Reasons to Visit
Tahitian culture is more in evidence now that ever before and not just in the sophisticated dances and performance art but in the revival of symbolic tattoo art through which Polynesians use the dark strong colours to assert their ma'ohi identity.
Rangiroa was described by Jacques Cousteau as the richest aquarium on the planet matched only by the other great Tuamotu lagoons on Tikehau, Manihi and Fakarava; now one of UNESCO's most valued biospheres.
The islands of French Polynesia have long been a melting pot of migrant peoples who have made the most of the ecology and geology of this region of the South Pacific to create sophisticated cultures.
For most people an overwater bungalow set in a turquoise lagoon is the essence of French Polynesia and the reason to travel thousands of kilomtres round the world for the ultimate romantic holiday.
One of the most successful uses of light is visible in the pearl industry in which French Polynesia has become a world leader. The most sought after pearls are from the farms on Taha'a an in the Tuamotus and you may even get a chance to see the incredibly rare black pearls.
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New Zealand & the South Pacific
This is a rough guide to when to travel to this region. Choose a month of travel to see typical temperature and rainfall around the country. The ticks indicate our recommended months to travel.
Located in the tropical zone of the southern hemisphere, French Polynesia enjoys warm temperatures throughout the year, gently influenced by the Austral seasons.
The winter season runs from May to October, with early morning temperatures in the high 20sºC, daytime highs in the mid 30sºC and relatively low humidity. This is the ideal time to visit the islands. The summer season, from November through to April, is slightly warmer but often very rainy.
Both seasons are subject to trade winds which provide a pleasant morning breeze, but are often followed by showers. The islands rarely suffer from tropical storms except during years when El Niño affects ocean currents.
The Austral Islands are some 600km south of Tahiti and every year hundreds of humpback whales visit to reproduce, calve and nurse. From around July each year it's possible to visit to see this once in a lifetime spectacle.
15 Days from £3,810pp
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Further reading:Tours in French PolynesiaItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout French PolynesiaCountry Guides
Other countries in Australasia:AustraliaNew ZealandSamoaThe Cook IslandsFiji
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