Where does one begin to even try and explain what paradise on earth looks like? For many French Polynesia is the place on earth which is the closest ideal to paradise, and after visiting on my honeymoon I would have to agree whole heartedly. You can’t go wrong with any island you choose in FP, but for me, Moorea will always hold a special place in my heart.
After spending a night in the capital of FP, Papeete, we caught the ferry the next day to Moorea. We decided on the 45 minute ferry ride instead of the light plane because I had reed that approaching the mountainous island by the sea was a magical experience – to witness the craggy peaks jutting out of the sea and approaching the azure lagoons would be an experience to remember. In theory yes, that would be the case, but our ferry was during a storm with 4 metre swells. I was concentrating on not vomiting instead of looking out of the window!
Our first 3 days would be like this – tropical storms, some rain, with the odd patch of sunshine. Other honeymooners at the resort were whining, saying how sad they were, they couldn’t do anything blah blah blah. Seriously though, it was still hot, and the rain was only ever light. We still snorkelled,took trips, relaxed at the resort, and of course, ate ourselves silly on amazing French-pacific cuisine!
I would definitely recommend a 4wd ‘safari’ tour to explore the interior of Moorea. We did a day tour and had a great time! One of the main attractions was the Belvedere Lookout, the only spot on the island where both of Moorea’s natural bays can be seen. Even on this gloomy day it was a nice viewpoint. I can only imagine how nice it is in the sunshine! We also took a steep track up to another lookout. The drive itself was the adventure – how the jeep made it up the gradient was beyond me. I was praying the brakes would not fail! We also stopped at an ancient Marae, which is an old ceremonial sacred spot for the early inhabitants of the island. After cross crossing the island, driving past locals in their every day lives, and having fun driving over muddy tracks, we stopped at a juicing/liqueur distillery to try various drinks made from local fruits. I loved the mai tai so much, I bought a few cartons for back at the hotel room. I definitely recommend checking out the interior of the island – while the sea is the obvious draw card, the interior itself is interesting and beautiful!
Another day we decided to take a boat trip to the shark and ray feeding area. Our boat took us around the bays,and past local “backyards”. I wish I had a backyard onto the sea like the locals do! When we got to the ray and shark area we donned our snorkels and jumped in. It was great – the water was only chest height, so even if you can’t swim, or are uncomfortable with the sea, you could just stand there, pop your head under, and come face to face with black tipped reef sharks and huge manta rays. Our guide, who was a cheeky fella, got a ray to come up behind a scared lady and to give her a “kiss” on the face. I wish I had taken a photo of the terror on her face! Lol. After some time here we went to a small island and had a BBQ lunch, and some freshly made “poisson cru”, which is the Tahitian version of ceviche (raw fish marinated in coconut and lime). It was a fantastic day, and while cloudy, and least it didn’t rain!
Our time in Moorea was spent spoiled rotten at the Hilton Moorea. This resort was amazing- it of course had all you expect from a high end resort, but for us we loved the fact that there was coral and heaps of marine life literally a step off the beach. We spent so much time in the water off our bungalow, exploring the amazing marine life, the colourful fish and the odd stingray. When we weren’t in the water, we’d be on the deck chairs, drinking our mai tai from the carton, reading a book and just relaxing. After the fun of planning a wedding while running a business and working long hours, this was a much needed respite. You would never get tired of views like is would you?
And when the sun finally came out (on our second last day) I could see even more so why this place is paradise on earth! Everything does look better bathed in sunlight I must admit!