Moorea is a magical French Polynesian island and Kelly Landry couldn't wait to pack her island gear when she heard she was lucky enough to be heading there.
The wide shallow lagoon surrounds vertical mountains with tumbling waterfalls and cliffs covered with soft ferns. Charming pastel-coloured houses circle the island and have gardens of hibiscus and birds of paradise.
Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa
Just 30 minutes by boat from Papeete, across the Sea of the Moon, the once busy vanilla plantation is now all about visitors enjoying the beach and water.
The 11-hectare property has 49 garden lanai rooms, 26 garden bungalows, 20 beach bungalows and 50 overwater bungalows. Each has a separate sitting room, private terrace or deck and air-conditioning.
There are tennis courts and a large pool, two restaurants and cocktail bar. Fare Nui Restaurant serves gourmet food and Fare Hana at poolside is for simple, fresh food in a relaxed atmosphere. After dinner locals provide entertainment. Motu Iti Bar overlooks the lagoon and mai tai is a favourite cocktail.
Activities include snorkelling, sea kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, table tennis and seeing demonstrations of local handicraft.
Helene Spa provides perfect holiday pampering with treatments and therapies based on plants, flowers and fruits of Tahiti. Imagine luxuriating in a fresh flower bath or river bath in private gardens.
A turtle sanctuary was established at the property in 2004. It shelters rescued turtles and treats the sick, wounded, mutilated or those seized by authorities. The green turtle is endangered as, unfortunately for them, some poachers hunt them for their flesh and their eggs are considered to be a delicacy.
Since its inception, more than 50 green and hawksbill turtles have been sheltered. Thirteen of them have successfully been released back into the wild.
Right next door, the centre provides natural homes to four bottlenose dolphins retired from the US Navy. Guests are invited to experience interaction with the dolphins, at the same time learning about the fragile life of the Polynesian lagoon system.
Lokahi is an extremely friendly 14-year-old dolphin, which loves being hugged and will take you on an underwater ride.
Moorea, 30 minutes by boat from Papeete, the capital of Tahiti.
Coral Seas Travel has seven-night packages. They include return economy airfares with Air Tahiti Nui, five nights at the Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa, and all transfers. Packages start at $2530 per person twin share from Sydney
, $2680 from Melbourne
and $2730 from Brisbane
. Valid for sale until August 31, 2009 and for travel until December 31, 2009. Conditions apply.
Air Tahiti Nui flies to Papeete via Auckland three times a week.
Prices correct at May 7, 2009.
For further information
Air Tahiti Nui
Level 12, 403 George Street
Ph: (02) 9244 2337
Fax: (02) 9244 2321
Coral Seas Travel
Level 20, 141 Walker Street
North Sydney 2060
Ph: 1800 641 803
Fax: (02) 9925 0949
Intercontinental Resort and Spa
Ph: +689 55 1919
Fax: +689 55 1955
Level 8, 25 Bligh Street
Ph: 1300 655 563, (02) 9233 4920 or (02) 9368 5262
Fax: (02) 9233 4906
Visas: Australians may stay in French Polynesia for up to three months without a visa.
Electricity: Electricity is 110V or 220V at 60Hz, depending on the island, but 220V is the most common. Plugs are circular with two female and one male point, the same as in France.
Time zone:GMT -10.
Currency: Pacific franc.
Telephone code: +689.