Schlagwort-Archive: around the world

Huahine – first stop in French Polynesia

Ia Orana French Polynesia! Reunited and ready to explore a new country… We arrived in Huahine very exhausted: We had spent the night at Papeete airport, trying (and failing) to get some sleep and after Mathijs’ luggage didn’t arrive, we had spent the night and morning shouting at various Air Tahiti Nui employees until someone would realize, yes it is their fault they lost it and yes we are entitled to some money. Luckily in the end we did get money indeed because since Mathijs is carrying the majority of our tent, we would have been “homeless” otherwise, with all rooms being fully booked or unaffordable for us. So when we landed in Huahine, we were hoping that our pension where we had reserved the camping would have some kind of room available for us for a night. Well… they didn’t show up at the airport and seemed to not know anything about the booking for camping. Then they said something about some lady not being there anymore, then it was possible again and in the end they offered us a bungalow for almost the same price because they said it’s too wet and rainy during the night! The couple who runs Pension Tenahe Toe Toe is super sweet and caring, communication was just a bit difficult because they only spoke English and my French is very rusty (Mathijs’ French is non-existent). But anyways – we had a place to stay, right by the water!

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The first day was a bit grey and windy, but we still set out to explore the area around our accommodation a bit. We hitched a ride down to Avea Bay beach and then walked further to the tip of Huahine-iti where a marae is located. I had hoped for a bit more, bit it really didn’t look that great or interesting and there were just some drunk locals hanging out.

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So we made our way back to our accommodation (hitchhiking worked well) where we found our hosts just as drunk, grilling a whole calf on a spit. They invited us to join for dinner and drinks which was fun but also a bit exhausting given how drunk they were. Lol.

Next morning, we hitched a ride to the main town Fare where the scooters are cheapest to rent at Isabelle Location – and in great condition! We had already seen a bit of the island the day we arrived and it looked very promising even though it was pouring down that moment. So we were very excited to explore the island by ourselves with loooots of photo stops! We first drove up past the airport to another marae, which also wasn’t that interesting for us though. Further on, we crossed a bridge to motu Ovarei. At the location of the old Sofitel, there’s some pretty streches of beach, beautiful clear water and awesome views. I’m wondering how that hotel got abandoned!?

We chilled there for a bit, and I tried snorkelling – but the current was too strong for me without fins. Supposedly this is one of the best snorkel spots on Huahine though! We then continued our way back to the main island, passing some really pretty views along the way. Sometimes we only drove a couple of meters before stopping again to take yet another photo!

Our next “planned stop” was the pearl farm. It’s on a little hut sitting in the middle of a lagoon and there’s a free boat service running back and forth. Learning a little about how pearls are made was interesting and the views from the pearl farm were really good!

After some further driving, we reached the village which is home to the sacred blue-eyed eels of Huahine. People here believe that their ancestors continue their presence on earth in the form of the eels. You can get into the water with them and touch them (slimy!) or even hand-feed them. Some people did that, so we just watched and took pictures. It was crazy how big the eels were and how many there were of them!

What followed was one of the prettiest parts of our day where we were just amazed by the mountainous beauty of Huahine! The most beautiful areas are the viewpoint/belvedere as well as the area were the two islands connect – so the South of Huahine-nui and the North of Huahine-iti.

Sometimes we just couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Are all those crazy shaped mountains for real!? Really!?? WOW. We took hundreds of pictures that day, thoroughly enjoying every minute of the day and being happy about the sunny weather!

We didn’t explore the little island (our home) that day, but instead drove up to Fare again, picked up some supplies for dinner and paid a visit to the beach from where you can see why Huahine is called the pregnant lady:

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Clear now? We relaxed on the beach for a while, I went for a little snorkel until we saw dark clouds approaching… We didn’t make it home dry anymore, but does it really matter after such a great day!?

Next day, we started off by circling Huahine-iti, going South first past the beach and marae which we knew from our first day here. Further onwards, things got more interesting again and we were awed by again crazy beautiful mountains everywhere.

Countless photo stops later, we arrived back on the big island, driving up the viewpoint once again and along the beautiful East coast. I tried a little hike at the marae but it just brought me to some further marae instead of the expected viewpoint. So we kept driving into Fare and further South again, pretty much going onto every single road the two islands have to offer! Everywhere was just beautiful again – the mountains, the water, everything.

We ended our day close to our pension with some more relaxing beach time and snorkelling. Next day we had to leave early morning – and we left wow-ed by this first island we’ve visited in French Polynesia! We didn’t expect so much from Huahine, and maybe that’s why we were so positively surprised and loved it so much!

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Stopover in Auckland

I spent one night in Auckland on my way from Samoa to French Polynesia – just enough to catch a little glimpse of the city. I was lucky that it was a nice and sunny day, so I directly set off to explore the city center. Some old buildings, the cool new Sky Tower and lots of nice food options!! I like!

I guess it has been a while that I had been to a proper city (Singapore in July?), so I ended up really liking Auckland with all its amenities. I definitely spent a lot of money on food here! Haha. My favourite part of Auckland was the harbour though! I always like harbours and the one of Auckland is really pretty.

I walked along the water quite a bit, past inviting cafes, luxurious yachts and an arts center, until I had a view of the harbour bridge.

I considered taking a ferry somewhere for a bit, but ended up having to cut my visit short since I was just toooo tired! I had to wake up at 3 am the night before and didn’t really get much sleep at all. I guess I’ll just have to come back and see more of Auckland – and New Zealand for that matter – another day.

Samoa – Summary & Pictures

People: I met the friendliest locals in Samoa! So far my favourite people of the South Pacific. Everyone was so helpful and friendly, and again the level of English made it easy to communicate with everyone. People seem to be well educated, but traditions still play a big role in everyday life. The travellers I met were a mix of people on short holidays as well as people who were travelling longer, like myself.

Food: Breakfast and dinner was usually included in the price of accommodation, and I enjoyed some really good food! Especially in Savaii, I really got spoiled. Best food of the South Pacific so far, hands down!

Weather: Hello sunshine! While there was some rain or grey morning here and there, clouds usually disappeared quickly and I enjoyed an extraordinary amount of sunshine in Samoa.

Costs: I spent slightly over 42€/day, thus saving some money compared to my 50€ target. There was not much I could have done cheaper though – only if I had found someone to share the scooter with, or just not rent a scooter and not see some of the most amazing sights. „Tough“ choice 😉

Accommodation: I already explained about the typical beach fale accommodation in Samoa in my Upolu blog post. These usually came at 70 Tala/night including dinner and breakfast. I spent about half of my time sleeping in fales and the other half in a cheap motel in Apia, and the AirBnB place in Savaii.

Infrastructure: There are busses, but some places are only serviced once/day. So while you can get pretty much everywhere on public transport, these buses are not ideal for sightseeing, unless for the sights close to Apia. For the rest, I strongly recommend renting a scooter for at least a day on each island to get to some of the most beautiful places.

Illnesses: All good!

Safety: It was only in my head that I worried about myself and my valuables in the beach fales. Samoa is a very safe country.

Itinerary: I guess most people visit both Upolu and Savaii during their time in Samoa, and that’s what I did. Because of the reasonable size of both islands, it makes sense to split the time between two places or so each, exploring the surroundings in day trips.

Highlight: Difficult, everything was really awesome! Probably I’d say the people and the food though and as in places… the To Sua Ocean Trench.

Lowlight: Apia city itself.

Click on the photo below to see our full photo album of Samoa:

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