To go to the Austral Islands, you will first have to choose the time of year to visit them. Then, you will have to choose the order in which you will visit them and especially which islands will be on your itinerary: all or only some? Here are our tips for getting there.
Best Time to Visit the Austral Islands
In French Polynesia, the southern winter is also known as the dry season, as opposed to the wet season. From December to April, it rains almost every day. It is therefore preferable to visit the Austral Islands from May to November.
However, the positioning on the Tropic of Capricorn makes the climate of the Austral Islands quite different than in the rest of Polynesia. Rainfall is more frequent and temperatures can be quite cool, especially in the evening and at night. Count on an average of 22° in August and expect a relatively low rate of sunshine.
For a first discovery trip, we advise you to go to the Austral Islands from August to October. You will not escape a few showers but the humidity level is lower than the rest of the year. Of course, you will have to bring a sweater for the end of the day. Above all, this period is ideal for humpback whale watching, one of the best activities in the Austral Islands.
Finding a Flight to the Austral Islands
There are currently no international flights to the Austral Islands from Europe and North America. You will have to transit through Tahiti before continuing your journey to the south. Moreover, the absence of daily flights and the air rotations between the islands require careful planning.
In the spring of 2023, it is still too early to know if the new airline Air Moana will succeed in establishing itself on the traffic between Tahiti and the Austral Islands. For this reason, the best and most practical solution is to use the services of Air Tahiti, the iconic airline for domestic flights in French Polynesia.
Air Tahiti offers three options. Round-trip flights are the easiest to obtain. However, this option is only viable if you only plan to visit one island. If you wish to visit all the islands of the archipelago, the Austral-pass is a more profitable package. Finally, travelers who have already visited other Polynesian lands with an Air Tahiti pass can purchase an extension to go to two Austral islands of their choice.
The Austral-pass is the best option. Theoretically, you can visit two to four islands, depending on your program and your preferences. In reality, you will have to respect the airline’s rotations and fixed departure days. These limitations will lead you to either reduce (or lengthen) the time you spend on each island, or to remove one or two of them from your itinerary. For example, it will be impossible to have Raivavae and Rimatara in the same itinerary of three islands.
It is difficult to recommend one island over another. Choose according to the identity of each of them and define your priorities based on the best activities in the Austral Islands. Many travelers praise the originality of Rurutu and the beauty of Raivavae. To visit them both, it is best to opt for a three-destination itinerary that also includes Tubuai. So: first Raiavae, then Tubuai and finally Rurutu.
Of course, a four-island itinerary allows for an in-depth discovery. On a basis of two to three nights on each island, you will reach Raivavae, then Tubuai and Rurutu, to finish with the intimacy of Rimatara. Knowing that each stopover counts as a stage and that returns to the same island are forbidden, any other circuit in the Austral Islands is practically impossible without invalidating the Air Tahiti pass.
Discover the Remote Austral Islands!
The Austral Islands are a remote land offering an extraordinary experience. It’s a trip to the Polynesia of yesteryear, where tourism remains very little developed. There is no need to visit all the islands of the archipelago: just take your time and enjoy the ones you visit. The Polynesian adventure continues with Bora Bora, Moorea or Raiatea. Contact us to prepare your activities in the South Seas paradise.