Best things to see, do and eat in Tahiti: Expert expat travel tips

THE EXPAT

Originally from Sydney, professional photographer Tim McKenna started his career as an action sports photographer in Bordeaux, France, before settling in Tahiti in 2002. He says French Polynesia is the perfect mix of Australian lifestyle based around the ocean with French and Polynesia culture. See timmckennaphoto.com

SEE

The wave at the end of my road is a must-see. Teahupoo is the most beautiful wave in the world and a real spectacle of the power of nature when the swell is big. The surroundings, with huge, pyramid-shaped mountains, gives the place a very special aura and a quick taxi boat ride from the marina can get you very close to the action without any risks. Also, in July every year, the Heiva celebrations offer amazing shows performed by traditional Tahitian dance groups, Polynesian sports competitions and exhibitions around the island.

DO

Go stand-up paddle boarding in the Paea or Punaauia lagoon and enjoy the crystal-clear waters with a perfect view down to beautiful coral reefs, sting rays, and blacktip reef sharks. Hiking in the middle of the island is also a great option. It's not something many people think about when they think of Tahiti, but the jungles of the islands are stunning. Check the views of the Mont Marau or the wonderful Fautaua waterfall.

EAT

For lunch, Snack Tavania next to the Vairao docks is the best affordable restaurant in Tahiti: order the amazing tuna sashimi, tartare or its famous poisson cru. For dinner, the Blue Banana in Punaauia is a nice waterfront restaurant with a big variety of dishes and good atmosphere. The local lagoon fishes are the best; try papio or parrot fish, or the ocean fish Mahi Mahi, bluebanana.in-tahiti.com

DRINK

Les 3 Brasseurs in the centre of Papeete, next to the ferry docks, has a micro-brewery with a good local lager brewed onsite, and the local Mana'o Rhum is a good bet for liquor, 3brasseurs-pacific.com

AVOID

If you are offered fafaru during your stay, just be aware that it's fresh fish marinated in three-day-old seawater and crushed shrimp. It's a local delicacy and the fish is sweet, but the "rotten" aroma is intense.

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