The Essentials of the Austral Islands
1. A Unique Nature in French Polynesia
The Austral Islands are astonishing for their incredible geology. Due to ancient volcanic activity, some of them have seen their coral reefs rise, sometimes over ten meters. Atypical landscapes in French Polynesia, magnificent limestone cliffs now stand in Rurutu and Rimatara. They hide extraordinary cavities with often impressive dimensions. There is an incomparable feeling of adventure.
Beside the mysterious caves, beautiful mountains with dense vegetation cover the islands. The valleys can be discovered in a relaxed way and the hikes to the summits often offer breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Exploration leads to encounters with surprising animals such as the red Ura parakeets of Rimatara and whales in Rurutu. Nature does not forget Tubuai and Raivavae: both islands have gigantic lagoons of almost unparalleled beauty.
2. Many Activities on Land and Sea
Their small size would lead one to believe that the Austral Islands can be visited very quickly. However, lagoon excursions and land visits are numerous, offering the possibility of a complete and diversified program of activities. Above all, the particularities of each island make the trip unique: the Motu Piscine on Raivavae, the caves on Rurutu, the hikes on Tubuai and the tour of the island by foot on Rimatara. These visits are among the best activities in the Austral Islands.
The most developed tourist activity is whale watching. For this purpose, it is necessary to go to the island of Rurutu where the conditions of approach are exceptional because of a lagoon almost non-existent. Each year, between August and November, the cetaceans reach the warm waters of the Austral Islands for the mating season and to give birth to their calves.
3. A Population Proud of its Roots
The natural wonders can be discovered in the company of the local people, who are both hosts and companions in the adventure. The local population is particularly friendly towards foreign visitors. They are also proud and concerned about their cultural and natural heritage. It is with pleasure and rigor that we discover with them the secrets and treasures of the Austral Islands, but also the way of life and the local culture.
In the Austral Islands, traditions and customs constitute the essential social link to maintain a population. Religious services are very popular. On this occasion, the inhabitants put on their most beautiful costumes in a colorful parade. Traditions also continue thanks to the crafts, especially basketry. Strolling through one of the many local markets is enough to see that the locals are masters in this field.
The Austral Islands in a Nutshell
Visiting the southern islands gives you a different view of Polynesia. This almost reclusive world is not lacking in charm and flavor. The mysterious legends fascinate and give the landscapes an incredible strength. The diversity of the islands makes it possible to envisage a complete and unique stay, which would not be only a simple stage.
The Austral Islands are an atypical destination for a first trip to French Polynesia. It is therefore important to take your time and discover each island slowly. For a stay including the four main islands, a total of ten nights on site is to be expected. Shorter stays as part of an Air Tahiti pass extension can be limited to three nights on each island visited. It is therefore essential to carefully plan your itinerary in the Austral Islands. Do not hesitate to contact us to prepare your trip to French Polynesia.