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Sail the crystal waters of the South Pacific reef system

Austral Islands & Raiatea

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Aranui 5
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During this 13-day cruise, explore and marvel in the beautiful landscapes of the Austral and  Raiatea while aboard the Aranui 5. Discovered in the 18th century, the Austral Islands are located 600 km south of Tahiti.  Breathtaking landscapes, sheer mountains, valleys, these islands are renowned for their agricultural and artisanal activities, their caves sheltering ancient burials, and whale watching.
Snorkel the vibrant waters of the South PacificWomen wearing traditional dress of the South Pacific.South Pacific islandsWelcome to Tahiti!South Pacific port on Aranui 5 cruiseGolden beachsideSail the crystal waters of the South Pacific reef system
Highlights
  • Learn about the sustainable fishing of Anaa
  • Try your hand at traditional javelin throwing
  • Admire the intricate works of arts and crafts of locals
  • Indulge in relaxing accommodation as the vessel sails
Places Visited
  • South Pacific
  • Tahiti
  • Austral Islands
  • French Polynesia
  • Oceania
  • Polynesia
  • Raivavae
  • Rurutu
  • Society Islands
  • Tubuai
Trip Type:
  • Small Ship
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Papeete, Tahiti | Embark

You will be warmly welcomed by our Polynesian staff and will take your bearings on the boat before the great journey to Raiatea. 

Day 2: Raiatea, Society Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Originally called Havai’i Nui, Ra’iatea is considered to be the cradle of the ancestors and the ma’ohi civilization, which is claimed by all the Polynesians of the triangle (Hawai’i, New Zealand, and Easter Island). The expansion of Polynesians throughout the Pacific began from this exact site on Raiatea. After offering blessings through sacred ceremonies and celebrations, outriggers with the original pioneers ventured north to Hawaii and west to New Zealand. As the first Polynesian island to be populated, Raiatea maintains the most spectacular and first international marae of the Polynesian triangle, called Taputapuatea and is where inauguration ceremonies, political alliances and international meetings would have taken place in ancient times. 

Day 3: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy a day at sea to relax by the pool and participate in one of the lectures or activities offered by our guides.

Day 4: Rimatara, Austral Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Aranui is adrift, tenders to the dock. Welcome with a walk through purification smoke (ancient tradition of Rimatara’s inhabitants). Although Rimatara is the smallest of the Austral Islands, it charms the visitors with its hidden treasures. In the hollow of this circular island, one has the impression that time has stopped. Departure for a circle island tour by bus and visit to the villages of Amaru, Anapoto, and Matuaura. Visit handicraft centers. In Rimatara, the main occupation of the inhabitants, apart from agriculture, is basket weaving and especially the preparation of fara pae’ore leaves (a variety of pandanus without thorns) which are used to make cloth.

Day 5: Rurutu, Austral Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Rurutu, one of the two largest raised atolls in French Polynesia, is unique because of its geological structure which is surprising as one does not expect to discover such landscapes in the South Pacific. Basalt and limestone cliffs dotted with caves where islanders once lived, a volcanic interior with lush tropical jungle, white-sand beaches, and beautiful bays offer breathtaking views. The Aranui is adrift, tenders to the pier of Moerai. Welcome to the village of Moerai. Visit the Mitterand cave, the handicraft center with weaving demonstrations. Local coffee for sale. Visit the Royal House, well known for the confection of local patchwork quilts, the tifaifai, followed by a demonstration of “stone lifting” (traditional custom).
Circle island tour starting from the Northern or Southern coast. In the North, visit the cave Mitterand, the marae in Vitaria’s village. In the South, swimming at Naairoa’s beach, taro plantation visit with an explanation about the cultivation system, old houses made of limestone.

Day 6: Tubuai, Austral Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tenders to the small dock at Town Hall with welcome and music. Handicraft at the Town Hall of Mataura with weaving demonstrations. Free time in the village (Post Office, Bank…) Visit places like Fort Georges, marae with a kava ceremony and a woodcarver in the village of Tamatoa. 

Scuba diving with La Bonne Bouteille (optional activity)

Day 7: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy a day at sea to relax by the pool and participate in one of the lectures or activities offered by our guides.

Day 8-9: Rapa, Austral

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
The Aranui is tied up at the pier of Rapa in the village of Haurei. Welcome with music and flowers lei.  Located in the extreme south of the Austral archipelago, this crescent-shaped island with its coastline cut by 12 very deep bays reminiscent of Nordic fjords is one of the most isolated and least populated in French Polynesia.

