Moorea One Way to do…

My wife and I visited the island of Moorea as part of our South Pacific cruise onboard Silver Spirit.
Moorea was the third island on our itinerary and, like the previous two, was accessed by ship’s tender…
Silver Spirit had  anchored in Cook’s Bay on the northern coastline of the island…
We had, for this visit, decided to hire a car locally as there were a number of locations on the island that interested us and that we wished to spend extended time visiting.
The embarkation point at Cook’s bay is known as Pao Pao…
…and we had arranged with Europcar to be picked up there. Paopao is a small but adequate facility with a small tourist information centre…
…and of course there were many ‘locals’ on hand offering tours…
 …as well as transport for ship’s organised excursions…
 We initially set off in the direction of Vai’are  and the Toatea Lookout…
 Centre piece of the Lookout is a memorial to the 20 victims of  Air Moorea Flight 1121, which crashed shortly after taking off  from Moorea Airport on 9 August 2007 …
 Toatea affords one of Moorea’s most iconic views, that over Temae Beach and the Sofitel La Ora Resort Hotel
Access to Temae Beach was easy in our hire car: but a short drive. From the lookout and the  beach…
…we were able to get our first glimpse of the island of Tahiti (above) in addition to access to the Sofitel Resort…
Moorea is circumnavigated by a coastal road some 37 miles long. We next retraced our route along this coastal road in the direction of Cook’s Bay and continued to follow the coast to the head of Opunohu Bay which, as we will soon see, is almost parallel with Cook’s Bay, before we turned off and headed for the central mountains, our destination – The Belvedere Lookout…
We first stopped at Moorea’s most famous area…
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….. before continuing our climb to Belvedere…
….from where we gazed down onto Opunohu Bay on the left and Cook’s Bay on the right. look carefully and Silver Spririt is there in Cook’s Bay.
And for the short sighted, with the aid of a zoom lens…
There were many visitors at the Belvedere Lookout so it seemed the done thing to assist each other in capturing those valuable images…
My thanks to the Japanese cameraman.
Back at the head of Opunohu Bay I took the opportunity of capturing this image…
It not only sums up the unspoilt natural beauty of Moorea but I’m sure will come in handy later with a little help from photoshop.
So we circumnavigated Opunohu Bay and arrived at the coastal village of Papetoai, famous for its octagonal church which is the oldest in French Polynesia…
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 The Ebenezer Church at Papetoai was originally the site of the Taputaputuatea Marae (a temple for the religion that the local inhabitants used to practice before the missionaries came over).
Of course, missionaries being missionaries, the local religion was banned, and the Taputaputuatea Marae was destroyed and this octagonal church was built on the spot in 1827. This church is the oldest European building in the whole of the South Pacific. This church was renovated towards the end of the 19th century.
The octagonal church at Papetoai was constructed in 1822 with stones from the ancient Tahitian temples that originally occupied the site. Though rebuilt several times, the church is considered to be the oldest European building still in use in the South Pacific.
Almost time for lunch but there was one more stop first, the Tiki Village cultural centre…
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 Sadly for us this day it was closed though we did get to have a look around the complex and saw where they put on their shows…
…and the ‘sand oven’ where they cook the traditional meal that accompany their ‘Dinner and Dance’  shows…
 As if by magic we stumbled upon a waterfront restaurant. I mean to say, who could miss the giant warrior dominating the entrance…
An interesting feature was that it had no name but who cares, we had a beachside table, time in the water, and a lunch that brought together a blend of France and Polynesia, a Mahi-Mahi baguette (very large!!) …
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The owner also took time to explain to us his celebrated G-spot
…the large central stone representing him and his family and each of the smaller stones labelled to indicate each distant mountain peak…
A better perspective…
We had almost circumnavigated the island and had time for one more stop before returning our hire car –  the twin- towered Eglise de la Sainte Famille,  at Haapiti, once the head church on the island…
There was one ‘tourist’ attraction on Moorea that we avoided –  the Rotui fruit juice factory is just off Cook’s Bay.  Heavily promoted as a part of the ship’s excursion, it  just didn’t appeal.
 We saw some beautiful scenery and enjoyed our day out around Moorea. Certainly there is plenty to see and all well worth a visit.
Interestingly though, it was our sailaway that probably wrapped up the beauty of the island…
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3 responses to “Moorea One Way to do…

  1. Brilliant . Thank you for showing me some of the places we missed on our visit two years ago. Moorea is a magical place and a gem in the South Pacific. Lovely photos and information thank you for sharing your experiences .

  2. Brilliant! Thank you for showing me more of Moorea and some of the places we missed out on during our last visit there two years ago.
    Moorea is a magical place. A gem of a place. Thank you for sharing.

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