As your flight descends towards Tubuai, you’ll be able to admire the magnificent turquoise lagoon. A short break on the island is the opportunity to recharge your batteries, discover the local culture and history, and enjoy some sporting activities.

Our suggested itinerary is a blend of history, culture, hiking, discovery and relaxation. Discreet and peaceful, a visit to Tubuai is the perfect break from the hustle and bustle of modern life. The temperature is slightly cooler than the other Austral Islands to the north, but it’s still hot enough for you to sun yourself on one of the many white sandy beaches you’ll find as you tour round the island.

Day 1

Part 1 

Bloody Bay and other cultural sites

There are a number of archeological sites in Tubuai, but some of them are difficult to get to and somewhat hidden in the island’s lush vegetation. So it’s best to visit them with a local guide, who’ll be able to take you to the most important and interesting places.

One of the most interesting places to visit was the site of a historical event that became famous throughout the world, the mutiny on the Bounty. The mutineers wanted to settle in Tubuai, but the local population opposed them. There were many violent confrontations on the beach, with deaths on both sides. Ever since, the site has been known as Bloody Bay. Today, you can visit Fort George, the reconstruction of the fort originally built in 1789 by the mutineers as a defence against the islanders.

A motu beach in Tubuai © Frédéric Cristol
A motu beach in Tubuai © Frédéric Cristol

Day 2

Part 1

A selfie on mount Taitaa

There may not be as many hiking trails in Tubuai as there are in Tahiti, but they rival the capital for quality. One of the best takes you to the top of mount Taitaa, which culminates at 1,384 feet. There aren’t many places where you can take a more impressive selfie than at its summit, with the magnificent turquoise lagoon spread out below and the Pacific Ocean stretching as far as the eye can see.

The trail is suitable for all hikers, but we always recommend using the services of a local guide, who will ensure your safety and make the climb even more interesting. It will take you about three hours to get to the top, take your photos and come back down. It isn’t very steep as you hike through the goyava trees at the bottom, but the last few meters will give your legs something to complain about. However, the 360° view is worth all the pain and effort! The mount Taitaa trail is part of the ‘Raid Litchis”, a 17 miles cross-country race held every year.

If climbing isn’t your cup of tea, then go for a tour round the island by bike. There are 25kms of road and innumerable white sandy beaches where you can take a rest on the way. You’ll pass taro plantations, lychee orchards, and fields of vegetables, which all flourish in the perfect growing conditions in the Austral Islands. You’ll understand why Tubuai is called ‘the island of abundance’.

Day 3

Part 1

Picnic on a motu

Having burned all those calories on the first two days, it’s time for a little rest and recuperation in the sunshine. And it would be a sin to visit Tubuai without spending at least a day on the lagoon! The motu picnic excursion is a day your tired limbs will certainly thank you for. The boat takes you completely across the lagoon, so you can admire all its shades of blue and turquoise and spot some of the local birdlife on the way. Then you arrive at motu Toena, motu Tapapa Tavae, Clam Island, or one of the other five motu in the lagoon, for a day of snorkeling, fishing for clams (or pahua in Tahitian) and relaxation. Lunch will be poisson cru, followed by grilled fish, washed down with coconut juice, and some fresh fruit to finish. The day ends with a magnificent sunset over the lagoon which you’ll be able to add to your Tubuai photo album.

Day 4

Part 1 

Above or below the waves

There are two activities that are really popular in Tubuai. The first requires wind. For several years the WIPA (Wind Island Program Austral) has been promoting Tubuai as a destination for kitesurfers, windsurfers and other watersports enthusiasts. The spot is easily accessible and requires good technical skills as the water of the lagoon is quite shallow.

The second activity is of course, scuba diving. With the island’s one and only diving club, you’ll discover over a dozen different sites where you can dive, free dive, or go snorkeling to admire the diversity of marine life. In the right season, you can also take a whale watching tour.

Vue aérienne sur l'atoll de Tetiaroa © Tahiti Tourisme

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