“Tahiti looks nice”
Anyone growing up in Australia in the ’70s would recognize this catchphrase from the TV ad for a bar of soap, and maybe this is where my dream started. I hoped one day to be able to say “Tahiti looks nice” and visit the French Polynesia islands and of course, Bora Bora!
So that time did come and I was able to say, “Christine (our wonderful travel agent), Bora Bora!”.
You are spoilt for choice in choosing Bora Bora as your dream holiday destination, and depending on how much time you have will really influence where to go. Remember that every time you move islands you lose precious holiday time that could be spent snorkeling through the most spectacular Coral Gardens I have ever experienced, so perhaps go by the philosophy that less is more.
How To Get To Bora Bora From Australia
Bora Bora isn’t the most accessible destination for Australians. To get to Bora Bora from Australia, you take a flight via Auckland, that’s 2.5 hours flight time, and then 5.5 hours from there to Papeete in Tahiti. Then you can even arrive in Papeete the day before you left Australia, due to how the different time zones work.
Depending on when you arrive, you might need to lay your head down for a few hours before the connecting flight to Bora Bora which is about 50 minutes from Tahiti to Bora Bora. While the airport hotel might not be 5 stars, it is within walking distance of the airport.
Look up as you exit the terminal, and it is right in front of you. Walk through the car park, cross the road, and up the driveway, to get to a clean and very comfortable bed. I suggest you skip breakfast that is on offer for a few dollars.
There is coffee and cereal and a pastry or two (it wasn’t particularly appetizing), but there are stores with hot coffee! Don’t forget to book a room when you return to Australia as the flight might leave very early in the morning (3 am for us).
Where To Stay In Bora Bora When Coming From Australia
We aren’t really resort kind of travelers, but Le Bora Bora made it very easy for us to get used to this kind of holiday and I think it’s a great place to stay in Bora Bora. We decided to head for a relaxing week here at this small resort on a motu that’s about 5 minutes via boat to the mainland of Bora Bora.
If you want to stay clear of the other big resorts (which are all on the other side of Bora Bora), I’d highly recommend Le Bora Bora. However, if you’re expecting nightlife, perhaps it isn’t for you since by 9:30 pm it is pretty much lights out! To be fair, Bora Bora isn’t particularly known for having much if any nightlife and more for its natural beauty, which is one of the things that attracts many Australians to it.
The overwater bungalows were the way to go for us. You can swim from your room across to the Coral Garden Nursery and lounge around on the deck. You won’t ever get tired of the view across to the mainland. The rooms are divine and we loved watching the colorful coral fish swimming in our own coral garden underneath the room through the glass floor.
The beachside bungalows look pretty private, and I think we will save money next time and select one of these. Wherever you stay, the sand is so white and the water so aqua blue.
Things To Do In Bora Bora
Swim With Manta Rays – If you’re keen to swim with the Giant Manta Rays, you can book a half-day “Pure Snorkelling” with Reef Discovery. It definitely ticked off a lot off my wish list over the 4 hours we were out with William!
We found a couple of the Giant Manta rays, so we all jumped in and followed them around, spent time at another beautiful snorkelling spot, and were lucky enough to find a whole pod of another type of rays we followed in the water.
Please be respectful of the sea life and follow the instructions from your guide. When the guide asks that you “don’t dive down to the rays”, don’t do it!
Go On A Snorkelling Tour With Rosto – It was really good to see Bora Bora from a boat while stopping off to swim with the sharks and sting rays and never-ending amounts of snorkelling. Lunch and luckily the other couple on the tour agreed that more snorkelling after lunch would be more fun than the cultural activity around coconuts.
We loved Rosto’s flexibility to make sure you did what you wanted! The water in Bora Bora is so warm and you can easily snorkel for a long time. You can never tire of lazily swimming around and seeing the most amazing array of fish.
This is the best way to switch off from the crazy world buzzing around us.
Sunset Cruise – If you stay at Le Bora Bora, you can go on a sunset cruise with the solar-powered catamaran Okeanos Pearl. It’s quite a treat for a few hours. When the deckhand pulls out his ukulele and the bartender starts to sing, there is really no better way to witness the sun setting in the west.
Explore the island by car – After seeing Bora Bora from the water, we were keen to get on land and drive around the island. Hiring a car is super easy and we choose an electric car which was quite a hoot with a top speed of 45km/ hour. You can’t drive any faster anyway!
Despite having a map, we missed most of the recommended sights the first time, and the rest we never found since there is no signage! It was easier to find the canons that represent a bit of the island’s history from WW2.
My husband was more interested than I was, but we were so glad we walked right to the end as I spotted a sign Plage nailed to a Coconut Palm. Being an Aussie, I love my Plages so we headed down a very rough and steep path (I use the word ‘path’ very loosely here) and came across a stunning spot to swim.
Love it when you stumble across something unexpected like this. It was a really hot day and the swim was such a welcome relief. The relief didn’t last long, as after trekking back up the ‘path’ and back to the car, we needed another swim!
I had been keeping an eye out for a couple of places that had been recommended for lunch, and we ended up at the Saint James Restaurant. It seems that the restaurant is divided into two parts.
If you’re feeling something light for lunch, sit downstairs with the sand beneath your feet. But if you are up for a lovely long lunch, sit down and know you’re in good hands!! We were tempted to order the fresh lobsters that were in the traps floating in the water.
Tips When Visting Bora Bora From Australia
Exchanging money – Don’t bother exchanging too much money. Just pop everything on your credit card. You can exchange using Travelex, but my goodness, the exchange rate was terrible trying to convert Australian Dollar (AUD) into the French Pacific Franc (XPF or CPF).
Grab Alcohol Ahead of Time – It is a good idea to pick up some wine (or your beverage of choice) duty-free. We did love having a wine or 2 after lunch or before dinner on our deck. Buying alcohol at any of the resorts or restaurants is very expensive.
Use A Travel Agent – For us it was so easy to use a travel agent who coordinated flights, transfers, and hotels. No visas are required to travel from Australia and all you need is a valid Australian passport. There are so many groups on social media that you might like to check out to ask for itinerary suggestions and other recommendations.
Don’t forget your travel insurance either. We recommend you go with Allianz as it seems to be the best priced.
Make Dinner Plans – I did book dinner at Poerave Gourmet Restaurant to celebrate a special birthday and wedding anniversary. Only 8 tables in a gorgeous setting, attentive service, beautiful table settings so it’s all very special.
We went with the degustation, which was a bit disappointing. Lovely fresh ingredients but for the price, we had expected to be really WOWED! We enjoyed having a break from the other 2 dining options, so if your budget allows it, give it a go!
This holiday really recharged us and sometimes that is just what you need!