The Austral Islands
The breadbasket of The Islands of Tahiti

The Austral Islands

Off the beaten track

Only 1h30 from Tahiti by plane, and yet the Austral Islands are a world apart. Unspoiled and fertile nature, spectacular archeological sites, colorful villages and contrasting scenery, Rurutu, Tubuai, Rimatara, Raivavae and Rapa, are above all islands of hospitality and tradition

Heritage and craftsmanship

Weaving hats and baskets

Explore the Austral Islands
Explore the Austral Islands
Explore the Austral Islands
Modern and legendary

A window onto Polynesia

In the Austral Islands art and crafts are usually the domain of women. From generation to generation, the inhabitants of Tubuai, Raivavae, Rurutu, Rimatara and Rapa have repeated exactly the same gestures to weave hats and baskets from pandanus leaves and reeds. The Austral Islands are renowned for their craftsmanship and in Tahiti, the chance to buy the latest creations at the annual Salon des Australes is eagerly awaited


The other Austral Islands

Rimatara, Maria, Marotiri and Rapa, islands far from anywhere.

Rimatara - © Frédéric CristolRimatara - © Frédéric Cristol
©Rimatara - © Frédéric Cristol|Frédéric Cristol

The pride of Rimatara, is an endemic parakeet, which is called Te Uravaero e te Moho, (the stealer of colors) because of its bright green, red and violet plumage. In days gone by, the island’s chiefs wore these feathers as part of their ceremonial dress. Keep your eyes peeled for these exotic birds while you’re in Rimatara.

Maris Islands in French Polynesia © Tahiti HeritageMaris Islands in French Polynesia
©Maris Islands in French Polynesia|Tahiti Heritage
The Maria Islands

Close to Rimatara, the Maria Islands are uninhabited, except by colonies of birds.

Marotiri Polynésie FrançaiseMarotiri Polynésie Française
©Marotiri Polynésie Française
Marotiri, the Bass Islands

Like the Maria Islands, the Bass Island of Marotiri is uninhabited except by birds, notably the Tropicbird.

Rapa - Brut The ExplorersRapa - Brut The Explorers
©Rapa - Brut The Explorers
Rapa, the Bass Islands

Rapa  has more than 500 residents, but if you want to meet them you have to go by boat. Also known as Rapa Iti(to distinguish it from Easter Island, which is Rapa Nui to Polynesians), Rapa is the most southerly of the Austral Islands. An oceanic climate means reasonably mild weather all year round. Surprisingly, the main fruit here is apples, not coconuts! The cargo ship Tuhaa Pae only visits once a month, so be careful not to miss it!