This is a famous international surfspot. Its supposed to be better than Northshore in Hawaii. When we got here there were alot of kids body surfing here and the waves were so so. I was expecting the waves to be much bigger.
This is called Point Venus because it is here that Captain Cook set up an observatory to watch the transit of venus across the sun during his second trip to Tahiti. The observatory was later converted to a lighthouse. The site also includes monuments to Cook and to Capt Bligh and the Bounty crewRelated to:
- Historical Travel
West coast - Maraa Grottoes
The 3 caves of Vaipori, Mata Vaa, and Te Ana Tetea are situated right along the road in fact. They shelter a little lake with black stagnant waters and used to be called «Entrance to the Underworld».
Little bridges and stream along the path make the spot enjoyable. The caves are covered in with vegetation, mainly ferns.
Stop to visit if you drive by, on your way to some place else, but otherwise it is not really worth it...
You can't miss the big carpark in front of the grottoes.
East coast - Beach on Tahiti Iti
We decided to rest for one more hour on this beach to end our visit around Tahiti. One more swim before taking the plane back home. The place had nice black sand and gentle waves. This is the last Polynesian beach we saw …but I can’t remember the name :-)
East coast - Arahoho Blowhole (Trou du Souffleur)
A really funny geological curiosity! The blowhole is a lavatube that opens into the sea. As the waves of the ocean rush into this tunnel, they also compress the air inside, causing a mix of air and water to be violently blown out of the hole that’s on the ground, next to the cliff. Be very careful, this blast that comes out is really powerful ! And the “sidewalk” is very narrow…
This water drizzle is also blown on the overlooking platform on the other side of the road... and on anyone that leans there to watch the crashing waves :-)
The landscape around this viewpoint is also breathtaking. It’s really worth a stop. A wonderful contrast between black sand, blue sea and green palm trees ! I simply love it...
East coast - The 3 waterfalls of Faarumai
The way is quite slippery and you’ll come across loads of mosquitoes… but the walk is very pleasant through that refreshing vegetation.
You’ll walk on a charming wooden bridge and through a bamboo forest on the way to the first waterfall. The path winds along a romantic little stream, which agreeably cools the heat, until your reach the waterfalls of Haaaremare Iti, Haaaremare Rahi, and Vaimahuta
Easy access to the first waterfall. The access to the two other waterfalls is a bit more challenging.
My husband dared a short swim in the refreshing water, although it is now forbidden.
East coast - Point Venus and lighthouse
Point Venus (la Pointe de Vénus in French) is the place where Captain Cook first shored in Tahiti.
James Cook had brought along wit him a British astronomer, Charles Green. Together, they hoped to study the transit of Venus across the sun on June 3rd, 1769.
Later on, a lighthouse was build on the spot (1867). It used to be 25 m high, but is 7 m higher since 1963. It is still in use today
Nice beach, again with black sand, along Matavai bay.
East coast - tomb of King Pomare V
A coral pyramid build on the grounds of an ancient marae near the sea. The coat of arms of the Pomare Kingdom is engraved on the door. Nice view on Matavai bay.
Pomare V was the last king of the royal family that reigned in Tahiti for more than two centuries. He abandonned his territories to France in 1880.
Tahiti Iti - Teahupoo beach
This is a world-renowned surfing location, the beach has some of the best waves in the world…
The landscapes around are fabulous, the beach really is at the end of the road that follows the west coast of Tahiti.
West coast - Taharuu Papara Beach
We could already marvel at the huge waves from a distance, as we neared this beach! We took some rest on the black sand beach (which is of volcanic origin) while watching the show of the surfers. I particularly liked the contrasting colors of the landscape at this place.
We drove on along the western coast of Tahiti and found this nice building on the side of the road. I stopped to take a picture of what I thought to be a church...unfortunately I couldn't find its name. But I liked the colors and architecture of it, especially its cute balcony :-)
West coast - Bath of Vaima
Not very easy to find, just near the Vaima stream.
Walk along the stream, after you parked on the little carpark with shops. The baths are at the end of the stream, a sort of bubbling bath in the middle of the water. The legend says that bathing in it will leave your skin as soft as a baby's...
West coast - Marae Arahurahu
Located in the district of Paea, this marae has been well restored and maintained. Nested in a valley, the place is really quiet and peaceful, surrounded by abundant vegetation.
The Tiki (polynesian statue) at the entrance is the guardian of the site. Various painted wooden totems, the “unus”, are scattered throughout the marae. You can see as well the fare for the priest and the altar build in a the form of a pyramid.
Historical reenactments also take place at the marae Arahurahu.
See my general tip on the French Polynesia page for more information about marae.
West coast - Public beach
After the museum, we wanted to take some rest on the public beach of Punaauia, but I’m not sure this is where we effectively stopped… anyway, we enjoyed the walk on this black sand beach, with the view on Moorea in the distance.
West coast - Museum of Tahiti and her islands
A very interesting museum divided into 4 sections. The first one thoroughly describes how the Polynesian atolls are formed. Various instructive displays and maps show their geology, fauna and flora and teach you why certain species and plants, rather than other, develop better on Polynesian grounds. There are very few endemic species in French Polynesia because the islands were born from the ocean, and thus were never bound to the continent. So only very tough birds, insects and marine species could reach those remote islands thanks to their light weight, enabling them to better travel than other species. The few mammals that live there have been introduced by man.
I was particularly impressed by the scaled display representing the atolls of Polynesia... it clearly showed that atolls are like icebergs, and that in fact the biggest part of them lies underwater !
The second section describes the conditions of living and everything related to the habits of life and worship. You can see how an outrigger canoe is made, admire giant tikis, and the different varieties of roofs (either made of interlaced coconut leaves or stacked pandanus leaves) as well as everyday life artifacts.
The third room is dedicated to all the sailors related to the discovery and history of French Polynesia, and to the priests who founded the first catholic communities.
The fourth section is dedicated to the Polinesian dynasties.
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