Visit the Beautiful Austral Islands. The Austral Islands are located 373 miles south of Tahiti’s capital city Papeete. The archipelago is made of seven islands, five of which are inhabited and four of which are accessible by air. An untouched and mysterious land where white sand beaches clash with the intense blue of the lagoons, the Australs Islands are off the beaten track, offering a memorable and unique experience in The Islands of Tahiti.
A visit to the islands reveals breathtaking landscapes. From sheer mountains to valleys and high plains featuring the Austral Islands famous farming activities. Quite a few archeological remnants hide on each island, bearing witness to a well organized pre-European community of rich cultural and religious practices.
The cliffs and caves of the Austral Islands are places of legends in French Polynesia. These areas used to be old burial grounds but are now a place to watch humpback whales frolic in the waters just offshore. The whales come to the Austral Islands from August to October each year to give birth.
Polynesian culture is alive and well in the Austral Islands. The ancient people were highly skilled woodcarvers; and remnants or replicas of their exquisite works of art can be found throughout the islands. The locals have also carefully preserved the art of weaving coconut and pandanus leaves into elaborate hats, bags and mats. Learn more here about The Best French Polynesian Islands, or visit us on Pinterest.
Austral Islands Weather – When to Visit
Due to the geographical position of the Austral Islands, the climate during the hot season is tropical with humidity and heavy rains, and a cool season similar with slightly lower temperatures.
Precipitation is well distributed throughout the year as well as winds, which are generally stronger and more frequent than in the rest of French Polynesia. The rainiest months are from December to April.
In the colder months, the average monthly temperatures do not drop below 68°F, except in the southernmost island of Rapa, where the average monthly temperatures remain below 68°F between June and October.
On the island of Tubuai the maximum average temperatures vary between 83°F in March and 74°F in August, while the average minimum temperatures vary between 74°F in February and 64°F in August and September. The sea water temperature on the island of Tubuai varies between 73°F in August and 79°F in January, February and March.
The best months to visit the Austral islands are the relatively less rainy months between May and November. These are also the coolest months and those where there are no hurricanes.
The Islands of the Australs To Visit
The island of whales, Rurutu, is the ideal spot from where it is possible to both view and scuba dive with Humpback whales during the annual migration. The pristine lagoon and well-preserved marine environment is encircled with wonderous sweeping bays of white sand beaches. Hiking and horseback rides into the rugged interior are popular land-based activities. The islands agriculture produce of pineapple, lychee and coffee benefit from the cooler climate on Rurutu. Flight time from Tahiti is 1 hour 30 minutes.
A veritable tropical Eden, Tubuai possesses a large lagoon complete with incomparable white sand beaches. The island is the largest of the Austral Islands and the hub for public services within the island group. It is also a significant centre for agriculture. The Bounty mutineers attempted to settle on Tubuai, but they were quickly dispatched by the local inhabitants. Today, one of the beaches on the island is known as ‘Bloody Beach’. A daily 1 hour 40 minute flight connects the island with Tahiti.
Considered by many to be the most beautiful of Polynesian islands, the island of Raivavae is known for its large emerald coloured lagoon encircled by a coral reef and motu – there are a total of 28 of these small islets. The island has many historic ruins, including the laughing Tiki, and tthe flight time from Tahiti is 2-hours. Like other islands in the Austral group, the cooler climate is ideal for agricultural production. The primary crops are taro, coffee, mango and banana. Attractions and activities not to be missed include beach walks, hiking in the interior, and a visit to a local Marae.
Little Rapa Island
Spend some time in the village of Aurei with its distinct hunting and fishing culture, and get into some local fare, which includes plenty of sea urchins, lobsters and salmon. Little Rapa has many mysterious and ancient ruins. Visit one of the most impressive of such sights, Morongo Uta, which is an incredible historic fortification built atop a mountain.
Situated west of Rurutu you will find the island of Rimatara. The island is shaped by its circular volcanic plateau and is surrounded by a small coral reef. Access is available by sea and air. Agriculture is the primary economic contributor.
Best Restaurants & Bars in the Austral Islands
Le Manotel – Island of Rurutu $11 – 30
This restaurant/bar is in the Le Manotel hotel. Le Manotel is renowned throughout the island for its table d’hôte, Helen, the hostess, will make you enjoy her delicious cuisine based on local products. Telephone: 689 40 930 225 Web: Le Manotel.
