Island Dreaming? 7 must-do's on Moorea
"A dreamy island getaway that many have not have yet discovered"
There are plenty of different things to keep you occupied on the island of Moorea - from discovering the underwater world in the lagoon to exploring in the mountaineous terrain. Here are our top 7 choices while visiting Moorea. No matter what you choose to do, be sure to have time to switch off from the world and relax in paradise!
1. Lagoon Cruise and Motu Picnic Lunch
If you are going to do one tour on Moorea, this is the one to choose! It is the perfect combination of lagoon cruising, snorkeling, swimming with rays and sharks and includes a delicious traditional Tahitian lunch on a Motu (small island).
Our skipper and guide Tom was a great entertainer and his humor definitely added to the fun of the day. We felt that we got to experience so many unique elements on this tour which gave us a great initial insight into the island of Moorea.
2. Spoil yourself and stay in an Overwater Bungalow
Something that is on many bucket lists around the world - tick off this luxurious experience for a more affordable price at Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa. While it may be more expensive than a normal hotel stay, the views you wake up to each morning are worth it in itself.
Start your day with a dip in the ocean and end your day watching the stars while listening to the sound of the gentle ocean rippling beneath your feet and the sound of the distant waves from your balcony.
During the day you are able to snorkel right at your front door where you'll find an abundance of stunning corals and bright coloured fish. After a snorkel you can retreat onto your balcony and spend the afternoon reading, and tanning.
This was a stay that was high up on our bucket list and we are so stoked we have been able to tick it off.
3. Adventure over the lagoon on a stand up paddleboard
While most hotels offer stand up paddleboards and kayaks for hire for free, there is only a certain area that you are able to explore. We took a tour through the lagoon and to an exclusive island which allowed us to go that extra bit further into the lagoon out to discover some hidden gems that can't be done without the help of an experienced guide that knows the currents, weather conditions and reef layout.
We paddled over beautiful coral where we could clearly spot all of the colourful fish that call these ecosystems home. Stingrays glided beneath our boards and friendly black tip reef sharks circled inquisitively. We then put on our snorkels and flippers and dived in for a swim with them. The rays in particular are just like pet dogs, they are looking for affection (or food) and swim right up on you. At first this took a bit to get used to, but after you understand they are not a danger, it's an incredibly natural interaction.
From the lagoon, we made our way past some luxurious homes and into a canal where we could pick fresh mango, avocado and perfume rich flowers.
While tours like this aren't usually our thing, this completely exceeded our expectations and in the end we were stoked that we did it. We went to areas that we wouldn't have been able to get to on our own, while our guide Mathieu explained some super interesting facts about the region we were paddling over.
4. Go whale watching
(in a place where you're also able to swim with them!)
Set out for a morning or afternoon of whale watching just outside the reef surrounding Mo'orea. The spotting is done all with the naked eye, which is always a good sign that there are an abundance of whales in the region. Once they are spotted, you slowly approach the whales to see whether they are interested in engaging with you. Some are on a mission and swim off, while others put on a fantastic show as they leap out of the water and thunder back down with a huge splash.
We spotted between six and 10 whales in different pods on our trip. What made it so unique was that we were in one of the few regions of the world where these Humpback Whales actually give birth and you can spot them with their newly born calves.
A pod of three humpback whales soon became very interested in us and made their way over to our boat. They were popping up right next to us and this is where our skipper gave us a thumbs up to say the conditions were suitable to dive into the ocean with them! We rapidly began putting on our snorkels and fins and before we knew it we were in the water with these incredibly huge 15m giants. The adrenaline was pumping through our veins like never before and we got so caught up in the moment that we forgot about holding the camera still and getting some video/photos. While we would have loved to capture the moment to keep with us and share with you all, this was not a situation to be consumed by getting a 'perfect shot'. It is over before you know it and the memory will still last forever in our minds.
This was such an unexpected surprise on our trip as it's not so publicly advertised that you are able to swim with them - provided the conditions are right for swimming, it's the most unreal experience!
5. Explore the island in an open-top roadster
Moorea has a 62km road following the coast, making this the perfect choice for exploring the island in a day. With 4, 8 and 24 hour hire options we recommend going with the 8 hour period so you have the perfect balance of taking in all of the sights while being able to beach hop along the way.
Make sure to take the turn off at Opunohu Bay that makes its way up the mountain to the Belvedere Lookout. From here you'll discover some magic views out to both Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay. The morning is the best time to do this as the cloud generally tends to form later in the day which can obstruct the view. It's also a good opportunity to stop off at one of the islands fresh juice factories, for a delicious tasting. Another must-see stop is at Toatea Lookout with views that expand out over the lagoon, Temae Beach and over to the neighbouring island of Tahiti.
Tip: Circumnavigate in an anti-clockwise direction which will allow you to have the best views of the coast as it's just metres away on your right hand side.
6. Take a dip in the crystal clear waters of Temae Beach
This is hands down the most incredibly clear water on the island. Situated in a huge lagoon, the beach is ideal for swimming laps or simply floating in the warm water. There isn't much coral close to the shore so you will need to wade a fair way out to reach somewhere you can snorkel. After a swim there are many shady palm trees nestled along the beach that are perfect for an afternoon of reading.
Just above Temae Beach is the stunning Toatea Lookout that gives you a magnificent view of the lagoon, the Sofitel Hotel, Temae Beach and even over to Papeete, Tahiti - be sure to walk or drive up there when you're visiting the area.
7. Experience a magical island sunset
Appreciate the simple things while on your exotic getaway and take time to sit down with a cocktail and enjoy the sunset and the colours it paints the sky. We were lucky enough to experience many of these magic moments while staying on Moorea. One of the beauties of an island sunset is watching the light reflecting over the ocean leading to the horizon and the calm it brings over the region as the wind dies down to next to nothing. Island life is all about relaxation, rejuvenation and appreciating those simple things that matter.
We had an absolute blast on Moorea! One important thing to remember is to not fill your itinerary up with activities, to make sure that you get ample time to relax and rejuvenate while enjoying island life.
If you have any questions about these activities or are interested in hearing more, get in touch with us here.
For more travel information on The Islands of Tahiti visit www.tahitinow.co.nz