Beaches & farniente
Moorea island offers many nice spots to enjoy the crystal waters of its lagoon whether looking for nautic sports, snorkeling or just to get a little sun while relaxing on the white sand beaches.
The best and safest beach for swimming is located at Temae between the Sofitel hotel and the airport but it gets sometimes a little crowded on weekends. A good thing is that you can take the plane from Tahiti and go by foot to Temae beach (from the airport, get on the main island road, make a left and after about 200 meters, take the track that goes through the forest to the beach.
For snorkeling and almost atolls-like white sand beaches, go to the Hauru’s point located between Les Tipaniers and Hibiscus hotels. Two motus facing the beach that cab be reached by boat or canoe (don’t try to cross swimming as the channel there is dangerous)
Le tour de l’île
The island circle tour is an excellent way of discovering the luxuriant landscapes of Moorea. The island tour is 60 km (37 miles) and can be either done by bicycles or by contacting one of the many transports companies organizing this excursion. Starting from Vaiare’s ferry docks and going counter-clockwise (make a right when you get out of the ferry terminal), you will pass by the Toatea viewpoint offering a beautiful sight over the Temae beaches and Tahiti island in the background.
Before you reach the famous Cook’s Bay (at approximately 7 km from the airport) and the village of Paopao, you will see a beautiful White House built at the beginning of the 20th century when the vanilla plantations were, until 1960, one of the major economical resources of Moorea. Don’t forget to make a stop at the Moorea Pineaple Juice factory located a little after Paopao. You will then discover Opunohu’s Bay, wilder than its neighbour, where is located the Kellum’s Garden (visits are conducted by Kellum’s daughter and famous archeologist Marimari).
The rest of the tour will take you to Hauru’s point which is followed by the wildest part of the island along the South coast with the Tiki Village theatre, the 4 Royal maraes and the Afareaitu waterfalls (see below)
Paopao & Opunohu’s Valleys
Two roads lead to the Titiroa & Afareaito maraes and the Belvedere viewpoint. The first one is unpaved and starts just after the bridge of Paopao and the second one – which is paved – at the bottom of Opunohu’s Bay (PK 18). Afareaito marae is famous for its archery platform. The Belvedere viewpoint is located at the end of the road and offers the best view over Cook’s and Opunohu’s Bays.
The 4 Royal maraes
Four maraes arii (royal) have been built along the west and east coast of Moorea : Nuurua (PK 31,5) , Nuupere(PK 14), Umarea (PK 10) and Taputapuatea. Nuurua and Umarea can be visited. Nuupere is located in a private property and its visit requires the authorization of the owner. The last one – Taputapuatea – has been erased by the missioners and replaced by the octagonal church of Papetoai.
Afareaitu’s waterfalls : In the village Afareaitu, take the road between the Ah Sing shop and the bridge (facing the church). The road requires a 4×4 vehicle. When you can’t go any further by car, reaching the waterfalls will require to walk 20 to 30 minutes along the track.
The 3 coconuts walk : one of the nicest walk in the Society Islands that will take you to the crest that separates Mount Mouaroa (880 m) and Mount Tohiea (1207 m) from where you will be able to admire the atoll of Tetiaroa when the weather permits it. The track starts from the Lycee Agricole on the road to the Belvedere. Follow the orange marks (sometimes difficult to find) painted on the trees.