Comprised of seven islands, five of which are inhabited, the Austral Islands can be found on the southernmost boundary of French Polynesia with a climate that is marginally cooler than other islands groups. There are no resorts located in the Austral Islands so Tahitian Guesthouses are the only accommodation available - giving the visitor a more authentic cultural experience.
Rurutu, Tubuai, Raivavae, Rimatara and Rapa are all high mountainous islands with a unique landscape. Visitors who have previously spent some time in the Tuamotu Islands and the Marquesas Islands will notice the similarities that these islands have with these two other island groups as the Austral Islands are often seen as a mix of those two island groups. Boasting excellent anchorage options, the islands are popular with the global sailing community.
Each year, whales migrate through the area between July and November to give birth. Numerous archaeological ruins are hidden from view on each island, as are ancient burial grounds. There are many hiking excursion choices to be made, and plentiful diving adventures for those wanting to explore the depths below the waves.
The island of whales, Rurutu, is the ideal spot from where it is possible to both view and scuba dive with Humpback whales during the annual migration. The pristine lagoon and well-preserved marine environment is encircled with wonderous sweeping bays of white sand beaches. Hiking and horseback rides into the rugged interior are popular land-based activities. The islands agriculture produce of pineapple, lychee and coffee benefit from the cooler climate on Rurutu. Flight time from Tahiti is 1 hour 30 minutes.
A veritable tropical Eden, Tubuai possesses a large lagoon complete with incomparable white sand beaches. The island is the largest of the Austral Islands and the hub for public services within the island group. It is also a significant centre for agriculture. The Bounty mutineers attempted to settle on Tubuai, but they were quickly dispatched by the local inhabitants. Today, one of the beaches on the island is known as 'Bloody Beach'. A daily 1 hour 40 minute flight connects the island with Tahiti.
Considered by many to be the most beautiful of Polynesian islands, the island of Raivavae is known for its large emerald coloured lagoon encircled by a coral reef and motu - there are a total of 28 of these small islets. The island has many historic ruins, including the laughing Tiki, and tthe flight time from Tahiti is 2-hours. Like other islands in the Austral group, the cooler climate is ideal for agricultural production. The primary crops are taro, coffee, mango and banana. Attractions and activities not to be missed include beach walks, hiking in the interior, and a visit to a local Marae.
Situated west of Rurutu you will find the island of Rimatara. The island is shaped by its circular volcanic plateau and is surrounded by a small coral reef. Access is available by sea and air. Agriculture is the primary economic contributor.