The Amazing Island Of Huahine
Huahine is a hidden gem in the the cluster of Islands that makes up the Islands of Tahiti. A quick 30 minute flight by Air Tahiti from the main Island Tahiti brings you to a tropical paradise a world of difference from the busy Islands. Throughout the Islands you will experience the Mana or lifeforce and spirit of Polynesians but on this beautiful Island you feel it strongly. With a tiny population, lush green hills, magical blue water, incredible archeological history, beautiful pearls, warm and friendly people this Island is full of little gems to discover.
1- Galerie 'Umatatea
MOTU DE MAEVA, HUAHINE, FRENCH POLYNESIA
What a treat, picked up from our accommodation by Melanie Shook Depre, the artist who produces all the amazing work in this gallery, we were treated to a true local experience. Stopping along the way to be shown local sites before arriving at the most gorgeous gallery with such a range of stunning art. Melanie has a rare talent and an absolute love of art and Huahine which she has made her home for many years now. Not only can you search through the many many paintings but you can also get a reprieve from the sun with the local taro ice cream (very delicious and not at all what you might expect). There was no pressure to purchase anything but it was too hard to leave without a little memento from the huge collection. Truly do not miss this beautiful gallery and meeting the most friendly of hostesses.
2- Nature Song Island B&B
MERI ISLAND, HUAHINE, FRENCH POLYNESIA
This charming B&B, where we stopped off for lunch and a tour of the garden, is full of amazing sights and smells. The garden is beautiful with many gorgeous flowers, herbal plants, bee hives, and a pond where you can enjoy a fish pedicure. There are so many plants that have healing properties and the scent of the flowers is so lovely. Lunch was divine with all local produce and fish caught only hours earlier. This is the place to come and relax in the beautiful surroundings and while we didn't stay here I can just imagine how perfect that would be.
3- Fish traps
HUAHINE, FRENCH POLYNESIA
These amazing structures of stone walls in the river estuaries are built to trap the fish as they swim up stream. The stone walls start far apart and get narrow near the top before becoming a spiral shape that the fish get trapped in. The fishermen have built little shelter huts over the center of the trap and they wait patiently in the shade till they can reach down and collect the fish. It is said that the ancient stone fish traps are considered so sacred that only descendants of the Tahitian royal family can remove them.
4- Maitai Lapita Village Huahine
LAPITA VILLAGE, HUAHINE 98731, FRENCH POLYNESIA
The history of this beautiful luxury hotel is what makes it a true experience to stay here. The name itself “Lapita" is in remembrance of the ancient village that existed for centuries on the site around which the hotel is built. While excavating for the hotel they came across important pottery and other artifacts dating from c. 850 to 1450 AD. This meant a rethinking of the whole site and some very special elements that have been woven in including the design of each bungalow around the fresh water lake which is based around a canoe. They even have a small museum on site where you can see some pretty special things. And on top of all that a beautiful beach to explore right on your doorstep.
5- Motu Trésor
667 FARE ROUTE DE L'AÉROPORT, HUAHINE 98731, FRENCH POLYNESIA
What a treat to find this little hut of history. The owner Franck has spent at least 35 years researching and collecting shells to put together a unique and extremely large collection (over 500) shells that are all local. His tour and explanation, in french or english, will totally change how you think about shellfish. As well as the shells you will find some of the best priced pearls on the Island. As a professional jeweler Franck makes all the pieces himself and can also set pieces for you if you have the time to spend. Easily missed but don't make that mistake.
6- Poe Island Tour: Huahine-Nui
HUAHINE-NUI, FRENCH POLYNESIA
A fantastic way to see the Island is with a 4WD tour. Poe was away in Tahiti so we were treated to the extremely friendly and informative uncle Henri who picked us up nice and early for our half day circumnavigation of the two Islands, Nui the large Island and Iti the small Island. Along the way we heard much about the history of the Island, took in incredible views of the blue blue waters, visited popular spots and took in some of the other sites included in this guide. A real treat for us was when Henri stopped at his own home to bring out beautiful floral headpieces for all the women on the tour. The scent they gave off was heady. Sitting in the back of a 4WD with the cool wind and the incredible views was a perfect way to spend an extended morning. The tour carries on into the afternoon as well so you have a few options to choose from. Spending time on this Island you really begin to understand Mana a single word that evokes the people, culture and lifestyle of Tahiti.
7- Huahine Yacht Club
FARE, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Wandering into town at then end of the day and finding yourself a seat outside looking over the bay is just perfect. Sadly our evening did not deliver us the perfect sunset but you can truly imagine how magnificent it would be. The meals are simple but delicious and a cold beer during happy hour was just perfection. Explore around the jetty which is picturesque all on its on and watch the crabs as they explore the rocks in front of you. You might even get a visit from one of the lovely local tabby cats lovingly looked after by someone close by.
8- Huahine Pearl Farm
LEEWARD ISLANDS, FRENCH POLYNESIA
One of the treats on the Poe Tours was a short boat trip out to this beautiful Pearl Farm set in the middle of a deep lagoon. They told us that in season there are dolphins and even whales that come right in - goodness that would be just the most amazing work place. The family lives in a house just a short boat ride away and all the pearls sold are grown by the family and only sold through this floating gallery.
You are treated to in very short but very informative description of how the pearls are grown. It is a very delicate process and can take many years to get the perfect pearl especially as the oyster will happily spit out anything it does not like! Feel free to browse the shop but we felt absolutely no pressure to purchase.
9- Dining at Maitai Lapita Village Huahine
LAPITA VILLAGE, HUAHINE 98731, FRENCH POLYNESIA
There is so much to enjoy about Maitai Lapita and one of those things is the fresh food. We enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast complete with individually cooked items of your choice as well as a very quick and expertly prepared 'in a hurry' lunch. I have never eaten as much fish as I did while exploring the Islands of Tahiti and the tuna salad I had here for lunch was just so flavourful. Beautifully fresh and perfectly prepared while you look out on the gorgeous bay in front of you.
10- Sacred blue eels at Faie
FAIE, FRENCH POLYNESIA
These eels were also part of our Poe Island tour but they are right beside the road with a photography sign to help you find them. They are pretty impressive with their almost motely colours skin and blue eyes (as long at the sun is out that is otherwise they are black eyed). But the really impressive part was when a tin of fish was sprinkled into the creek where they were and they came out in huge numbers slithering over each other. Presumably when the rain fall rises the creek the children swim with them?? maybe that is just a story.