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9 Things You Should Know Before Going to Tahiti, Moorea, or Bora Bora

Reading Time: 7 minutes

1. Know What You Are Getting Into

What You Should Know about Visiting Tahiti, Moorea, or Bora Bora:

  • It is 8 hours from LAX (Los Angeles) to PPT (Papeete aka Tahiti)
  • If you do not live in the LA area, it can be a very long day of travel
  • Plan to sleep on the plane
  • How much you want to spend and how much you are willing to spend
  • Do you want to experience everything, but really don’t want to save for a year to do this…stay tuned.

What We Did:

  • Living in Columbus, Ohio; used Southwest Credit Card points to fly out to Los Angeles
  • Click Here for the Southwest Credit Card
  • The sign up above will provide 2 roundtrip tickets from Ohio to California which is what we did; spend $1,000 in 3 months and you receive 40,000 miles. (this link provides me with a few miles at no cost to you)
  • Knowing that the flight from Columbus, Ohio to LAX is approximately 5 hours; we went to Disneyland for 1 day when we arrived for 2 reasons: 1. make sure we did not have weather delays for our flight 2. it is a long day if you are on a plane for 5 hours then layover and another 8 hours of flight time. This can start the vacation in a bad place; we opted to wear ourselves out and have a blast a Disneyland and the next day took off for Tahiti. Highly recommend this.
  • We visited Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora on this trip.

2. Know Your Budget

What You Should Know:

  • There are lots of websites out there that will take your money and lure you to believe you need to spend more money.
  • Stick with your budget

What We Did:

  • There are a lot of choices with places to stay in the South Pacific and costs range
  • We stayed 5 nights in Tahiti with a package deal that included airfare and hotel
  • We upgraded the hotel to an overwater bungalow for all 5 nights
  • We did 3 full days in Tahiti
  • 1 full day in Moorea
  • 1 full day in Bora Bora

3. Know The Time of the Year

What You Should Know:

  • There are really only two seasons in the South Pacific.
  • November – April: Hot and Humid, Rainy Season, Hurricane Season
  • May to October: Cooler Season and Dry Season, Sailing Season

Weather is 70’s-80’s year round. Night time is around 10 degrees cooler.

What We Did:

  • We went in June and the weather was fabulous.
  • During the day: shorts and short sleeve t-shirts
  • Night time: shorts and a sweatshirt
  • It did rain for a few hours on two days and it was considered the dry season when we went.

4. Know the Flight Costs and How to Get a Deal

What You Should Know:

  • The cost from CMH to LAX is can range from $300-$600 roundtrip or $5.60 each way with flight miles on Southwest.
  • The trip to Tahiti can cost $800-$1500 roundtrip from LAX.
  • The Air Tahiti Nui flight from Tahiti to Bora Bora is around $450.00 roundtrip. You may be able to buy tickets once you arrive, but if they are sold out; you will be limited on options getting there.
  • There are two higher speed ferries that operate from Tahiti to Moorea is around $11.00 USD each way. You can purchase ferry tickets on the day you are going; there are more than 7 trips a day (no need to buy ahead of time). More information on Aremiti 
  • Rental cars are reasonable.

What We Did:

  • We used the Southwest Flight Miles: $11.20 per person
  • We booked an Air Tahiti Nui Package: $1172 includes flight to Tahiti and 5 nights hotel stay.
  • We stayed at Le Meridian 
  • We upgraded to the Overwater Bungalow for all nights
  • Le Meridian Hotel is the nicest hotel of the options given for Air Tahiti Nui; some hotels have obnoxious birds that can keep you awake all night
  • Stay here even if you just stay in the hotel and not in a bungalow.
  • The pool and amenities are nice; but not super updated and renovated with bells and whistles. keep in mind Tahiti is circa 1970s; similar to Kauai
  • We flew to Bora Bora for a day; took the earliest flight and returned on the latest flight of the day costing $420.00 per person roundtrip
  • We went to Moorea by Ferry for a day.

5. Book Hotels and Excursions Before You Go

What You Should Know:

Some people will show up on a vacation and figure out hotel accommodations when they arrive. In Tahiti, this is not advisable. Hotels, hostels, and homes are booked. Just make sure you have a plan. It is advisable if you have a desired excursion that you book it before you go; with that being said, you can also talk with your hotel and they will help you book local excursions.

