Racing through Moorea

Tahiti is famous. Couples dream of vacationing or honeymooning in Tahiti. The island, with its rugged interior surrounded by Polynesian beaches, makes for a great getaway destination. The fact that it is the seasteading capital of the world makes it even better.

But when beauty beckons, it comes from the next island over. On my evening with the seasteaders in Tahiti, I enjoyed a beautiful sunset — a fiery red horizon mixed with shades of yellow and orange. Sitting just in front of the sunset was an island. Not a seastead, but rather a luxurious yellow lizard of an island.

Moorea French Polynesia

 

Moorea, or Mo’ore’a, means yellow lizard in Tahitian. I took the ferry to this yellow lizard, which is more like a tropical green ridge in reality. Regardless, it made for a quintessential luxury holiday. That… and some racing experience, which I will get to momentarily.

When luxury awaits, it camps out at the Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa. Have you ever stayed in a hotel with overwater bungalows for rooms? I have now, albeit I went cheap and got myself a suite with a private pool that is just 30 meters from the beach. A 60% Hilton discount came in handy. 😉

Stepping out of my room, the beach was right in front of me, equipped with a ramp leading me directly to turquoise water with a row of jet skis awaiting me and floating bungalows and sailboats off to the sides. Snorkeling is also an entertainment option, one in which I indulged. The marine life gets better, though.

Moorea French Polynesia

Moorea’s beaches are beautiful, but the boat trip to the lagoon leads you to the exciting part of this luxury sea holiday. Inside the lagoon I found a lot of stingrays. But I decided to focus my attention instead on the sharks. I swam with the sharks and played with them, stroking their bodies gently. The sharks and I got along with one another. We were friends. There was no bloodbath.

Moorea French Polynesia

Since swimming is a workout, a massage was calling when I returned to shore. My masseuse did a great job. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but the massage with that view below really relaxed me. All the nerves and tension I had over my initial fear of swimming with the sharks washed away with the massage. I was refreshed a ready to explore the island, which has stunning beauty onshore as well as offshore.

Moorea French Polynesia

So what about racing?

On my last day in Moorea, I ditched the beach and the bungalows for the open road and an open ride. I rented a roadster — actually a mini roadster. It was a red and black Moorean racing machine. Cruising all around the luscious green island, I revved up the roadster engine, reaching speeds of up to 70 kmh — that’s what my roadster tops out at.

Moorea French Polynesia

My flashy — and very noisy — ride took me to beautiful viewpoints all over the island. I went up and down a green mountain ridge looking down on dense tree canopy and palm trees overhanging the water. I stopped for a coconut with an incredible view and a few photo ops with the roadster.

Cruising in a roadster is Moorea’s inland version of the VIP experience. Throughout my several-hour ride, everyone on the island was staring at me as I zipped by. The roadster ride was so much fun. But it was so loud! I guess it wasn’t just my flashy style that caught everyone’s attention. But, hey, there’s nothing wrong with making a little noise in paradise. 😀

Moorea French Polynesia

Now, enough with the luxury, but onward to more Polynesian beauty…

 

Stay: While Moorea has the most backpacker-friendly options, I chose the Hilton Lagoon Resort on the northern half of the island. Blessed with fabolous overwater bungalows, I chose the cheaper Garden villa around a minute walk from the beach. With a private plunge pool, a comfy bed and fast wifi I had all I need. Special mention to the reef of the resort, which despite its heavy use still is healthy with a myriad of fish. I also enjoyed a very nice massage.

 

Eat: Resort food was average. There is a St. Tropez style lounge restaurant not too far from the resort where I stopped for a yummy French cuisine lunch.

Drink: Being a Hilton Diamand Member, one of the perks is a daily refilled minibar without additional cost. Loyalty programms sometimes are worth their hassle.

Connect: As nearby Tahiti, Moorea had an excellent mobile connection I hardly expected on this rural island.

See: The lush island with its towering peaks is just beautiful and best explored by a hike, bicycle or car ride all around the island. At least the Belvedere lookout should not be missed.

Do: Rent a topless roadster like me and cruise all around the island. This little kart-like vehicles come in different variations. I chose the “roadster” which is loud and does its 70kmh. It is not suitable for the gravel roads of the island, so rather take the 4×4 option if you want to discover the interior. If you pay a premium, you get the ferrari variety, but approx. 150€ for 8h of the normal was good enough for me. Well worth the money!

Go there: While you can fly very short 10min from Tahiti Airport, rather take the 40min ferry crossing to see the beautiful island come nearer and nearer.

Go next: You cannot only connect to Tahiti, but also fly to Bora-Bora, Raiatea and a couple of other French Polynesian islands. To go to Tahiti, rather take the ferry another time.

Moorea French Polynesia