For a special occasion, cruise away to Tahiti.

For a special occasion, it’s hard to go past in Tahiti. Indeed when author James Michener entered Moorea’s Cook’s Bay, surrounded by dramatic mountain peaks, he said the scene was exactly what he had in mind when he “invented” Bali Hai, a special island, immortalised in the musical South Pacific. Moorea was featured in the film as was Bora Bora.

And the famous tagline “Tahiti looks nice” for an Australian TV commercial promoting luxury soap was visual short-hand for evoking how this French Polynesian island group had become the dream holiday location; how Tahiti is now close to the top of the bucket list for many.

Fortunately, getting to this exotic destination these days is less a pipe dream and a far easier reality. From Australia, your Tahiti holiday starts with almost direct flights with one stop or two short stops (around one hour) in New Zealand; Air Tahiti Nui as well as Air New Zealand with Virgin Australia and Qantas will take you there. Direct flights also connect Tahiti to other major destinations including Los Angeles, Paris, Honolulu, Tokyo, Rarotonga, Easter Island and Nouméa.

You can easily fly here but why not enjoy a different taste of luxury? Cruise away to this island paradise. No need to worry about transfers or the hassle of moving rooms! Cruise coral-fringed lagoons and snorkel, swim or relax in the warm tropical waters, all at your own leisure.

Explore the natural wonders of Tahiti as well as its fascinating culture in comfort on, for example, Aranui Cruises. Aranui 5 cruises to nine islands around Tahiti with 17 ports of call on the 14-day voyage. The 103 comfortable cabins and suites all have en suites and air-conditioning while the new vessel’s many deluxe cabins also feature a private balcony. A tip – for those looking for an economical option for their Tahiti holidays, shared dormitory style cabins are also available.
Spread over eight decks, the casual dining restaurant uses local fresh produce to create tasty dishes. Kick back and chillax in one of four bars, the lounge or library. Activities include dance classes as well as history, art and culture presentations. Relax and cruise away your cares!

Whether you opt to indulge your Tahitian holiday by staying at a motu or explore by cruising the sea, you’ll first arrive at Tahiti’s international airport. The Faa’a International Airport is located on Tahiti Island, 5km from Tahiti’s capital of Papeete. In addition, domestic carrier Air Tahiti transports passengers to around 40 local destinations, including popular choices of Raiatea/Rangiroa, Huahine, and Bora Bora.

Fifty shades of blue

It’s on Bora Bora that the tropical island fantasy and ideal Tahiti holiday greets you. An almost surreal-looking tranquil lagoon glows many shades of blue, protected by an amazing coral reef. This oasis, encircled by more than 30 small islands with dozens of overwater resort bungalows, in turn surround the classic, cloud-shrouded volcanic peak of Mount Otemanu.

Perfection describes the weather! Plenty of sunshine blesses Tahiti throughout the year with just enough rain to keep the vegetation lush and the exotic flowers colourful. The same ones that grace artists’ canvases – and feature in the traditional leis that greet you on arrival for your Tahiti holiday. With temperatures from 24 to 30 degrees Celsius and surrounding waters of around the same blissful warmth, the whole of Tahiti is a fabulous outdoor tropical spa!

For an indulgence and special occasion, it’s hard to go past the Intercontinental group of hotels. With spectacular views of Mount Otemanu, the five star InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa has elegant, luxurious overwater villas, lush tropical gardens and offers a choice of water sports and activities. Being eco-friendly, deep-sea water is used in its air-conditioning system for cooling. From the same nearby South Pacific deep-sea waters, nutrients are created and used in the resort’s Deep Ocean Spa – Tahiti’s first seawater therapy spa.

Want a four-star Bora Bora option for your Tahiti holiday? Near a gorgeous beach is the InterContinental’s Le Moana Resort with stylish overwater bungalows extending over the turquoise lagoon.

If you’re a nature lover, over on Moorea in a sheltered bay between the mountains and the sea is the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa. Among 18 hectares of lush, unspoiled scenery featuring over 200 plant and tree species, spacious bungalow are set. Want to be pampered? Why not? That’s what a Tahiti holiday is all about! Indulge yourself at the original Tahiti spa, the renowned Hélène Spa. Also there’s an exciting choice of restaurants, bars and boutiques. For kids and adventurous big kids, there’s the Moorea Dolphin Centre, a turtle care centre, a dive centre, and water sports facilities.

