Shortest Road Trip : A drive around the heart shaped Moorea Island

This heart shaped island with its verdant mountains, turquoise waters and friendly Polynesian people was our last stop in the French Polynesia after spending a few days in Tahiti and Bora Bora.  The island is a true reflection of the laid back Tahitian lifestyle and the warm, welcoming character of French Polynesia and its people. The island actually looks like a heart from above and is one the most dreamed about honeymoon destinations, we thought it was perfect for a familymoon as well.  Moorea Island may be considered Tahiti’s little sister, but she steals the spotlight every time.  We rented a car and drove around this little island for the shortest road trip.  From driving on the Amalfi coast to the highest Alpine road in Austria we have embarked on quite a few road trips over the years and yet it  this Moorea Island drive, stole our heart.

Photo Blog - Moorea Island Drive - Photo by Outside Suburbia

While we were in Bora Bora, we didn’t leave the resort much, we just couldn’t take our eyes off that water, which was a shade of blue we had never seen before.  So by the time we got to Moorea, we were ready to go exploring and doing more than just beach activities. We went on ATV rides one day and rented a car on another for a drive around the island.  We started from our resort at Hilton Moorea and stopped at a couple of beaches along the way, had lunch at the Intercontinental Resort and make it back for sunset at the resort.  It was a slow, relaxing day that is etched in our memory….

Photo Blog of Moorea Island Drive, our shortest road trip ever!

Moorea Island, French Polynesia - Photo by Outside Suburbia

Called ‘Yellow lizard’ island, Moorea is only 50 miles or 70 kilometers along a single main road.  You don’t need directions or maps really, it is difficult to get lost here. We did a circle tour of the island in 6 hours with a lot of stops along the way.

Photo Blog - Moorea Island Drive - Photo by Outside Suburbia

We picked up our small car and drove along …. there was nothing much to see as you drive along the road that hugs the coast… just mountains and lush landscapes that make you stop every few minutes in awe!

Photo Blog - Moorea Island Drive - Photo by Outside Suburbia

Boating just bobbing in the water.. love how everything is yellow here.  Works perfectly against the green backdrop.

We loved the fishing outrigger boats docked by the lagoon waters – they are called vaa and used for fishing and sport.  Tahiti is the world champion in outrigger boat races we were told.

Windstar cruise Moorea, French Polynesia - Photo by Outside Suburbia

We saw the Windstar Cruises which was recently voted the World’s Best Small Ship Cruise Line by Conde Nast Travelers Readers’ Choice Awards.  Windstar Cruises’ small ships are exactly the right size — large enough to pamper and entertain you, yet small enough to tuck into the tiny harbors – it gets to Huahine, BoraBora, Tahaa, Raiatea and Moorea from Papeete in Tahiti.  Hoping to make it back here on one of these cruises! Dreams become reality if you work on them,right?!

Taahiamanu beach, Moorea - Photo by Outside Suburbia

Moorea has two public beaches – Taahiamanu and Temae Beach.  We stopped at Taahiamanu for a bit. There were many trees near the water, as well as some palms. The sand is white but there were a lot of rocks.  The water was pretty clear and suitable for snorkeling than for swimming. The beach has a shower and picnic tables, but no toilets.

Photo Blog - Moorea Island Drive - Photo by Outside Suburbia

We drove to a look out point where you could see the twin bays of Cook and Opunohu, the view during the ATV ride the previous day gave us a view from an higher elevation but this view from the coast was just as picturesque.

Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa, Photo by OutsideSuburbia.com

Toasting to a great day and a beautiful view at Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa

Lunch at Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa, Photo by OutsideSuburbia.com

We stopped for lunch at the Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa located in a verdant tropical area sheltered by lush mountains and facing turquoise lagoons teeming with marine life. We walked around for a bit enjoying the the modern yet island luxury vibe of the resort. The overwater bungalows perfectly complementing the blue waters.  Cocktails and lunch were spot on!

Sea Turtle Care Center, Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa, Photo by OutsideSuburbia.com

We then walked over to Sea Turtle Care Center located onsite at Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa. Te Mana o Te Moana is a marine conservation and rehabilitation organization established in partnership with French Polynesia’s Ministry of the Environment. 

Sea turtle in Moorea

The Sea Turtle Care Center has worked in conserving four of the five species of sea turtles found in French Polynesia – the green turtle, the hawksbill turtle, the Loggerhead sea turtle and the Olive Ridley turtle. All of which are endangered species and remain at extreme risk of extinction worldwide.

 Intercontinental Moorea Resort & Spa, Photo by OutsideSuburbia.com

A little island rain was refreshing…

The pretty tiare flower is a symbol of Tahiti and the French Polynesia - Photo by OutsideSuburbia.com

The pretty tiare flower, and just as beautiful, furled or unfurled… symbol of Tahiti and the French Polynesia

Moorea’s Tiki Village, a place to go for a Polynesian feast and dance show

Next stop was Moorea’s Tiki Village, a place to go for a Polynesian feast and dance show. The current area is a reconstruction of a traditional Polynesian village that includes their marae for worshiping and the various ‘Fare’ or traditional houses.  The village offers various cultural workshops from learning how to make a colorful pareo or sarong to the basics of a Tahitian Dance.

Photo Blog - Churches in Moorea - Photo by Outside Suburbia

Photo Blog - Moorea Church - Photo by Outside Suburbia

A few churches along the way, sitting pretty against the lush mountains

Photo Blog - Moorea Island Drive - Photo by Outside Suburbia

Fresh catch of the day

Photo Blog - Moorea Island Drive - Photo by Outside Suburbia

A lone dog has the whole road to himself, we barely saw anyone on the road, just an occasional kid or two…

Photo Blog - Moorea Island Drive - Photo by Outside Suburbia

Moorea, French Polynesia - Photo by Outside Suburbia

Compared to Bora Bora, Moorea it is less expensive and easy to get to.  With easy ferry access from Tahiti, where the international airport is, you can’t miss visiting Moorea in French Polynesia. While it is marketed as a honeymoon destination, Tahiti and her islands are perfect for family holidays as well. Bliss knows no bounds here and there is plenty to do if you like water sports and beach activities. Or just enjoy the slow island life, walk barefoot and let the sand massage your feet, crystal clear blue water hugs you like an old friend, watch the sun paint the sky.  Moorea is easy to love but difficult to leave

Photo blog of Moorea Island Drive, our shortest road trip ever - Outside Suburbia

Hope you enjoyed our photo blog of Moorea Island Drive, our shortest road trip ever!

Additional information

We rented our car for the day from Albert Transport, they picked us from the resort and picked the car back as well.

You might like – One day Amalfi Coast drive, High Alpine road drive in Austria and other road trips around the world,  A Family Guide to Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora an ATV ride in Moorea and Day at the Secret & Private Island in Bora Bora.

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