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  • 1.4 million years ago in the heart of the South Pacific, the deep-sea stirrings of volcanoes and tectonic plates formed the French Polynesian island of Tahiti.

  • Situated halfway between California and Australia, planet earth offers few places more remote and majestic than this.

  • The islands of French Polynesia, including Tahiti, were discovered by the world's first long-distance navigators.

  • These mariners, known as Austronesiansvoyaged across perilous expanses of open ocean in double-hulled canoes using only the sun and stars to guide them.

  • Centuries later European explorers arrivedand since 1880, the French tricolor has been billowing in the salty breezes across these islands.

  • But it's the songs and stories of those early Polynesian wayfarers, passed from generation to generation, which have shaped the cultural rhythms of these lands.

  • Tahiti's capital Papeete, means "water from a basket", as it was once the place where Tahitians filled their calabashes with fresh water.

  • It remains a gathering place, but today, travelers and locals make the journey here to fill their baskets with so much more.

  • There's no better way to experience the tradition of island trade than at Papeete Market, the city's oldest attraction.

  • Breathe in the same aromas of Monoï oilvanilla beans, and tropical flowers, which intoxicated French painter, Paul Gauguin, when he first arrived in 1891.

  • Just as Tahiti's volcanic soils yield some of the world's tastiest produce, her seas produce one of our planet's most mysterious and spellbinding gems.

  • At the Robert Wan Pearl Museum, explore an unparalleled collection of Tahitian pearls, learn about their cultural significance, and be enthralled by the legends of their origin.

  • Tahiti's emerald peaks have long beckoned passing sailors, and American author and World War One veteran James Norman Hall was no exception.

  • Just east of Papeete, explore the writer's humble home and learn about the life and literary works of one of Tahiti's favorite adopted sons.

  • A little further east, gaze up at one of the South Sea's oldest maritime lights, Point Venus Lighthouse, which has been welcoming weary vessels for over 150 years.

  • The history of Point Venus goes back further than the lighthouse itself, as it was here that Captain Cook's Endeavour expedition measured the transit of Venus across the sun in 1769, a calculation which changed the science of navigation forever.

  • For the Endeavour's officers and crew, however, the cosmic spectacle paled in comparison to what the ship's naturalist, Joseph Banks, called "the truest picture of an arcadia that the imagination can form."

  • And one can't fully experience this arcadia, without venturing inland.

  • The island itself is an extinct volcano, and upon passing through its ring of peaks into the sunken caldera, you'll be transported to a realm unlike any other.

  • Journey through dense jungle to hidden waterfalls, plunge into some of the planet's most cleansing waters, and feel the warm embrace of locals.

  • Throughout millennia, storiesboth historical and mythological, have woven themselves into the core of Tahiti's identity.

  • In the commune of Punaauia on the island's western coast, explore a treasure trove of tales at the Museum of Tahiti and Its Islands.

  • To the south, feel the ancient energy of Arahurahu, a sacred temple or "marae," where according to ancient legend, the spirit of a slain warrior is said to linger among the ruins.

  • After returning to your hotel, bask in the sweet-smelling, evening breezes at Punaauia's shoreline, and soak up the golden magic of the sun slipping into the sea.

  • Paradise on earth, the truest picture of arcadia, Tahiti is all of these and more.

  • So it's no surprise that her sister islands present even more idyllic adventures to embark on.

  • Just under an hour's flight from Papeete, is Bora Bora, "the pearl of the pacific".

  • A haven for starry-eyed honeymooners, the island is dotted with luxurious 5-star resorts which will cater to your every desire.

  • Your days here will be spent lounging on your resort's private beach, exploring the crystal-clear lagoon on guided tours, and sipping on cocktails with the South Pacific sunset as your backdrop.

  • For a shorter journey, catch the 30-minute ferry from Papeete, which crosses the sea of the moon to the island of Moorea, whose lush spires rise like a cathedral from the sea.

  • A ring road follows the coastline around Moorea, so hire a car, or even a bike to circumnavigate the 37-mile loop at your own pace.

  • While on your loop, stop off at some of Moorea's most beautiful beaches.

  • Spend a day on the shores of Temae Beach, alternating between basking in silky turquoise waters, and lounging beneath tropical almond trees.

  • After tasting this slice of vacation paradise, continue your quest to find the perfect beach, with a picnic under the palms at Plage de Ta'ahiamanu.

  • For a little more action, head to Tiahura Beach where vendors offer kayak, stand-up paddle board and snorkelling gear hire on the shoreline.

  • But to experience a completely different side of Moorea, take a tour of the lagoon.

  • In this magic underwater worldencounter schools of tropical fish, graceful stingrays, and inquisitive black tipped reef sharks.

  • Back on dry land, discover how tropical fruits and vegetables found their way to the fertile soils of French Polynesia, at the Moorea Tropical Garden.

  • Taste papaya, first discovered by conquistadors in Central America, and vanilla, once grown only in Mexicountil green-fingered Tahitians learned the secret to hand-pollinating its orchid.

  • At the Tiki Village Cultural Centre, watch the skilled hands of locals practicing traditional crafts like Tahitian patchwork or tifaifai.

  • Sample age old recipes at the restaurant, before witnessing some of the most exciting Polynesian legends performed in song and dance.

  • For an epic end to your tour of Moorea, make your way inland.

  • Venture along winding roads though lush rainforest and pineapple plantations to Marae Ti'i Rua, a crumbling open-air temple, where archaeologists believe human sacrifices were once performed.

  • Continue up the verdant slope of Mount Tohivea to the mesmerizing heights of Belvedere Lookout.

  • Gaze out at the fertile Opunohu Valley, Moorea's twin bays, and the towering spires of Mount Rotui.

  • According to ancient myth, Hiro, god of thieves, was so taken with Rotui that he plotted to steal it.

  • Luckily, the demi-god Pai was warned and rushed to the mountains defense, so Hiro only managed to take a small piece.

  • Unlike Hiro who tried to steal Mount Rotui, Tahiti and her islands will have no such trouble stealing your heart.

  • Whether it's her spell-binding lagoons and peaks, her epic stories or just the smile of her people, Tahiti's magic and charms render even the most guarded hearts defenseless.

  • So come, and surrender, to paradise.

1.4 million years ago in the heart of the South Pacific, the deep-sea stirrings of volcanoes and tectonic plates formed the French Polynesian island of Tahiti.

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Tahiti Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/12
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