Rapa-Iti – or “Little Rapa” as the island is known here that has a strong cultural link with Easter Island, known as Rapa-Nui or Big Island by the Polynesians. Legend has it that Rapa-Nui was first settled by the people of Rapa-Iti. Once home to fierce warriors who lived in fortified villages built on terraces among the volcanic peaks, the island’s inhabitants now live by farming and fishing. Shuttle from the pier to the Cultural Center. Visit the Cultural Center with handicrafts. Free time in the village of Haurei. Visit the “pa” (fort) with a very steep hill good for hikers.

Day 10: Raivavae, Austral

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Known as the “Bora Bora of the Austral Islands” Raivavae’s white-sand beaches, huge emerald lagoon, and 28 motus surrounding the lush main island have earned it this distinction. Giant stone tikis resembling those of the Marquesas and Easter Island, including an unusually smiling tiki, wooden carvings, an open-air sacred temple, and Polynesian pirogues are just some of the archaeological features you’ll discover on an island tour.

Tenders to the beach of Mahanatoa with flowery welcome. Departure by bus for a circle island tour to visit a smiling “tiki” in Rairua’s village. Food tasting with local music. Handicraft, woven hats, and baskets made of pandanus leaves. Meeting on the beach of Mahanatoa for a typical buffet from Raivavae.

Optional activities: – Motu pool excursion with swimming and snorkeling.

Day 11: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy a day at sea to relax by the pool and participate in one of the lectures or activities offered by our guides.

Day 12: Anaa, Tuamotu

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Aranui is adrift in Anaa. Tenders to the small dock of Tukuhora. A small atoll with less than 500 inhabitants, Anaa wrote its way into the history books as the birthplace of Tahiti’s royal family the Pomare Dynasty. These days it’s best known for its luminous jade lagoon with green clouds above the sun rays reflecting off the water and picturesque Motus with no less than eleven little islands scattered around the atoll. Be introduced to local craftsmanship and challenge your family or friends to the traditional javelin throw. Walk for a visit to the village. Visit Anaa Pito, a whole in the lagoon (optional activity) Polynesian Feast on board.

Day 13: Papeete, Tahiti | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark at Papeete, Tahiti bringing with you the experience of a lifetime and memories to treasure.

Ship/Hotel

Aranui 5

The Aranui 5
Aranui 5 Reception
Aranui 5 Veranda Bar

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$3,670
Select a Date
Single Stateroom
100 sq. ft. (9 sq.m) of interior space with a porthole, a single bed, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer.
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Class C
Approx. 135 sq. ft. and 285 sq. ft. Dormitory style accommodations, with two lower and two upper berths or four lower and four upper berths, porthole, one or two private bathroom with shower, wardrobe, sitting area.
Regular Stateroom aboard the Aranui 5
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Regular Stateroom
Approx. 120 sq. ft. Exterior cabin with one double bed or two twin beds, one bathroom with a shower, desk, one flat screen TV, and safe.
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Regular Stateroom - Obstructed
120 sq. ft. (11 sq.m) of interior space and a picture window with an obstructed view, this exterior cabin offers either, a king size or two single beds, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer.
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Deluxe
Approx. 140 sq. ft. + 45 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with one double bed or two twin beds, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, desk, wardrobe, one flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Superior Deluxe
Approx. 160 sq. ft. + 45 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with one double bed or two twin beds, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, desk, wardrobe, one flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
Junior Suite aboard the Aranui 5
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Junior Suite
Approx. 200 sq. ft. Exterior cabin with a double bed or two twin beds, two windows that cannot be opened, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, desk, wardrobe, one flat screen TV, sofa bed, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Premium Suite
Approx. 200 sq. ft. + 45 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with double bed or two twin beds, semi private day room with decorative screen and sofa bed, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, desk, wardrobe, flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Royal Suite
Approx. 240 sq. ft + 100 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with a double bed or two twin beds, living room with sofa bed, semi-private bedroom with decorative screen, wardrobe, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, one flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Royal Suite - Obstructed
240 sq. ft. (22 sq.m) of interior space and a 100 sq. ft. (9 sq.m) private corner balcony, this exterior cabin offers a bedroom with a king size bed or twin beds and a sitting room with a sofa bed, divided by a decorative filigree screen, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer, refrigerator and safe. In this category, the view of the windows is obstructed.
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Presidential Suite
Approx. 440 sq. ft + 130 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with a double bed or two twin beds, living room with sofa bed, mini bar, walk-in closet, two bathrooms with a shower, make up table, desk, two flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.

Notes

Cruise fare includes:
  • 12 nights accommodation in selected cabin type aboard the freighter/passenger ship Aranui 5
  • 3 meals with complimentary wine
  • Guided tours and educational opportunities
Cruise fare does not include:
  •  Port, cruise and tourist taxes. Total will vary by departure and cabin type selected (please contact us for rate schedule)
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Optional excursions such as scuba diving, fishing, horseback riding, and helicopter tours
  • Any airfare
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities and personal expenses

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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