There are some nice things to see and do in Bora Bora if you get bored sitting in the bungalow. The hotels located on the motu offer a frequent shuttle boat to the main island. The pier and drop off point is just a parking place, so make sure you have plans and a pick up arranged. Most of the restaurants and tour operators offer free pickup from your hotel or from the dock where the hotel shuttle boat leaves you. When staying in the hotels on a main island that the lack of taxis and public transportation may make it hard to explore the island on your own.
Operating a resort in the paradise is not easy. Even the big chains seem to fail. On our boat trip around the Bora Bora lagoon we noticed the abandoned Club Med hotel, and got interested what has happened to it. The locals told us that there are also other hotels that have been closed recently.
Bora Bora might just be the most stunning lagoon in the world. We had never before seen water this clear and all shades of green and blue like these. The best way to explore the lagoon is by renting a small private motor boat. We got a small aluminum boat with 6HP engine for 4 hours, costing about 100 Eur (yes, it is expensive, but so is everything in Bora Bora).
Bora Bora is a place where we have wanted to travel for a long, long time. For me it has always represented the ultimate and most exclusive tropical destination on the planet. Often the expectations are higher than the reality, but this time our expectations were exceeded. Bora bora is by far the most beautiful destination we have ever been to.
When traveling, you sometimes are lucky enough to find a really special place to stay at. Rande’s Shack on the island of Huahine, French Polynesia is one of those. They only have two bungalows for rent, and when staying in one of those, you can experience what it would really be like living in the French Polynesia.
Living in Finland and mostly flying from there, I have never before crossed the international date line. Usually I can easily wrap my head around different timezones, but now it just got more complicated. Tomorrow (Monday) morning we are flying from Auckland to Papeete, and arriving there later today (Sunday). Our flight leaves from Auckland 10.00 in the morning, and our next flight from Papeete to Huahine leaves 7.00 on the same day. So we are leaving Auckland 3 hours after our next flight leaves from Papeete, on the same day. Booking these flights and understanding what time and date is where was not easy at all…
On our way from Hong Kong to Tahiti we stopped for two days of jet-lagging in Auckland, the capital of New Zealand. We knew almost nothing about the city beforehand, and started planning and researching for things to do only few days before landing.
After answering questions and showing our passports to three different border officials, and clearing the luggage x-rays with no hiking boots, food products or used tents, we were allowed to enter the country. Besides the unwelcoming first appearance, the city felt welcoming and modern right from the start. The weather in late September was 15*c and raining – quite cold compared to the humid and hot Hong Kong. We had chosen the Rendezvous Grand Hotel, mainly because it seemed good value and we stayed only two nights. The hotel had just been renovated, the rooms were new, and the location was good. It was big and boring, but easy and comfortable.
During our last trip to Las Vegas did some shopping at the Premium Outlets, and both of us needed new hiking boots. I wasn’t sure if hiking boots bought from an outlet store would have the quality and durability needed in rough terrain and multi-day backpacking trips, but the prices were so low that we decided to give the boots a try. Salla found her boots from Timberland (under 50 USD) and I bought a pair of Columbia Newton Ridge WP boots (about 45 USD).
This is the result after only 8 days of hiking during last summer:
My Columbia boots have lasted well and are still in good condition. So far they have been light, comfortable and waterproof. I would recommend them to anyone!
Route: Suomunruoktu – Kiilopää
Distance: 15 km, 4,5 hours
Once again we woke up to a freezing morning. The temperature might have dropped even well below zero during the night, and we hoped that the school kids sleeping in tents outside had warm enough clothes and sleeping bags. The hut was packed to the last spot and so did not even try get up before the others had their breakfast. The group of women who had joined us in the hut the previous night seemed to full of enthusiasm and energy.
For the rest of us it would be our last day and the mood in the hut was a bit somber. Jaakko and Sanna left first as they had a plane to catch. Matti left next with a bus to catch. We enjoyed our last instant breakfast, packed our gear and hit the trail with very light packs. The day would be relatively easy walking on a wide ATV trail passing several fells.
Route: Luirojärvi – Tuiskukuru – Kustunlampi – Suomunruoktu
Distance: 23 km, 7,5 hours
The fourth day of the trip looked promising. Clear blue sky and no sign of rain anywhere in the horizon. Once again it was cold but we kept ourselves warm making some more firewood. The day’s hike was going to be the longest so far. First we would hike 8km to the Tuiskukuru hut, eat lunch and rest for a while and the we would continue 15km to the Suomunruoktu wilderness hut. After a quick breakfast we packed our stuff, cleaned the hut and headed for the trail around 10:40. Just like every previous morning once again there was a river to cross. After that the path was very easy and wide, mostly in the flat pine wood forests. No hiking above the treeline today.