Magnificent gardens of endemic flowers, a protected natural environment and one of the most beautiful lagoons in Polynesia. A beautiful escape into the secret garden of many artists.
Located less than 10 minutes by air from Tahiti and half an hour by boat, the island of Moorea is a volcanic massif bristling with peaks, the highest of which stands at 1207 metres. Two sumptuous bays - Cook?s Bay and Opunohu Bay - carve out the island and offer sought-after anchorages for sailors.
It was here, in this deep indentation on the emerald waters of the lagoon, that The Mutiny of the Bounty, starring Marlon Brando, was filmed. Following the filming, Marlon Brando bought the neighbouring atoll of Tetiaroa, where he stayed with his Polynesian wife and where one of their sons has just opened a luxury eco hotel: the Brando Resort.
In this natural setting, deep river valleys have carved out the landforms and allowed luxuriant vegetation to take root. A small road takes you through the interior of the island to the Belvedere, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful viewpoints in Polynesia.
Near the Belvedere, a pretty vahiné offers us a tamouré. Initially banned by Christian explorers as obscene, this Tahitian dance was passed down within the family and has resurfaced thanks to the traditional Tiurai festivities in July.
Pineapple plantations, Moorea?s main source of wealth, as well as bananas, sugar cane and giant bamboo groves cover the sunny slopes of the ancient caldera. And they provide a little coolness for the midday walker.
The island is small. The coastal road, some sixty kilometres long, takes you quickly round the island. It weaves its way through flower gardens and coconut groves, revealing coves and bays with white sandy beaches and coral reefs.
This little paradise, far from mass tourism, has a haven where you can relax: the Intercontinental Resort and Spa. Ideally situated on the north-east coast of the island, sheltered from the prevailing winds, the traditional faré chalets are perfectly integrated into the heart of a luxuriant 11-hectare park, on the edge of one of the island?s most beautiful beaches.
You don't need to be an experienced diver to admire the graceful ballet of leopard rays or the butterfly fish and other damselfish that feed on the coral in the lagoon. You can also choose to swim with the dolphins that the hotel takes in and cares for: a rare treat! Or admire the turtles in the lagoon.
Last but not least, we urge you to take a trip to the spa and leave yourself in the capable hands of the masseuses. In this space, which is entirely open to nature, you can enjoy a traditional Polynesian massage - the taurumi - a body scrub with coconut pulp and a wide range of treatments: flower baths, rain showers, banana leaf wraps, massages with tamanu oil or monoi? For two or just the two of you
Air Tahiti Nui
This excellent Polynesian airline offers up to 7 rotations a week. The journey takes 22 hours, including a two-hour stopover in Los Angeles. From €1,817 return in economy class.
Tel. 0825 02 42 02
Tahiti, Moorea & Bora Bora
12 days from 4600?
Tel.: 01 84 17 21 62
Hotel Intercontinental de Moorea
Tel.: 01 53 43 53 95
Copyright Text and Photos: Brigitte Postel