We have spent 9 days at the beautiful island of Moorea. Andrew thinks this is the most stunning anchorage we have been in during our 12 years of cruising. I’m torn because I also really like Fatu Hiva. Either way French Polynesia is gorgeous. Here are a few photos of the anchorage to give you an idea.

We took the dinghy up to the mouth of Opunohu Bay and gazed at the gorgeous view.

We did go to Cook’s Bay for a look, it is not as beautiful as Opunohu Bay. Interestingly enough Captain Cook never stopped in this bay.

There are tons of hiking and biking trails on Moorea; we managed to do two trails with Distant Star, both with spectacular scenery.

Magic Mountain Hike – 4/8/2021

The Magic Mountain hike is on private property on the west side of Opunohu Bay, and there is a charge of 200xpf ($2 US) per adult and 100 ($1) per child to be paid at the owners trailer. The trail is about a 4 km round trip. There is also the option, if you don’t want to hike the path, that you can pay to get driven up or both up and back. When you return from your hike you can sit at one of the tables and they will bring out a plate of various fresh fruit and their own homemade specialty jams to try.

Part of the way up the trail it divides into two paths, the right hand path is shorter but steeper (about 45 mins) and the left hand path is longer (1 hr) but the incline is more gradual. Ashe and the kids went the steep path, while Andrew, Luka, Ilo and I took the more gentle one. About 2/3 up the path there are some concrete seats where you can sit and admire the view and catch your breath.

The view as you hike up the mountain.

Once you reach the top you have an amazing view overlooking the bay, the coral reefs and anchored boats.

The view from the top!

I actually found this hike more strenuous than the one to Belvedere Lookout. But it was worth the hard work! The map below is of the trail we hiked. If you want a downloadable map for your phone to use offline send me an email and I will send you the file.

Map of Magic Mountain Hike

Belvedere Lookout Hike from Opunohu Bay – 6/8/2021

We dinghied from the main anchorage to the end of Opunohu Bay, where we locked our dinghies to a palm tree to start our hike. The hike is just over 9 km round trip, mostly along a road. The road leads you through farmland with cows and pineapple plantations, including one that sells ice-cream or sorbet or go on a tour of the plantation and through two marae before reaching the viewpoint. The hike is moderate and the incline is gradual.

View of the extinct volcanoes plug with wildflowers in the foreground.

One of the pineapple plantations we passed on our hike.

We went off-road at the first Marae and followed the dirt pathway to the second before following another dirt trail (shortcut) to reach Belvedere Lookout. Tristan opted to stop at the Marae and photograph mushrooms while the rest of us continued up.

The Belvedere Lookout offers you stunning views of Mount Rotui and the dormant volcano Mount Tohivea, as well as Cook’s Bay and Opunohu Bay. 

Mount Tohivea

We stopped and enjoyed the view and a bit of a rest before heading back down.

Cook’s Bay on the right and Oponhu Bay on the left are separated by Mount Rotui.

Mount Tohivea and Mount Rotui

We hiked back down, stopping at a pineapple plantation for ice-creams. The map below shows our hiking route. If you want a copy you can download to your phone and use offline send me an email and I’ll be happy to send it to you.

Map of the Belvedere Lookout Hike.

We finished off our day with a potluck on Distant Star, our final night together after travelling together for the past 5 months.

During our time together we had a long and slow 23 day passage from Mexico, quarantine (8 days for us, 14 days for Distant Star), injuries (Ilo hit by a coconut, Makawi falling through a hatch and Kahlil getting infected mosquito bites), a lost dinghy and crappy weather but through it all Distant Star have been troopers and kept going. There have also been some really fantastic times hiking, snorkelling, visiting ancient sites, potlucks, sundowners and lots of laughter. We will miss you guys but wish you all the best with your time in French Polynesia and on to Hawaii. You are an awesome family and we have loved spending time with you. Remember you can always catch up to us in Fiji if you change your mind.

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