Snack Piareare – Island of Rurutu Under $10
Unique whale watching opportunity while being served lunch. They serve delicious fresh fish. The decor is nonexistent at this no-frills eatery hidden behind a gate right across from the boat quay in Moerai, but the food is seriously good. The menu is limited to a couple of daily specials, but they’re a savory and sizzling hot value. Telephone: 689 40 94 04 95 Web: Snack Piareare.
Mara’ai – Le Spot – Island of Tubuai Under $10
Run by French Hervé and his Tahitian wife Ina, Mara’ai – Le Spot is the only independent restaurant on Tubuai. With a sand floor and a palm-frond roof, this is a cool and rustic place for a drink or a relaxed meal. It’s in the village of Tamatoa, southeast of the island. Telephone: 689 40 95 08 32 Web: Mara’ai – Le Spot.
Pension Ueue Rimatara – Island of Rimatara $11 – 30
This is the restaurant within the hotel, Pension Ueue Rimatara. In the restaurant, beautiful “umete” enthroned on the tables tissue recalling the grounds of “tapa”. Dishes, hearty and made with local products are served, the majority of products consumed from family farms or island. Telephone: 689 87 74 66 13 Web: Pension Ueue Rimatara.
Thanks for the yet another amazing review on beach side attraction – Austral Islands French Polynesia. You are going places, how lucky. The pictures are so beautiful and astonishing that it looks heavenly Island. Specially the main arieal view with clouds plus Island and the Ana Tane Uatopo-Rurutu.
Thank you for visiting my Austral Islands French Polynesia post 🙂
what an amazing post you have shared! I did not know about Austral island before reading your post. Me and my husband always try to pass our vacation by going outside. Because we both are doing job. We do not have enough time to give each other. That’s why we try to make our holiday only for us. We were decided that we will pass our next vacation in Australia. But your post attracted me. Now I want to go Austral island which have some amazing places including Motu Piscine, Marae Raitoro, Haunarei & Harii, Te One Roa, Tiki etc. I really enjoyed your post. You included some information about restaurants.
Thanks a lot dear. I will share your post to my bosom ones.🙂
Glad you enjoyed! Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.
Hi Leahrae, I really appreciate your post about Asutral Islands because it is very beautiful to witness places i watched in the video, you also talked about it in your post and more over i learn one thing or the other from the post about Austral Islands.
Your research about when to visit also is very good due to their temperature, I will love to capture the whale when i visit. You have shared Moments to experience.
To do all this accommodation is very important and am happy that you help with that in your post along with Restaurant and Bar.
Your Post is very Helpful.
I am glad you enjoyed! Thanks for visiting my Austral Islands French Polynesia post.
Great post and very informative, the scenery is wonderful, amazing pictures. Would love to get more info about wild life. I guess that you get many tourists there, do the locals only speak french. When is the best time to visit and taste that clear water. Thanks for the work put in the site to inform us, this place sounds like a dream destination, I would also like to know a little bit more about the local life and customs.
You can go any where on the Austral Islands and have no worries as long as you speak English. That is like the second language there. I don’t know about give the local like and customs information, seems like my already long posts would end up being a mile long, LOL 😀 Thanks for reading Austral Islands French Polynesia!
I haven’t heard of the Austral Islands before but what an absolutely stunning location, looks like it would be a holiday of a life time. Me and my wife have been planning a trip to the Maldives for some time now and are saving for this trip. It will take some convincing her to change her mind as we have had our hearts set on the Maldives for some time but I will be sharing this with her nevertheless.
Boy, hard to compete with the Maldives, I will say that. But I do believe that the Austral Islands are comparable and just as wonderful. I do know that it will be a little less, maybe even a lot less crowded than going to the Maldives simply because most have not even heard of the Austral Islands. Thanks for visiting Austral Islands French Polynesia!
To be honest when I first checked your website I was blown away for who mind blowing it is. Your content really sweeps you into a whole new world. As a travel a hobby of mine, I really felt I was there after reading your content and with all the additional content on activities and places to go, this really is the ultimate guide. Just wow. Also I love the media adding correct exposure to the topics too.
Maybe I should go following your advice.
I like you have a video to collect all your reading thoughts together soon, you have so much passion in what you do.
