Raivavae (Îles Australes)

By September 8, 2019 No Comments


Raivavae was our first stop in the Austral Islands. It is a tiny island whose highest point, Mount Hiro, rises to a height of 437m above sea level. The island is surrounded by a beautiful lagoon with lots of motus including the famous “motu pool” that would compete with the lagoon of Bora Bora. On the island there are many “marae” and a single “tiki.” People are very religious and of different denominations (Adventists, Protestants, witnesses of Jeovas …) They live mainly from fishing and fishing. agriculture and sees very few tourists.

We stayed 4 days on the island and left in August 2019. We were lucky with the weather but the best season is from December (plus they party for weeks for the end of the year ).


To come not the choice is Air Tahiti.

Once on site you can walk, hitchhike or rent a bike in a pension. The island is small, it is around in 4-5h on foot.


There are many pensions on the island. You can book before but avoid the pension “Ataha” because the manager is unpleasant and does not seek to help you. Pensions are quite expensive; count at least 5000 xpf. The Odile pension offers studios equipped for 7120 xpf per day.

Camping or Sleeping at Homestay?

Both are possible! People do not necessarily think about it but you can find nice places. For example, in Vaiuru district, ask people near the Protestant temple if you can pitch your tent on the ground. Some people will tell you to put your tents in front of the Vaiuru Town Hall annex. If you are lucky, the owner of the house behind the Protestant temple could welcome you to his home or garden. We camped in the garden of his cousins; it was an amazing experience as we shared many things together. The people of the island are quite reserved but when they opened their doors is a different story! On the circular road there are places to pitch your tent too but without sanitary facilities.


There are mini markets with few things. Bring some sandwich bread and some Tahitian preserves if you want to camp.


What: Beautiful hike to the highest point of the island (437 meters). This hike offers a magnificent panorama of the island and its lagoon.

Where: Vaiuru District.

How: Go to Pension Ataha. From there you will have two options:

  1. Path just before the board: there is a path that leads to an individual so if you cross him ask for permission to continue there.
  2. Trail just after the pension: ask the owner of the pension because she is not nice and she has a big dog.
    If you choose option 1, once at home turn right; cross the river (dry) and to the left you will see a red ribbon. Follow the path that climbs. You will have to quickly find the big black power cable hanging on the trees that will help you to climb more easily.

If you go through the pension it will be much better in the beginning with red paintings on the trees and ribbons. You will then find the black cable.

After the rope, follow the feel (which is obvious) in the ferns.

Difficulty: Medium. It will use your hands and the descent can be slippery. Go with good shoes, water and especially not in bad weather.

Duration: 3-4h round trip.

What: One of the most beautiful motus of Austral and possibly French Polynesia.

Where: Vaiuru District.

How: Ask the pensions or fishermen.

Price: Variable; ask on the spot.

What: Former sacred political, religious and social places. On Raivavae they are often formed of large blocks of vertical stones.

Where: Vaiuru District.

How: There are several on the cross road. Take the path between the church and the nursery school. Go past the sports field (on your right). Continue a few minutes. A first marae will be shown on your right. To see it, take the path behind the sign in the bush. Then take the road and when you reach the White House on your left, look good, it was built on a house marae. The most beautiful marae is in front of this house. Go behind the trees and you will fall on them. It is very large and rectangular with large stones arranged vertically. To the left there is a stone on the ground; tap on it with a small stone and listen to the sound! On the road if you observe well there are other marae buried under the trees and near the houses.

What: Sculpture of human form representing a god or a man-god. Here it is the only one on the island. It is on a promontory. He seems to hold something in his hands that he has close to his belly.

Where: In a private property of Rairua.

How: When you come from Rairua, head to the Flores Louise store. It is in the garden of the property just before.

What: Very beautiful marae with big flat vertical stones. In front we can admire the tomb of a princess.

Where: Vaiuru District.

How: By going to the pension Vaimano (well after the path that leads to the cross road). Walk along the road and look on your left. It’s in a private class.

What: According to the legend, a man and a woman, in order to know who was the strongest, had the mission to bring each one a very big stone in the sea before the first song of the cock. The man, tired, decides to put down his rock and take a nap. The woman, still in good shape, lays her rock in the sea then returns to the man by imitating the rooster’s song. The man wakes up and the woman is declared winner.

Where: In the north of the island.

How: The woman’s rock is a small island that you will see on your right along the road. The Man Rock stands on a beautiful beach between Anatonu and the crossroads.

What: Very beautiful beach of light brown sand and turquoise water.

Where: In the north of the island after the village of Anatonu, after school and before the Adventist temple. You can see the rock of the man and the floating wood.

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