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TAHITI – September 2015

Having not been to Tahiti for over 30 years, my wife and I were really excited to be returning to these French Polynesian Islands. We stepped on board Air Tahiti Nui greeted with a friendly smile and gardenia flower and got to experience their new aircraft. With a great selection of movies, due to the flight time of approximately 4 hours, we managed to squeeze in two movies. The inflight service and food was outstanding, from a shrimp cocktail to chocolate eclairs, with extremely tentative cabin crew topping off a great flight. We even received a small gift which included flight socks & ear plugs!

We arrived to Tahitian singing and warmth which was nice at 10.00pm. After a quick transfer we arrived at the Tahitian Pearl Resort. Apon arrival at our room we were amazed at the sheer size - separate lounge, two toilets, balcony and huge bathroom with his and hers basins. Breakfast was a smorgasbord of cooked, continental including an array of fruit, cheese, hams and pastries. As we sat an devoured our breakfast out in the distance we saw a whale flouricking in the sea. The view from the Tahitian Pearl Resort is breath-taking. Although the sand is black the bay is calm and the waters as pure as those of Bora Bora. Whether you prefer to be pampered in their Day spa, do a spin class in the pool or longboard out around the Bay, the Tahitian Pearl has a very relaxed atmosphere and that makes you feel like you never want to leave.

Our friendly transfer man picked us up and we got to see Papeete in daylight, past the roulettes (likened to Michael Van de Elzen with the food truck) through the little back streets to the Ferry Terminal. There we waited for our Ferry and got to meet a real character who delivers all there is to know about the ferry and the island of Moorea. He was a wealth of knowledge and we got given a great little booklet which has many sightseeing options and eateries. The older of the Ferries the Aremititook us across to Moorea. Sitting out on the top deck a must, this a 45 minute Ferry ride was a lovely time to sit relax and view the beautiful scenery plus sample the local beer – Hinano, very light and easy to drink, made at the local brewery! On nearing Moorea we were amazed at how truly mountainous Moorea was, covered in lush greenery almost like a rainforest. Our next destination was the Sofitel Moorea Beach Resort. We were greeted with a welcome pineapple juice then we got to have a look around this beautiful resort. The over water bungalows were pretty special, set over water with coral and tropical fish, the best place to snorkel. The beach is covered in white sand with a tide that rises less than ½ a metre. With Papeete in the distance, the sea between Moorea & the mainland is so crystal clear and the bluest of blues.

Our garden bungalow was just lovely with its own little deck with a view of the sea, an extremely comfortable bed, big bathroom with a shower that opened out into a little private garden, not to mention the Nespresso for the coffee lovers! Our group decided to eat out and chose the Moorea Beach Café. Set on the beach a delightful restaurant with the most beautiful food, raw tuna that didn’t even taste like fish, NZ steak that melted in your mouth and just when you thought maybe a small Brule is all I can fit in - nothing in Tahiti is done by halves - no ramekin dish here! The rather large dish of Brule was so delicious it was criminal to leave any! Needless to say we left with stomachs bulging but smiles on our faces.

We awoke to a bright day of sunshine and after another amazing breakfast with a couple of helpings of croissants and pastries we had a day to enjoy at our leisure. We chose to pop in to the Moorea village with a Tahitian Pearl in mind. A great little village with eatery’s and many a pearl shop. The Tahitian Pearls have to be seen to be believed, so many variations in colours size and price there certainly is a pearl for everyone taste. Our afternoon was spent by the pool which overlooks the bungalows and the beautiful blue waters, but you are certainly not limited to this with many excursions – jet skiing, ray feeding with beach picnic, 4 wheel drive touring to name a few.

After a glorious day of relaxing we reluctantly left Moorea this time by the Terevau Ferry, a newer Ferry which only takes 30 minutes. Obviously a local favourite, we got to enjoy the ride with the locals and enjoy their Polynesian music as one of them had brought his getto blaster. We rode the waters with a sense of peace, admiring the beautiful scenery before us and the gorgeous Tahitians surrounding us.

On arrival at Papeete we travelled to our last stop the Le Meridian Tahiti. With a fresh fruit juice in hand, from reception we looked down on to the bar area and above it on the roof, a huge pond complete with fish and water lilies. The Le Meriden is beautiful, the whole complex looking out on to the sandy bottomed pool which is surrounded by sand on a man-made mini beach! Our hotel room was lovely with plenty of room and a large bathroom, fresh décor and a comfy bed to guarantee a great night’s sleep. We were lucky enough to strike their Tahitian night which was full of great Polynesian dancing, of an extremely high standard. This being our last night we were sad it had come to an end.

Our Air Tahiti return flight to NZ was on one of their older aircraft. The in-flight service, meal & comfort was again of a high standard.

Tahiti is such a beautiful destination, with a French influence, the most amazing food, waters that are just so blue, pure and clear. A destination that doesn’t have to be expensive, contrary to what many people believe. Tahiti has Roulettes where you can sample the local foods, a supermarket called Carrefour where you can your groceries including beer, wine and delicious baguettes filled with ham, cheese and salad.

I’m sure we won’t leave it another 30 years before we return to this pacific paradise.

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