What We Did:

  • We did a package deal with Air Tahiti Nui and knew we would be staying at Le Meridian hotel. After booking the normal hotel option; we upgraded to the overwater bungalow.
  • Knowing that we were going to Bora Bora for a day; we wanted to do a snorkeling adventure and we booked with Pure Snorkeling by Reef Discovery; picked us up by boat at the airport in Bora Bora to start the excursion. Video of the Snorkeling We went on one of the most amazing four stop snorkeling trips possible with Pure Snorkeling: stop 1: manta rays, stop 2: eagle rays, stop 3: coral reef, stop 4: aquarium like experience-thousands of fish.
  • We booked the Moorea excursion with the hotel when we arrived.

6. Rent a Car

What You Should Know:

  • You will need a driver’s license to rent a car in Tahiti
  • It is advisable to know how to drive a stick shift car or call before going to make sure an automatic is available

What We Did:

  • We rented a car for the entire trip and it cost around $600.00 for the time there
  • Automatics were not available

 

7. Have a Plan/ Itinerary

What You Should Know:

  • The South Pacific is beautiful and you can drive around Tahiti and enjoy your entire stay there.

What We Did:

  • We arrived in Tahiti at night and took a shuttle to the hotel. The next day we rented a car and drove around Tahiti, Day 2 we took the Ferry to Moorea and did the Lagoonarium Snorkeling with Reef Sharks, Day 3 Back in Tahiti all day (Kayaked under our bungalow, drove around the island, hiked to a waterfall), Day 4: flew to Bora Bora for the Day (pre-booked the Snorkeling Package); Day 5: Drove around the island and snorkeled.

8. Bring Essential Items

What You Should Know:

  • The South Pacific is damp and humid. Mosquitos are everywhere; spray yourself and bring mosquito netting especially if you stay in an overwater bungalow.
  • 70’s and 80’s are nice temperatures, but remember at night near water it can be a lot colder
  • Bring at least one sweatshirt and a pair of jeans
  • Bring tennis shoes and water shoes

What We Did:

  • We brought mosquito spray and mosquito netting; our overwater bungalow did have the netting with holes in it.
  • Mosquito illness signs are posted in the airport so be aware that it is a serious concern.
  • Bring a spare set of clothes including a swimsuit in your carry-on, just in case.
  • Bring sunscreen because the cost in Tahiti was around $10.00USD for a very small bottle
  • The UV sunshirts are a great idea if you snorkel and spend time in the water (esp. Bora Bora)

9. What Should We Expect to Spend

What You Should Know:

  • It really depends on how much or how little you really want to spend.

What We Spent:

  • Flights and Hotel $1200 per person from LAX to PPT
  • Flight Miles and tax from CMH to LAX $11.20 per person
  • Upgrade to overwater from standard hotel $600 total for 5 nights
  • Flight from PPT to Bora Bora $450.00 per person
  • Ferry from PPT to Moorea $22.00 per person
  • Excursion to Lagoonarium $45.00 per person
  • Excursion from Bora Bora Airport all day snorkeling $145.00 per person
  • Rental Car in Tahiti $350.00 for 5 days
  • Food Costs $300.00 per person for 5-6 days
  • Taxi Ride around Bora Bora $55.00
  • Disney Tickets $105 per person

**All of these costs were then paid for by credit card points so it resulted in no cost for the trip**

Will talk about credit points in another post.

Questions? Just ask!

~Heidi

 

0 In Airlines/ Australia/ Bucket List/ Budget/ Couples/ Family/ Female Travels/ Itinerary/ New Zealand/ Oceania/ Travel/ Travel Advice/ Travel Tips

Can You See Australia and New Zealand in under 2 weeks?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

 

I’ve wanted to visit Australia and New Zealand since I can remember. We had the opportunity over the summer of 2017 and jumped at the chance even though our time was somewhat limited.  Not sure what the optimal time is to see both countries – but most suggest at least a couple weeks for each.  That being said you can (and we did) have an amazing adventure in less than 2 weeks.

 

What to know before you go:

  • You need a Passport AND an Australian ETA/eVisitor Visa to Enter Australia (a fact that somehow eluded us but until we checked in at the airport.  Luckily we were able to sign up for one online in just a few minutes for $15.
  • This is a long trip 12-14 hours there and back and you lose about 1 day of travel each way
  • It can be expensive but there are ways to save money
  • Our summer is their winter – so dress accordingly! The Whitsundays (Australia) was 70-75 degrees but New Zealand ranged from 40-50s…brrrr!

