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AUSTRAL ISLANDS - 2023

Austral Islands


Discovered by Europeans in the 18th Century, the Austral islands are located 600 km south of Tahiti. Off the beaten track, the Australs are an untouched and mysterious land where white sand clashes with the intense blue of the lagoons. Breathtaking landscapes, from sheer mountains to valleys, these islands are famous for their farming activities. The Austral islands will certainly offer a memorable and unique experience.

Day 1

SATURDAY – Departure from Tahiti (Papeete)

You will embark on the Aranui 5 in the morning, receive a warm welcome from our crew and begin the long journey to the Austral Islands.

Day 2

SUNDAY – Rurutu, Austral Islands

Rurutu, one of the two largest raised atolls in French Polynesia, is unique because of its geological structure which is surprising as one does not expect to discover such landscapes in the South Pacific. Basalt and limestone cliffs dotted with caves where islanders once lived, a volcanic interior with lush tropical jungle, white sand beaches and beautiful bays offer breathtaking views. fROM August to October each year, humpback whales can be seen and heard in Rurutu, where they come south to mate and give birth. 

Day 3

MONDAY – Rurutu, Austral Islands

The Aranui is adrift – tenders to the pier of Moerai. Welcome in the village of Moerai. Visit of the Mitterand cave, the handicraft center with weaving demonstrations. Local coffee for sale. Visit to the Royal House, well known for the confection of local patchwork quilts, the « tifaifai », followed by a demonstration of “stone lifting” (traditional custom). Circle island tour by « truck », starting from the Northern or Southern coast. In the North, visit to the « cave Mitterand », the marae in Vitaria’s village. In the South, swimming at Naairoa’s beach, taro plantation visit with explanation about the cultivation system, old houses made of lime stone. 

Day 4

TUESDAY – Rimatara, Austral Islands

The Aranui is adrift – tenders to the dock. Welcome with a walk through purification smoke (ancient tradition of Rimatara’s inhabitants). Although Rimatara is the smallest of the Austral Islands, it charms the visitors with its hidden treasures. In the hollow of this circular island, one has the impression that time has stopped. Departure for a circle island tour by bus and visit to the villages of Amaru, Anapoto and Matuaura. Visit of handicraft centers. In Rimatara, the main occupation of the inhabitants, apart from agriculture, is basket weaving and especially the preparation of fara pae’ore leaves (a variety of pandanus without thorns) which are used to make cloth.

Day 5

WEDNESDAY – Tubuai, Austral Islands

Tubuai is the largest island of the archipelago and is the administrative and economic capital of the Australs. The huge lagoon, nearly twice as large as the island itself, offers 33 sq. mi. (85 km²) of pure aquatic fun. The mild climate also makes these islands ideal for farming. The first explorers were struck by the island’s beauty. Toward the end of the 19th Century, explorers Wallis and Cook took a liking to the lush vegetation and crystal-clear water of the island. However, the area 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 mutineers of the HMS Bounty.

Day 6

THURSDAY – At sea

Enjoy a day at sea to relax by the pool and participate in one of the lectures or activities offered by our guides.

Day 7

FRIDAY – Rapa, Austral Islands

As you approach Rapa, only accessible by sea, the Captain may announce: “Welcome to Rapa. Next stop Antarctica”. As the southernmost inhabited island of French Polynesia, this crescent shaped land mass — with a fjord-like coastline deeply indented by 12 bays —is as remote as it gets. Rapa-Iti, or “small Rapa” as the island is also called, has a strong cultural connection to Easter Island, known as Rapa-Nui or big Rapa to the Polynesians. Legend tells of the settlement of Rapa-Nui by the people of Rapa-Iti. Once home to fierce warriors who lived in fortified settlements built on terraces among volcanic peaks, the islanders now live off farming and fishing. During our visit, you will be greeted by the unique dances of Rapa. You may choose one of two different hikes offered. The first goes from the village of Area around the stunning bay to the main village of Ahurei and the second ends at the ruins of an old mountaintop fort. A traditional lunch will be served on shore.

Day 8

SATURDAY – Rapa, Austral Islands

Among the other activities on offer during our one and a half day stopover in Rapa, you will visit Ahurei, the main village of the island, explore ancient fortresses, visit an agricultural production centre, discover local arts and crafts, meet the inhabitants of this isolated island, and share a ma’a over a wood fire in the village.

Day 9

SUNDAY – Raivavae, Austral Islands

It is whispered that Raivavae is the “Bora Bora of yesteryear” and that its lagoon is the most beautiful in Tahiti & her islands. A jewel preserved by its inhabitants, the island is a real Garden of Eden where visitors fall under the spell. Free time in the village.

