French Polynesia, Bora Bora in particular, has been a bucket list destination for travellers the world over for decades.
Unfortunately for most Australians it has also been a very expensive place to visit. But, now with the Aussie dollar powering along, this tropical wonderland is more affordable than ever. There is a million ways to do French Polynesia. Bora Bora remains the most luxurious Island and it’s definitely where you want to be, however with 130 islands all within a quick flight, visiting a few different ones while you’re there is a must.
The quickest route for Australians is via Auckland with Air Tahiti Nui. Flights leave twice a week from Sydney International airport and land in the evening so an overnight stay in Papeete is required before heading out to the islands. The Intercontinental Tahiti is beautiful and just a two minute transfer from the airport. It also houses one of Tahiti's best restaurants Le Lotus Gourmet Restaurant .
The next day you can fly directly to Bora Bora, but if you're up for a slight deviation you won’t be disappointed. Moorea is the closest island to Tahiti. It's only a short 40 minute ferry ride away and the scenery is breathtaking. The Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort is by far the pick of the resorts here as it is situated on arguably the best lagoon French Polynesia has to offer. An overwater bungalow here for a few nights will quickly set the scene for a trip of a lifetime.
Sofitel Moorea also boasts one of the best restaurants on any of the islands, K Restaurant. The French influence isn’t forgotten here, with traditionally rich and decadent dishes. I was in France six months earlier and dined at some of Paris’ best restaurants. Not once did I send compliments to the chef. At K I could barely wait until I finished my meal to inform head chef Pierre Sudre how phenomenal his creations were.
From Moorea you can fly to Bora Bora, with one quick stop the whole flight takes around an hour. Once on the ground you’ll enjoy one of the best transfers you’ll ever have. The major hotel chains are represented on Bora Bora so you can choose whichever suits your budget - all have the same stunning view of Bora Bora’s bright blue lagoon.
The Sofitel Bora Bora again is in a prime location. There is a main resort on Bora Bora, Sofitel Marara Beach Resort, and also an exclusive Sofitel Private Island Resort a short boat trip away. Both are located in convenient distance from the island’s main attractions. Every second night tables are put out on the sand of the private island’s beach for an extremely romantic candlelit dinner. It’s open to the public but you must book as there are only five or six tables.
If you’re into relaxing, reading, and getting pampered then you’ll probably never leave your resort. However, if you’re up for some action there’s plenty. Around the island there are heaps of tours and experiences from jet skiing to quad biking. You can learn to dive, kite surf, stand-up paddleboard, or grab some electric bikes and ride around the island. If you only do one activity while on Bora I would strongly suggest a lagoon excursion which includes string ray and shark feeding.
As there is no shortage of hotels dotted around the island so you won’t run out of places to dine. Bloody Mary’s is probably the most famous. Situated on the main island, it used to play host to Hollywood’s most famous in the 80’s, but now it’s more of a tourist spot. If you want to get involved in some local food La Bounty is a must and it’s just a short stroll from the Sofitel’s main resort.
When your holiday comes to an end you’ll probably find yourself wiping tears away as your boat transfers you away from paradise back to the plane which will return you to Papeete. Flights back to Sydney leave early in the morning so you must spend a night in Papeete, which is perfect because the best dining experience is yet to come! Once you've checked into your hotel head straight to Le Coco’s (bookings essential). Set right on the ocean, this truly is a world class restaurant. Explaining it too much will ruin the experience... all you need to know is if you're in French Polynesia - book a table and don't leave without having dessert.