Lands of tradition – untouched and mysterious
The Austral Islands…. Untouched and mysterious lands, a land of tradition where white sand clashes with the intense blue of the lagoons… Although this group of islands is off the beaten track, it will offer travellers a memorable and genuine experience. Discovered by the Europeans in the 18th Century, the Australs are located 600 km south of Tahiti’s capital city. The archipelago is made up of 7 islands, 5 of them are inhabited and the other 4 are within reach by air.
RURUTU (the island of whales)
The island was formed in an interesting way, thanks to two consecutive volcanic hot spots, which created unusual mountains circled with coral cliffs; hence its name “Rurutu”: the gushing rock. Basaltic rocks and a limestone belt offer surprising stalactites and stalagmites around the former lagoon, now a coral reef. The cool climate is auspicious to lush vegetation covering the island’s rocks. The curvy road will lead you through a poetic and impressive tour, combining long white sand beaches, beautiful bays and various plantations. This pristine environment is home to just 2,404 inhabitants.
TUBUAI (a tropical Eden)
The first explorers were struck by the island’s beauty. Wallis, then Cook towards the end of the 18th Century, particularly liked the lush vegetation and crystalclear water of the island. However, it did not look appropriate for good anchorage given the large barrier reef around the coast. This disadvantage turned into an incredible advantage in the eyes of the famous mutinies of the Bounty. Led by Christian Fletcher, they tried, to no avail, to settle and built Fort George, which no longer exists.
RAIVAVAE (the first island)
“Raivavae” or “the open sky” is universe for various noises such as sea birds’ songs, the swell and the wind. often considered as the most beautiful island of the pacific, the magnificent sceneries live up to the island’s reputation as the Garden of Eden. Floating over an emerald lagoon, the island shelters amazing remnants from the past such as a laughing tiki.
The local people have chosen to keep their island untouched and have developed an eco-tourism concept welcoming travellers in a warm and simple manner. Aside from handicrafts, Raivavae is the only island where sewn outriggers are still made, ensuring the visitor a step back in time feeling while on the island.