The Aranui will be anchored and passengers will disembark in barges on Mahanatoa beach where they will be welcomed with wreaths of flowers around their necks to the sounds of Raivavae songs and rhythms. Departure by bus for a tour of the island, don’t miss a visit to the “Smiling Tiki” and the marae scattered around the island.  Of course, its inhabitants will serve you a typical Raivavae buffet on Mahanatoa beach. Take advantage of the remaining time to walk around the village or to discover its lush lagoon with a mask and snorkel. The motu Vaiamanu, called the “motu pool” will be offered as an option (registration at the reception). 

Day 10

MONDAY – At sea

Take advantage of this day at sea to relax by the ship’s pool or participate in one of our lectures or an activity organised by our guides.

 

Day 11

TUESDAY – Bora Bora, Society Archipelago

As you arrive in Bora Bora’s world-famous lagoon of opalescent blues and greens, you will be greeted by the majestic “Mount Otemannu”, the highest peak on the island. You can enjoy a day at the beach and a barbecue on a private Motu surrounded by crystal clear waters, the “Motu Tapu”. You can also choose from a veriety of option excursions at an additional cost: scuba diving, boat and motorized canoe tours of the lagoon, swimming with sharks and rays! Bora Bora was an American military outpost during World War II and remnants of the war such as cannons and bunkers can be seen on a 4X4 tour. Departure in the evening for Papeete. 

Day 12

WEDNESDAY – Return to Tahiti (Papeete) 

This is the end of our journey. It’s time to say Nānā! (Goodbye) to your travel companions, to the Polynesian staff and Aranui guides.

 

PRESIDENTIAL SUITE

Area : 440 sq.ft (41 sq.m)

Capacity : 2 to 3 adults

Situation : Sky Deck - 9.

Consisting of 3 individual rooms, approximately 440 sq. ft. (41 sq.m) of interior space and a 130 sq. ft. (12 sq.m) private balcony, this exterior cabin offers a separate bedroom with a king size bed, a sitting room with a sofa bed, a lounge with a built-in bar, two bathrooms with shower and hair dryer, a walk-in closet, refrigerator and safe.

FULLY BOOKED

Availability for reference only, to be confirmed by the Reservations Department

ROYAL SUITE

Area : 240 sq. ft. (22 sq.m)

Capacity : 2 to 3 adults

Situation : Sun Deck - 8, Pool Deck - 7, Veranda Deck - 6.

With 240 sq. ft. (22 sq.m) of interior space and a 100 sq. ft. (9 sq.m) private corner balcony, this exterior cabin offers a bedroom with a king size bed or twin beds and a sitting room with a sofa bed, divided by a decorative filigree screen, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer, refrigerator and safe.

FULLY BOOKED

Availability for reference only, to be confirmed by the Reservations Department

ROYAL SUITE WITH OBSTRUCTED VIEW

Area : 240 sq. ft. (22 sq.m)

Capacity : 2 to 3 adults

Situation : Boat Deck - 5.

With 240 sq. ft. (22 sq.m) of interior space and a 100 sq. ft. (9 sq.m) private corner balcony, this exterior cabin offers a bedroom with a king size bed or twin beds and a sitting room with a sofa bed, divided by a decorative filigree screen, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer, refrigerator and safe. In this category, the view of the windows is obstructed.

FULLY BOOKED

Availability for reference only, to be confirmed by the Reservations Department

PREMIUM SUITE

Area : 200 sq.ft (19 sq.m)

Capacity : 2 to 3 adults

Situation : Pool Deck - 7, Veranda Deck - 6.

With approximately 200 sq. ft. (19 sq.m) of interior space and a 45 sq. ft. (4 sq.m) private balcony, this exterior cabin offers a bedroom with a king size bed or twin beds and a sitting room with a sofa bed, divided by a decorative filigree screen, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer, refrigerator and safe.

FULLY BOOKED

Availability for reference only, to be confirmed by the Reservations Department

JUNIOR SUITE WITHOUT BALCONY

Area : 200 sq.ft (19 sq.m)

Capacity : 2 persons

Situation : Veranda Deck - 6.

With 200 sq. ft. (19 sq.m) of interior space, without balcony but with picture windows, this exterior cabin offers a bedroom with a king bed or twin beds, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer, refrigerator and safe.

FULLY BOOKED

Availability for reference only, to be confirmed by the Reservations Department

SUPERIOR DELUXE

Area : 160 sq.ft (15 sq.m)

Capacity : 2 persons

Situation : Sky Deck - 9, Sun Deck - 8.

With 160 sq. ft. (15 sq.m) of interior space and a 45 sq. ft. (4 sq.m) private balcony, this exterior cabin offers a bedroom with a king size bed or twin beds, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer, refrigerator and safe.

FULLY BOOKED

Availability for reference only, to be confirmed by the Reservations Department

DELUXE

Area : 140 sq.ft (13 sq.m)

Capacity : 2 persons

Situation : Sky Deck - 9, Sun Deck - 8, Pool Deck - 7.

