. A joining fee may apply. Membership and Qantas Points are subject to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program terms and conditions.
** Prices are per room, per night and vary depending on date of check in, length of stay and room type. Conditions apply.
~ Qantas activities are provided by Viator. Conditions apply.