Explore the heart of the South Pacific
French Polynesia Holidays
Not one, but five groups of islands, French Polynesia sprawls across 4,000 square kilometres of the Central Pacific. From the forest-clad peaks of ‘high islands’ to the turquoise necklace of coral atolls draped through the Tuamotu Archipelago, this is paradise in many beautiful guises.
The Society Islands form the most populous and well-known island group including the largest island, Tahiti, which is on the same time zone as Hawaii, as well as Moorea and idyllic Bora Bora. In contrast, the little-visited Marquesas lie nearly 1000 miles north-east, a chain of 12 mountainous islands jutting sharply above the indigo-blue Pacific.
French Polynesia in pictures
With direct flights from Auckland and Los Angeles, whether you visit on relaxing tropical stopover or take a voyage of discovery around remote islands, French Polynesia offers contrasting experiences.
Best Time to Visit French Polynesia
Scattered across the South Pacific, the islands of French Polynesia enjoy a tropical climate with two seasons: hot and humid from November to March; drier and slightly cooler from April to October. Even in the wettest month of January, rain usually falls in brief, tropical downpours, with humidity tempered by Pacific trade winds. On Tahiti, average temperatures range from 23°C to 26°C.
The shoulder months of May to June and September to October are pleasant and a good time to visit, being slightly less busy than the peak months of July and August.
The more equatorial islands of the Marquesas experience a different rainfall pattern, with far less during rain during the summer months of November to March.
April: Ori Tahiti Festival – traditional Polynesian dance
May: Matari’i Raro – harvest festival/beginning of dry season
July: Heiva i Bora Bora – song, dance and sport festival
Where to visit in French Polynesia
Formed over a million years ago, when two oceanic volcanoes emerged above the Pacific close enough to form a single island, Tahiti has a distinctive figure-of-eight outline. The cultural heart of the Society Islands, the island has a contemporary Polynesian buzz, particularly in the lively capital of Pape’ete, which boasts a beautiful harbour, lush gardens, unique boutiques, friendly food trucks and colourful market stalls.
Embrace the Tahitian culture on a visit to Pape’ete
Take to the water snorkelling, paddleboarding or surfing
Join a tour of the island visiting Point Venus where Captain Cook landed
Sip a cocktail and watch the sunset over nearby Moorea
Less than 20km from Tahiti, this gem of an island is more mellow than its big sister. The soaring peaks are equally spectacular, but Moorea trumps Tahiti with its idyllic turquoise lagoon and white-sand beaches. This Pacific island paradise is ideal for anyone seeking calm and tranquillity. Unwind at one of the beautiful resorts and enjoy time to leisurely explore.
Stay in a overwater bungalow and enjoy the meandering pace of life
Encounter stingrays and turtles snorkelling in the crystal clear lagoon
Explore the lush valleys, fruit plantations and colourful flowers
Stroll along peaceful, pristine white sand beaches
The pearl of the Pacific, Bora Bora, lies 270 kilometres northwest of Tahiti and is home to one of the worlds most beautiful lagoons… an irresistible swirl of turquoise and indigo draped around a central island of jungle-clad basalt spires. Heaven for honeymooners, Bora Bora is also a perfect match for adventure seekers looking for diving, snorkelling, sailing, 4WD tours and hiking.
Discover the marine wonders of the impossibly turquoise lagoon
Enjoy breakfast on the balcony of your private overwater bungalow
Circle the island on a 4x4 safari and marvel at panoramic vistas
Explore the lagoon by kayak, paddleboard or glass-bottom boat
Small Ship Cruising in French Polynesia
A world away from the luxury resorts and languid lagoons of Moorea and Bora Bora, the Marquesas are brooding and majestic. Riven by rainforest-smothered canyons and fringed by sea cliffs and white and black-sand beaches, this far-flung archipelago is a natural paradise.
Steeped in Polynesian culture, beautiful carvings, jewellery and tattoos are traditional hallmarks, while the islands also boast fascinating archaeological sites and a rich culture of dancing, festivals and story-telling.
Experience the islands’ traditional vibe and meet the friendly locals on a 12-night cruise onboard the Aranui V – the so-called ‘Freighter to Paradise’, which is part cruise-ship, part supply vessel.