New Caledonia might be nice and close to home for a taste of France, but don’t forget Tahiti. Just over seven hours from Sydney, it’s the largest of the 35 islands and 83 atolls making up the French Polynesian archipelago in the Society Islands.
One way to get a good taste of the islands is to take a cruise, but if you’re a little short on time, a 30 minute boat ride from Papeete will take you to the island of Moorea. The triangular shaped island is encircled by a translucent green lagoon. It has both black and white sand beaches and its mountainous interior is scenically dramatic.
Kelly was more than pleased to visit French Polynesia to check out some of the accommodation available there.
InterContinental Moorea Resort and Spa
If a stunning waterfront address conjures up romance, the InterContinental Resort & Spa has 48 overwater bungalows and 1 suite in the main building, close to the resort’s facilities. The Lanai Suite is double the size of standard rooms and has a furnished balcony.
Cuisine is French Polynesian and each Wednesday a Soiree Barbecue is held on the main beach.
Bora Bora on a budget
You might fancy hopping up to the volcanic island of Bora Bora. Hotel Novotel Bora Bora Beach Resort is a 3 star resort on the white sands of the island. It’s terrific for families, honeymooners or couples wanting a break.
It has 10 two-storey Polynesian-style buildings on the mountainside with 80 rooms overlooking beautiful gardens. It has an infinity pool, dive centre, restaurant, bar, entertainment and complimentary water sports.
The road around the island is very flat and you can easily cycle around the island and into town in about 20 minutes.
Bora Bora shark boy
Evan Temarii, known as Shark Boy, runs one of the island’s best adventures. He will take you out on the lagoon to feed sharks and rays. Before long you will be surrounded by sharks and Evan swears they are friendly enough for you to swim with them. The decision is yours!
A great way to go from the airport is the free ferry to Vaitape. Hotel buses will pick you up there to carry you to your hotel.
InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa accommodation starts at around $497. Overwater bungalows are from $1077 a night.
Hotel Novotel Bora Bora garden view rooms are around $224 twin share, including taxes.
Shark Boy Lagoon Tours cost around $125. They run every day between 9am and 1pm. Hotel pick-up/drop-off are included.
Prices correct at August 6, 2009.
For further information
InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa
Box 1019 98729
Ph: +689 55 1900 or 1800 669 562
Fax: +689 55 1955
Hotel Novotel Bora Bora
Ph: +689 605 590
Fax: +689 605 951
Shark Boy of Bora Bora
Ph/Fax: +689 677 859
Visas: Australians may stay in French Polynesia for up to three months without a visa.
Electricity: Electricity is 110 or 220AC/60Hz, depending on the island. 220 is the most common. Plugs are circular with two female and one male point, the same as France.
Time zone: GMT -10
Currency: Pacific franc
International dialling code: +689