Walking to waterfalls, waterfalls and waterfalls
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.
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.