Want to be closer to town and shopping but still indulge in the Tahiti holiday fairy tale? Your answer is the four-star InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa! In Papeete on Tahiti’s main island, this resort is only two kilometres from the airport and city shopping. Showcasing a lush 25-hectare tropical garden, a choice of overwater bungalows, lagoon-view and garden-view rooms, the  premium accommodation offers panoramic views over sparkling ocean and stunning Moorea.

Looking for authentic souvenirs? Well, speaking of Papeete, you need to drop by its municipal market, Le Marché. Open daily from 7.30am to 6pm (Sundays until 9am), this is the place for local Tahitian products and produce. Woven hats, shell necklaces and baskets are sold on the ground floor. Go upstairs and you’ll find pareos, carvings, quilts, and other handicrafts.

If you’re feeling hungry, not far is Vai’ete Square. Famous for informal dining, colourful food wagons serve favourite local island dishes as well as French and Chinese cuisine.

Want to get a fabulous overview of Tahiti holiday highlights? Take a circle-island tour! Popular for over 100 years, the route covers over 114km of stunning coastline and cliffs with tranquil beaches. Famous stops include waterfalls, lookouts and fascinating heritage sites.

So follow in the footsteps of artist Paul Gauguin and writer Robert Louis Stevenson, experience the relaxed Polynesian way of life and enjoy the vacation of a lifetime. The ultimate exotic getaway, a Tahiti holiday is a perfect romantic destination as well as a tropical visual feast.

Aranui Cruises

As one of the few remaining cargo cruises in the world, Aranui Cruises offers a South Pacific adventure with a difference and is the most authentic way to experience French Polynesia.

The cruise line’s 125-metre-long mixed cargo and passenger vessel Aranui 5 delivers vital supplies to the six inhabited Marquesas Islands – Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Tahuata, and Fatu Hiva – while guests disembark to explore complimentary shore excursions including hikes, traditional feasts, 4WD tours, archaeological sites and local markets. Everywhere the ship calls, local villagers welcome Aranui’s guests ashore and invite them to explore their piece of paradise.

Steeped in history, ancient customs and intrigue, the Marquesas Islands are the northernmost of Tahiti’s five archipelagos. Lying nearly 5000km from the nearest continental land mass, they have long lured explorers, artists and authors; guests follow in the footsteps of French artist Paul Gauguin, Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson as well as renowned explorer, Thor Heyerdahl. The regular 12-day roundtrip cruise also visits idyllic Tuamotu atolls such as Rangiroa, Fakarava, Makatea and Kauehi, as well as Bora Bora in the Society Islands, offering plenty of time for snorkelling, swimming or just relaxing in the warm tropical waters.

New cruises to the untouched Austral Islands offer luminous lagoons, heart-warming island hospitality, tropical feasts, Polynesian culture, exquisite wildlife and jaw-dropping volcanic vistas. Aranui’s southern voyages are the only way to see all five inhabited Austral Islands including Tubuai with its bright blue lagoon and the Bounty’s first stop; Rurutu where you can swim with whales; Rimatara where you may spot the endangered red lorikeet; Raivavae, known as the Bora Bora of the south; and Rapa Iti, a volcanic caldera which is only accessible by sea, with Aranui 5 currently the only local cruise ship allowed to visit.

Spread over eight decks, accessible by two elevators, Aranui 5 offers 103 comfortable rooms, each featuring an ensuite, air-conditioning, flat screen television and safe. Most cabins enjoy a private balcony. A casual dining restaurant serves delicious dishes, using fresh, local produce. Relax in one of the four bars, lounge or library; enjoy informative talks on history, art and culture from a guest lecturer; try your hand at traditional weaving or ukulele, or take dance lessons.

Passengers can also get the ultimate souvenir during their Aranui cruise – a traditional tattoo from the Polynesian tattoo artist onboard.

Most of Aranui’s crew are from the islands the ship visits, so guests are immersed in the Polynesian culture from the moment they board the ship in Papeete, and leave feeling like they are part of the family.