With approximately 140 sq. ft. (13 m²) of interior space and a 45 sq. ft. (4 m²) private balcony, this exterior cabin offers a bedroom with a king size bed or twin beds, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer, refrigerator and safe.

FULLY BOOKED

Availability for reference only, to be confirmed by the Reservations Department

DOUBLE STATEROOM

Area : 11 m²

Capacity : 2 people

Situation : Boat Deck - 5, Main Deck - 3, Lower Deck - 2.

With 120 sq. ft. (11 sq.m) of interior space and a porthole or a picture window, this exterior cabin offers, either, a king size or two single beds, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer.

FULLY BOOKED

Availability for reference only, to be confirmed by the Reservations Department

DOUBLE STATEROOM WITH OBSTRUCTED VIEW

Area : 120 sq.ft (11 sq.m)

Capacity : 2 adults

Situation : Boat Deck - 5.

With 120 sq. ft. (11 sq.m) of interior space and a picture window with an obstructed view, this exterior cabin offers either, a king size or two single beds, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer.

FULLY BOOKED

Availability for reference only, to be confirmed by the Reservations Department

SINGLE STATEROOM

Area : 100 sq.ft (9 sq.m)

Capacity : 1 person

Situation : Lower Deck - 2.

The Single Stateroom has 100 sq. ft. (9 sq.m) of interior space with a porthole, a single bed, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer.

FULLY BOOKED

Availability for reference only, to be confirmed by the Reservations Department

DORMITORY

Area : 140 sq.ft (13 sq.m) to 285 sq.ft (27 sq.m)

Capacity : 4 to 8 persons

Situation : Upper Deck - 4.

The dormitory has 5 units: four units of 140 sq. ft. (13 sq.m) each which can accommodate four passengers per unit with two lower and two upper berths, one bathroom with shower and hair dryer and a unit of 285 sq. ft. (27 sq.m) of shared interior space with four lower and four upper berths, a sitting area, two bathrooms with shower and hair dryer. This category can be mixed.

LAST CABINS AVAILABLE

Availability for reference only, to be confirmed by the Reservations Department

What's included

RATES INCLUDE

Cruise transportation and related taxes (tourist tax, port tax, fuel, TDC), shipboard accommodation, 3 meals per day, a bottle of wine to share among 4 passengers for scheduled onboard meals, lunches in local restaurants, planned guided shore excursions to remote villages and archaeological sites, cultural dance shows, lecturers onsite and onboard.  Rates are per adult, in double or single occupancy. These fares are correct at the time of printing and are subject to change; with or without notice.

RATES DO NOT INCLUDE

The fuel surcharge, per person, of 125€ / 140 $ US / 190 $ AUS / 200 $ NZD / 15 000 XPF.

Shipboard purchases, liquor, gratuities, port taxes other than those specifically provided for, and other personal items. Rates quoted at the time of printing are based on current costs and are subject to change up to and including the date of sailing.

SCHEDULE & EXTRA COST PROVISION

If, due to weather or other uncontrollable reasons, you are required to spend one or more additional nights, you will be responsible for your own hotel and meal costs. In addition, because the primary function of vessels in the service of Compagnie Polynesienne de Transport Maritime is to carry freight, the departure dates, ports of call, and duration of cruises may be subject to variation both prior to departure and en route. Freighter passengers should have a flexible time schedule and anticipate the foregoing possibilities. While we do everything possible to inform and assist our clients, neither CPTM nor its agents will assume additional expenses, hotel or meal costs associated with delays or changes in itinerary and schedules.

ITINERARY CHANGES

Routes and activities are indicative and can be modified according to weather conditions or availability. CPTM pledges to make every effort to operate all cruises as advertised. CPTM reserves the right to alter or curtail the itinerary, or substitute sightseeing, ports of call or conveyances as deemed necessary.

Speakers

Guest lecturers who specialise in the Marquesas and other fields related to French Polynesia such as history, culture, art or archaeology, will share their knowledge and insights as part of a series of onboard lectures throughout the year. Lectures are held in conference rooms.

Optional excursions

At every port, guests can enjoy included excursions.  For a bit more adventure, there are optional activities from which to choose. The optional activities can be booked on board and at an additional cost.

OLIVIER POTE (Historian)

A graduate of the Higher school of agriculture (ESA), agroecology specialty, he became in 2006 the territorial delegate of ADIE France (Association for the right to economic initiative), then became the regional director of ADIE Polynesia in 2011. In 2015, he was Head of the Agroecology Department at the Normandy Chamber of Agriculture, a year later, he took over the management of the Foundation to Act Against Exclusion in Polynesia (FACE) and finally, in 2020, he founded the Ecomuseum «Te Fare Natura».