Walk­ing to wa­ter­falls, wa­ter­falls and wa­ter­falls

Walking New Zealand - - Overseas Walks -

planted this lit­tle area over a pe­riod of time with a va­ri­ety of plants – all flour­ish in the hot wet moun­tain con­di­tions.

We set off down­hill on a dif­fer­ent route from up­hill and it’s even more slip­pery go­ing down. I take a skid or two but af­ter a while emerge onto an eas­ier track and walk back to our start­ing point.

Here a de­light­ful sur­prise awaits us. Corinne, one of the landown­ers, has spread out lunch on a ta­ble in the gar­den. Be­fore we start eat­ing, we watch her hus­band who is sit­ting in a stream that bor­ders the gar­den, feed­ing a large eel.

I ask Corinne what her fa­vorite way of cook­ing eel is, but am told that th­ese eels are pets and not for eat­ing!

What for eat­ing is ex­actly right for a hot day af­ter we’ve walked nearly two hours. First we have crackly bread­fruit chips - de­li­cious. Then av­o­cado picked from the gar­den. Next comes co­conut bread, pa­paya, pineapple, crispy star­fruit and those sweet lit­tle Pa­cific ba­nanas. Not so pop­u­lar is the sour cit­rus flavour of sour­sop -- the fruit of a broadleaf ev­er­green tree. It’s a sat­is­fy­ing end to our walk.

Yvette also leads other walks - at Belvedere above Cook’s and Opunohu Bays, (Cap­tain Cook ac­tu­ally an­chored in Opunohu Bay not Cook’s). She also of­fers a crater walk -- Moorea has nine moun­tains with Mt To­hiea (1207m) the high­est. See www.moo­re­av­ip­tours.com

There’s won­der­ful hik­ing through th­ese moun­tains. Most are rather more suited to tram­pers than walk­ers and signs are min­i­mal.

At Belvedere, I no­ticed three routes of vary­ing lengths were marked, at least at the be­gin­ning of the walks.

With a rental car, you could drive to the start of the tracks, but with­out your own trans­port and pub­lic trans­port is not an op­tion in Moorea, you need to take a half-day ex­pe­di­tion with a guide, as we had.

Guides don’t reckon on shorter than half-day trips, we dis­cov­ered, and many spec­ify a min­i­mum of four peo­ple. With a guide it’s cer­tainly safer and eas­ier to find the tracks. But it does drive the cost up – our Afareaitu Wa­ter­fall walk cost 7000 pa­cific francs ($NZ90) each for the half-day.

Fact file

Moorea land area is 13,237 hectares with a pop­u­la­tion of ap­prox­i­matly 10,000. How to get there: Air New Zealand and Air Tahiti Nui both fly to Papette. Flight time five hours. The is­land of Moorea is 20kms from the largest is­land of Tahiti, with a reg­u­lar daily ship­ping and air ser­vice that op­er­ates from Papeete. Cli­mate: The rainy sea­son is from De­cem­ber to March. Av­er­age daily tem­per­a­tures are 24 de­grees in July and Au­gust to 29 de­grees in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary.

Be­low left: Feed­ing a pet eel. Be­low right: Yvette is in like a flash.

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