Great! I am glad you have enjoyed visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com! If you need any additional information, please don’t hesitate to ask 🙂
Austral Islands are on the top of my To Do List because I love adventure plus I do a lot of scuba diving. I’ve always known Humpback whales go thru there seasonally, another reason for me. Hiking is also a favorite activity and different cultures are always exciting to experience. Wow… I had no idea renting a car was that expensive. Do you know if there are places to rent golf carts?
Yes, you will find adventure and great diving in the Austral Islands for sure. I do not know of any golf carts for rent though. I find that taxis or city transportation is the best. Plus I do not like to drive in foreign countries…and that is just me though 🙂 Thanks for visiting the Austral Islands French Polynesia!
This looks beautiful. I’ve noticed you report much about good marine life but what wildlife on land can you find here.
Australia appeals to me for the wildlife such as kangaroos and other native creatures. So I am wondering what there is here for wildlife? Are these islands accessible for day trips or do you need a bit longer?
Yes, you can visit the islands and do day trips. There are boat tour companies that will take you to the different islands. The wildlife is mostly going to be the birds. There are lots species of birds here. Very beautiful and in such abundance. So you could do, say a week here, and still be able to visit some of the other islands. Keep in mind that you will need to allot a day for each island you wish to visit. Thanks for reading about the Austral Islands French Polynesia.
Mmm, that first picture has me ready to leave work and go on vacation right now. lol. Nice shot.
I can’t go now because I have to wait for vacation time, but your review on the Austral Islands has moved it into my top 3 choices for vacation spots.
I like how you even included weather, which is rare on review sites. Very insightful. Thanks.
Thank you so much and glad you enjoyed reading. It is truly a beautiful beach destination worthy of a visit. Glad you enjoyed reading!
This sounds great! I am an adventurer at heart and am always looking for the most remote and distant places on earth. These islands seem like truly hidden gems. It has been a while since I have snorkeled as well so I would love to visit for that as well!
Yes, I do believe that the Austral Islands are hidden gems and worth visiting. Especially if you like to snorkel 🙂 Thanks for visiting Austin!
OMG it looks amazing there, and your website looks just as beautiful. The pictures and colors just make you want to go. Do you know if there are any golf courses there? as I love my golf. It definitely looks a place to go and totally unwind. Thank you heaps I will check out your website again.
It is amazing 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed reading! You won’t find any golf courses here unfortunately. But to go and unwind, then it is the perfect place. Visit again Paul!
Hello! First of all, your review of what I call “Heaven on Earth” is very well informed. I have always been intrigued with the Tahitian Islands, but was never aware of the islands you reviewed. I never knew that there were more further south.
The video at the end of your page is amazing. I wish I was there now!!
Have you ever been?
Well done post on the Austral Islands. Makes me wanna grab my passport and go! Too bad i can’t afford it! 🙂
Yes, I would agree that it is heaven on Earth for sure. One of those dream destinations…and not I have not been. I had to do a lot of research on this tiny spot of heaven. I am glad you enjoyed reading!
I have seen a couple of your travel destination articles now and I have to say it’s the most informative and honest holiday reports that I have ever read, keep up the good work and I’ll keep coming back, cheers
Thank you so much Matthew for continuing to visit my site. I am glad you enjoy reading!
Wow what a great post! This is very informative. Even though you said that the accommodations can be scarce, the options and information provided is amazing. I appreciate the information on actually getting to the destination and also traveling while there, as well as the restaurant and hotel info. Even the ads for helpful. I honestly never thought of vacationing here but it is now on the radar. I will be taking a look through the rest of the site as well.
Thank you Kayla and I am glad you enjoyed. These islands are remote, but they have so so much to offer. It really is an amazing place. You would enjoy!
Wow, I want to go! The water is so clear and I would love to be able to go diving and see the whales. I have been lucky enough to see humpbacks in Hawaii and Mexico but I have only seen them above the water not below. I was able to hear them one time when snorkeling off Hawaii. That was amazing, but I could not see them.
That would be amazing to be that close in clear water.
I have been to Fanning Island (actually an atoll)in Karibati which is about 1,100 miles south of Hawaii, but only for a few hours as part of a cruise. It takes days of cruising back and forth to get there.
I would love to see more of the real Polynesia and have time to enjoy it.
Thanks for so much detailed information!
You are so welcome Jessica. Yes, seeing the whales under the clear beautiful blue water is amazing. You would truly enjoy for sure. I am glad you visited my site and got to know the Austral Islands of French Polynesia 🙂