Bahia, Moorea, Society Islands, French Polynesia

Iconic View of Moorea

The island of Moorea (pronounced Moe-oh-ray-ah) lies only about 10 miles from Tahiti.  The profile shown above is familiar to anyone who has seen the movie, South Pacific.  From this viewpoint, Moorea may well qualify as the most beautiful island in the world.

We first saw this gorgeous island in 2008, and were really looking forward to a return visit.  Since both of us had done a shark and/or stingray trip on our first visit, we opted for a 4x4 safari adventure that would introduce us to the interior of the island.  The classic peaks that make Moorea readily identifiable, are visible and recognizable from everywhere on the island.  The only part of the excursion that was a bit hair-raising was the very first part.  We were in the back of a pickup truck fitted with benches and a roof, and the road we were on was essentially paved ruts with speed bumps and hairpin turns.  After we got a ways up the mountain, our driver suddenly started backing up a steep hill, to where three other similar vehicles were already parked.  He was able to stay on those paved ruts with no trouble, which was very impressive.  Once out of the vehicle we had a rather steep climb to get up to the two lookout points of the place called Magic Mountain.  The view here was absolutely spectacular.  We could see our ship in the harbor below, and… we could hear the bell that signals a PA announcement.  We had only 6 people in our tour vehicle, so we had a chance to get to know each other and our guide, who had a great sense of humor.

Moorea actually has two harbors:  one for small ships called Cook’s Bay; the other one is Opunohu Bay, where we were anchored.  The only time we were able to see both bays at once was from the Belvidere lookout, which is right in the middle of the old volcano. Once again the views were spectacular.  In between these two great lookout points we went to a distillery, where we got to taste a couple of liqueurs, and could buy them if we so desired.  Apparently they no longer take tour groups through the actual distillery.  We also stopped briefly at a pineapple plantation to learn about how pineapples grow.  The next place we stopped was at the agricultural school, where they make and sell jams.  We got to taste those, and again could buy them if we wanted, but did not do so.  Our final stop before heading up to Belvidere was at a Marae site.  A Marae is a Polynesian temple, built out of stones.  This site had quite a few temples.  We walked to the end of the path so we could see all of them.  Here and at Magic Point, we were glad that we have experience with climbing the rocks at Hueco Tanks.  That experience made the trails easy for us.  We did get a little rain while we were on the island.  Fortunately for us, it was mild and happened only when when we were on the truck.  While we were eating dinner and sailing away from the island we experienced a deluge of rain.  So glad we didn’t get caught in it while touring!!

When one sees an island as beautiful as Moorea from the sea, the question arises as to whether the interior of the island matches what you see on approach.  The answer this time was that the island is consistently beautiful throughout.  Since the population on this island is small, it would be a great place to come for a peaceful, relaxing vacation.  Our experiences here, on both our visits, has been such that we would be very happy to visit again.

View from Magic Mountain

© Susan L. Stone 2015