The discovery of the Australes Islands

The Australes archipelago, known as « Tuha’a Pae » in Tahitian, is composed of 5 islands: Tubuai, Rurutu, Rimatara, Raivavae, and Rapa.

These islands form a distinct archipelago within French Polynesia. Often overlooked in favor of more “touristy” islands, they are nonetheless worth exploring.

If you are seeking an authentic Polynesian experience, with a sense of humility in the face of the untouched and preserved nature, then venture out to this string of islands in the middle of the Pacific.

A unique experience

Venture off the beaten path of Polynesian tourism by choosing the Australes Islands! You will find plenty to satisfy your curiosity and thirst for discovery. From July to October, the blue waters of this archipelago transform into a sanctuary for humpback whales. These whales travel thousands of kilometers to give birth here. It’s an emotional experience to witness, savor, and share!

Picturesque sites

From mysterious mountains with steep terrain to magnificent white sand beaches, some of these islands also have archaeological sites that bear witness to a rich cultural past.

Explore the small paths that wind through the mountain peaks of the Australes, and perhaps you will find a cave or the ruins of an ancient fort tucked away among the ferns.

For those who prefer the cool waters of the lagoon to the mountains, there is a « Motu piscine » (island-pool) on the island of Raivavae! We’ll let you discover it!

A history

The Australes Islands also have a history – that of the encounter, in the 18th century, between the West and Polynesia. Sometimes welcoming, sometimes hostile to travelers of the time, the Australes Islands were completely annexed by France in the 1900s.

However, on these isolated bits of land, the stories passed down from generation to generation are mostly those of myths and legends from the past that the natives will surely share with you.


To fully appreciate the beauty and richness of Australes Islands’ craftsmanship, simply stroll through the villages on a Sunday, the day of religious worship. Everyone dons their finest attire, hats, bags, and pandanus fiber fans that they have undoubtedly woven themselves or purchased from their neighbors. Indeed, local craftsmanship is of great finesse and testifies to a traditional mastery and know-how specific to this region of French Polynesia.


Polynesians have a deep love and respect for their « Fenua » (land), and it returns the favor. Agriculture is one of the economic resources of the Australes and is very present and diversified depending on the island you land on. On the volcanic plains of these islands, fruits and vegetables grow abundantly and will delight your taste buds.