Hike to Tahiti’s Hidden WaterfallTahiti, French Polynesia
If you tire of the perfect beaches and wild surf, head deep into the centre of French Polynesia’s main island where few tourists tread. This is “forest bathing” at its best and even better when guided by Moana, one of the island’s few female mountain guides. Having spent 23 days surviving on her own in these mountains Moana is better than Google when it comes to knowledge about the island’s flora. She picks leaves and wild fruit to smell and taste while pointing out caves she slept in while “cleansing her soul” during her 23 days in the wild.
While this starts out an easy stroll you do end up climbing through dense bush and crossing several rivers, so ya reasonable level of fitness is required. The deep breaths and burning thighs are all worth it though once you spot the cascading Fautaua Waterfall through a clearing in the distance.
It spills into a natural amphitheatre with a deep swimming hole below. Lounging in the cool water is the perfect end to a rather sweaty hike. Moana’s jungle platter of mixed fruits soaked in coconut milk and vanilla is a just reward, too.
- The freshest of air
- The solitude and sounds of the valley
- Moana’s passion for “her garden” is infectious
- The nuts and berries picked fresh on the trail
- A swim under the falls
- Your feet will get wet
- This is a hike through some dense bush
- The waterfall pool is a bit chilly (seriously, harden up)
The start of the hike to Fautaua Waterfall is a short 20-minute drive from Tahiti’s capital Papeete.