 

What We Did:

We only had 12 days to see both countries and made the most of it.  We moved at a good clip but were not rushed and had plenty of time to relax.  The first leg of our trip we visited Sydney, The Great Barrier Reef and The Whitsundays.  The second part of our journey we hit some of the major cities in New Zealand including Queenstown, Christchurch and Auckland.  Transportation, food and lodging was not cheap but it was definitely not prohibitive.  You can save big if using points for the transpacific flight.  We booked most of our hotels through Hotels.com and even earned a free nights stay along the way.

Getting there:

The flight there and back was expensive ($2067 round trip) and long (14 hours there and 12 hours back to/from LAX). We were able to use points to cover one of the round trip tickets on American Airlines.  The intercity flights between Australian Cities and New Zealand (via Quantas and Jetstar) were not too bad at $100-$300 each.

Day 1-4:

We flew from Columbus, OH to LAX and then on to Sydney.  From Sydney we immediately departed for the Whitsundays where we spent the next 3 days.  We stayed at Arlie Beach, Queensland and were able to find a hotel at a very reasonable price.  The first day we booked a half day Excursion from Airlie Beach out to the Great Barrier Reef via Cruise Whitsundays (about $199/person).

The trip out to the reef took about 2 hours. The Seas can be rough but luckily they were not too bad the day we went.  We spent the next 2 ½ to 3 hours on a large pontoon boat right on The Great Barrier Reef where we were served lunch and then could partake in a snorkel safari, semi-submersible boat ride, and see fish and other aquatic sea life including some beautiful coral.  There were a few small sharks in the water but luckily none looked like they wanted to eat us!

 

 

The next day we took another Cruise Whitsundays Tour  (@$109) which took us around the Whitsunday islands including a stop on beautiful Whitehaven Beach .  Know that you must take a ferry or water taxi from island to island to get to pick up/drop off points for the cruises and these can cost anywhere from 50-60$ per person each way.  Unfortunately there is no other way to get around the islands unless you bring your own boat….

 

Day 4-6:

 

The follow day we flew back to Sydney where we spent the next 2 days exploring the City, Harbor, Harbor Bridge, Opera House, and Sydney Eye Tower. We took the Big Bus Sydney Hop-on-Hop-off Tour ($67/person for 2 days) which allowed us to explore the city at our own pace. We used the OPAL Card which also saved us money on trains, buses and ferries.

Our 2nd day we took a short excursion by train to Featherdale Wildlife Park where we could see much of the native Australian wildlife and we got to hold and have our pictures taken with a Koala bear! There were also incredibly cute kangaroos. The park is easy to get to (about 45 km west of Sydney, 45min by car, 1:15h by train.)  The experience was well worth it at $32/adult, $17/child.

 

Day 6-10:

 

Next it was off to New Zealand. From Sydney we flew to Queenstown which is an absolutely beautiful town perched on the shore of Lake Wakatipu and nestled in the Southern Alpine Mountains.  There is plenty for tourists to do with lots of skiing, restaurants and shops.  There is also an abundance of outdoor recreational activities.

The following morning we took a day trip to Milford Sound which maybe one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.   We had to get up early in the morning and took a bus to the sound Kiwi Discovery was purchased by Go Orange.  Once there we had about a 2 hour cruise on the Sound where we were fed lunch and took in not only the scenery but also some wildlife! $179.00 per person. The video on the bus ride back was spectacular as well: The World’s Fastest Indian

 

The next day we headed to Christcurch. It was amazing to see the amount of Devastation that still persisted more than 6 years after the 2011 earthquake. Many buildings still remained abandoned. The most striking was the Christchurch Cathedral.

The following morning we set off for a day-long round trip via the KiwiRail TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth (@ $260/person).  This trip takes you across through the Alpine Mountains and through Arthur’s Pass.

Day 11-12:

 

From Christchurch we left for Auckland. Once in Auckland we rented a car and drove to The Hobbiton  (“Middle Earth” where the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings was filmed) which was about 2h and 15min southeast of Auckland.  From there it was onto the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves which was about another 1.5h southwest.

 

The round trip leaving and returning to Auckland is easily doable in one day if you get an early start.  It did take bit of getting used to driving on the Right side of the road! We spent our final night exploring Auckland before departing for LAX the following morning.

 

 

In summary:

We were only able to sample some of Australia and New Zealand in 12 days but had an amazing trip and that left us plenty to see when we go back! This vacation can be a bit pricy but there are ways to save money. Overall it was well worth the cost.  Australia and New Zealand are undoubtably two of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

Questions? Just ask!