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Moorea

Travel Guide Oceania Polynesia French Polynesia Moorea

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Introduction

Lookout over Temae Beach, Mo'orea

Lookout over Temae Beach, Mo'orea

© All Rights Reserved MrJfromFla

Moorea is one of the gems of French Polynesia. It is located just northwest of Tahiti and is part of the Society Islands, which in turn are part of the Windward Islands of French Polynesia. Just a short hop by ferry or plane, this island is smaller and more quiet compared to Tahiti. It's also more budget friendly and has fantastic diving and other activities to offer.

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Geography

Moorea is located just under 20 kilometres from Tahiti and is an island of volcanic origin. The island is very rugged with jagged peaks that give the island a very characteristic view. On a clear day, arriving by plane, you can have a great overview of the island, but usually there is at least some overcast, especially near the peaks. On the north side you will find two bays, Opunohu Bay and world famous Cook's Bay. Mount Tohivea and Mount Rotui are the highest mountains at around 1200 meter above sea level.

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Cities

Moorea has no cities, but several villages are scattered around the island.

  • Paopao-Maharepa is the biggest village with over 4,000 people living here.
  • Vaiare is another area where many people live, this is also the village where the ferry from Tahiti arrives.

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Sights and Activities

Hey there!

Hey there!

© All Rights Reserved MrJfromFla

  • Belvedere Lookout. From here you can admire the view towards Mount Rotui, Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay. The lookout can be reached from both Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay by taking the road that goes inland. From Cook's Bay part of it is unsealed but in good condition and passable by all cars. From Opunohu Bay the road is sealed all the way to the top.
  • Along the road to Belvedere Lookout you can view some maraes, historical Polynesian sites.
  • Waterfalls: several can be found scattered around the island, most of them require a hike.
  • View towards Tahiti from the hill near the ferry terminal.
  • Going out on a boat, diving, fishing, snorkelling, visiting motus (small deserted islands).
  • Dolphin watching, shark feeding, swimming with rays.

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Weather

The climate of Moorea is tropical. The average temperatures are around 28 °C to 32 °C during the day and still well above 20 °C at night. The hotter months are between November and April and this is also the wet season (peaking in January) with much more rain compared to June to September. Also, occasional tropical storms hit some of the islands during this time, though certainly not every year.

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Getting There

By Plane

Air Moorea and Air Tahiti both fly to Moorea's Temae Airport (International Airport Code: MOZ) from a number of islands, including Bora Bora and Tahiti.

By Boat

There are ferries and catamarans travelling between Tahiti and Moorea several times daily. It takes between half an hour and an hour to travel between Tahiti and Moorea, depending on which company you go with. The car ferries, such as those run by Mo'orea Ferry, are slower than the high-speed ferries, which take only passengers, motorcycles and bicycles. The Ono-Ono has at least four crossings daily. The Aremiti 5 and the Moorea Express travel between Tahiti and Moorea six or more times daily between 6:00am and 4:30pm and this takes only 30 minutes.
You can find more about these ferries on the Tahiti Tourisme website.

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Getting Around

By Car

A rental car gives you maximum freedom and a regular 2wd car is enough to travel around the islands. Fares are pretty steep so it is best to share with several persons. It's a little cheaper to reserve your car rental through the internet. Companies that have cars on Moorea include Hertz, Avis and Budget. Most of the offices can be found at the ferry terminal and the airport, although some upmarket hotels have services as well.

The total distance around the islands is roughly 65 kilometres. Given the maximum speed of 60km/hour, it takes at least around 75 minutes to circumvent the islands. Roads are generally in good condition and sealed all the way.

By Bus

Several buses travel around the ringroad on Moorea. Services are reliable, relatively comfortable (no airco though) and cheap, but they are not as frequent as you wish and don't stop everywhere.

By Boat

Getting around by boat will usually mean that you have to have either your own boat or do an organised trip. Activities include diving, fishing and snorkelling.

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Eat

  • Allo Pizza - If you like thin-crusted, wood-fired pizzas then this is definitely the place to come for lunch or dinner. You can eat in or take away. The only concession to the Tahitian palate is the pizza topped with fresh tuna, garlic, and cheese, while there's French influence behind the "five cheese" pizza with Parmesan, mozzarella, goat cheese, Roquefort, and cheddar. There is also a range of salads and a limited dessert menu. Wonderful baguettes straight out of the oven cost 200 CFP each. Everybody eats here.

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Sleep

Moorea has dozens of places to spend the night, from luxurious bungalows on the water to camping places. Some of the places are surprsingly good value, especially compared to many other islands like Bora Bora.

  • Les Tipaniers offers bungalows for very reasonable prices. If you want some quietness, go for the Tipaniers Iti, about 5 kilometers west of the main hotel.

For a complete overview of places to stay, from budget to luxurious, you can visit the Moorea Island website.

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Pension Motu ItiPihanea MooreaGuesthouse73
Legends Resort Private VillasBP 4546 Papeete Tahiti, HaapitiHotel-

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This is version 17. Last edited at 1:03 on Jan 24, 12 by sleepBot. 8 articles link to this page.

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