So Belvedere should be on everyone list if you are spending time exploring Moorea.
There are two roads that start off going to Belvedere that eventually merge Like an a Y. One road starts by Paopao. This road is crap, bumpy, unpaved. No good for your rental car. Take the road that starts in Opunohu Bay. Its paved. You pass some fields with various animals as you make you way up the hill. Once to the top you will get great views. Also a trend appears for lovers to take a lock with your name engraved on it and lock it on the top. You can see my pictures to understand what I'm talking about.
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One of the best places to enjoy the views of Moorea is from the Belvedere, which I believe is Italian for "Great View". It is all of that and more. From here you can see a view of Cook's bay, all the mountains that create Moorea's volcano and also most of the water view on this side of the island.
There is a small shop at the top for drinks and ice cream, and there is a nice bench to sit and enjoy the view. Almost all the street signs on Moorea in the general vicinity will tell you how to get there from Cook's Bay!
Right as soon as we got our rental car the lady who gave us the car told us to hurry up and get to the Belvedere Lookout so we can see the sunset. She said it was the most amazing thing. She said you have to get there by 5:30pm. We looked at our watches and had just enough time.
To make a long stong alittle shorter, no, we didnt make it. We missed it by just a few minutes. I was so bummed out. Regardless though, it was still a beautiful sight. You can see Mount Rotui in the middle and the two baysCook's Bay and Opunohu Bay on either side.
We had a simple map that they gave us at the car rental company. We followed the road to Belvedere and had no problem. There was a point where we thought we were going in the wrong direction because the road as you go up the mountain curves, goes up, goes down, swings around. But we asked anyone who was around and they assured us that we were on the right path.
This is probably the best overall view on the island. The imposing sight of Mt. Rotui lies before you, and behind you there is an equally incredible mountain landscape, much of it likely to be shrouded in clouds. The road going up is steep, and for those who attempt to do this by bicycle, as I did, you will be in for quite a workout. There is very little roadside shelter, so the sun could also pose a bit of a problem.
At the lookout itself, there is a small snack stand where you can purchase, among other things, water. I mention this because I had to walk my bike up the last portion of the road to the lookout, and I was about ready to collapse until I saw the snack stand. Anyone who goes up here the same way I did will appreciate this.
On the way up to Belvédère, in the Opunohu Valley, there are some marae that make for a fascinating side trip. If you have the time, be sure to see these.
The Belvedere is almost in the middle of the island. It is quite elevated and the road up is pretty steep. We saw some very tired and overheated looking cyclists attempting to get up the road as we drove past them in our air-conditioned car ;-)
The Lookout Point (Le Belvedere) looks down onto Mount Rotui (seen in this photo between the two coves) and Cook's Bay on the right of it, and Opunohu Bay on its left. There is some debate as to whether Captain Cook actually landed in Cook's Bay, but he certainly was in the area.
Moorea is almost a heart shaped island - as in the classic loveheart shape, but whereas a classic loveheart would dip down in the middle at the top, Moorea has an extra bit sticking up here. If this doesn't make sense, the Kilometre posts all around Moorea are in the shape of Moorea and are quite quaint.
The Kilometre Post here was taken at the Belvedere which is the lookout point (see later tip). A cockerel was scratching around by the post, so I thought it would make a nice picture.
For the purpose of this tip, it at least gives you an idea of the shape of the island. Most of the tips here are based around the coastal road which goes all the way around the coast. The coves at the top obviously increase the journey distance quite considerably as it involves driving all the wat around both of them.
From Cook's Bay there is a dirty red road leading you to the interior of Moorea, the Pao Pao valley and finally to the Belvedere look-out point.
The valley is covered with pineapple plantations, forests of mahogany, teak, acacia and mangoes.
On this spot you will have a great panorama view of Opunohu Bay on the left and Cook's Bay on the right, separated by Mount Rotui in the middle. For the entire view click here
From here, there are hikes to the wild waterfalls and the exhuberant nature.
And for the tourists, there is a little stand with drinks, snacks and souvenirs :-).
This is a must when visiting Moorea.
This look-out point is located at the heart of the island at about 500 m (1,500 ft) in altitude. It is easily accessible by road via two roads, one from Cook's Bay, going through pineapples fields in the center of the island, the other road from Opunohu, going through Moorea's natural preserve and the land of the Agriculture School along many archeological sites.
The viewpoint called Belvedere is definitely worth the trip! At Cook's bay, there is a small village called Paopao, where the road going to the Belvedere Lookout begins. It takes quite awhile to get up there and it is slow going, because the road is not paved. There are alot of holes in the road and rocks and rubble strewn about, so you really should take it slow. Be careful if it rains, it could get quite muddy and in that case I definitely would not recommend the road. Once up at the lookout, you have a great view of Mt. Rotui and you'll be able to see the two bays---Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay.
Make your way up to Belvedere for the very best view of the two well known bays and the Opunohu valley.
Join a local tour or get a cab and take a slow drive up to the high peak, passing through lush forests and pineapple and taro plantations.
Half way up to the Belvedere lookout we stopped to have a look at the beautiful rainforest. It was lovely in the shade out of the hot sun.
We went on trip up the mountain to Belvedere lookout. You can see beautiful Cooks Bay from there.