Far from Tahiti, you will find in the Austral archipelago unlikely and mysterious places. Expect natural wonders, blue-colored lagoons and many discoveries. There is indeed much to see and explore. Explore a selection of the best things to do in the Austral Islands!
1. Caves of Rurutu
Looking for mysterious and unique places in French Polynesia, go to the island of Rurutu to explore impressive caves. Several caves have been carved by erosion into the limestone cliffs overlooking the ocean. In the time of ancient civilization, they served as refuges, sanctuaries and were the scene of battles and sacrifices.
It is in the incredible Ana Aoe cave that the legends are best expressed. The gigantic dimensions force the humility of the person who goes there. The limestone shining under the sunlight makes the moment magical and solemn. Even more impressive is the deep excavation in a forest of stalagmites and stalactites that awaits you in the “Mouth of the Monster”. Seen from the outside, the cave takes on the appearance of an antediluvian monster with a carnivorous smile.
A visit to the caves of Rurutu is without doubt one of the best things to do in the Austral Islands. Because of the danger but also the accessibility of some sites, it is imperative to be accompanied. Your host or an islander will also be able to tell you the stories surrounding these places.
2. Motu Pool of Raivavae
Many consider the lagoon of Bora Bora as the most beautiful in the world. The Austral Islands also have their natural jewel in the presence of Raivavae. Its emerald lagoon is just as amazing, but this time the peace and quiet are the order of the day. Far from the tourist circuits and 5-star hotels, Raivavae is an intimate and romantic destination.
From the south coast, a boat or kayak trip takes you to one of the most beautiful sites in French Polynesia. It is a sandy pier of several kilometers surrounded by the most beautiful turquoise waters you can imagine. This setting with intense colors is magical.
The place naturally lends itself to swimming, snorkeling and romantic walks along the shore. This huge playground and discovery area will delight couples, families and all those who dream of the islands’ paradise-like landscapes.
3. Whales of Rurutu
Back to Rurutu for another must-do activity you can do in the Austral Islands. The island does not have a large lagoon and what could be a flaw becomes a real asset during the humpback whale migration. During the southern winter, the whales skim the shore of Rurutu. Never has it been so easy to observe them from land!
What a surprise to see a whale suddenly jump out of the water! The experience becomes even more memorable during a boat trip. Many professionals offer their services for a close-up observation. If conditions permit, your captain will authorize a launch to swim for a few moments next to these immense marine mammals.
This adventure takes place mainly between August and October. This is also the time of deliverance and if you are lucky, you may observe a female with her calf. For an all-inclusive tour, ask your hosts on Rurutu.
4. Twin Motus of Tubuai
The main island of the Austral Islands is also the one with the largest lagoon. So huge that its width reaches almost five kilometers in some places. A true aquatic reserve, the Tubuai lagoon is best explored by kayak. Flying over the turquoise waters, you will reach one of the many motus, small sandy islands of the reef.
Northeast of Tubuai, you will discover two wonderful motus that are the pride of the island: the motus Toena and Roa. Swimming and snorkeling are obviously part of the program. The waters are magnificent and the aquatic fauna rich and diversified. But it is above all the extraordinary landscape that you will keep in mind.
5. Ura Parakeet of Rimatara
Last stop of your itinerary in the Austral Islands, Rimatara is a tiny piece of land, on which the rare bird is found. Literally, the Ura parakeet is an endemic and endangered species. The saving grace of the Rimatara population is not only to ensure the bird’s survival, but also to find a second home for it in the Cook Islands.
The Ura parakeet measures 18 centimeters. Its plumage is multicolored: yellow, green, purple and of course all shades of red. This tropical bird underlines the beauty of the southern islands and belongs to their identity. In the company of your guide, you will go in search of it in the forest. Ancient tales are echoed in the consciousness of new generations who protect more than just a bird.
The Austral Islands Await you!
So many activities you can do in the Austral Islands! You will discover rugged topography, wonderful lagoons and majestic animals. But perhaps the most important thing for you will be to meet an authentic and benevolent population who, better than anyone else, will make you appreciate their land. French Polynesia is full of surprises. Contact us to start your trip to Tahiti and her islands!