Tahiti, Bora Bora: French Polynesia to New Zealand cruise includes Conrad Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort

Even though seemingly at least half of the developed world hankers, vainly in the main, to one day visit it, French Polynesians can be a little disdainful of their most famous piece of paradise perfection. "Boring Boring" they love to irreverently refer to it.

Privately they tell jokes about it, comparing it to other islands in a country consisting of 118 of them (atolls included). They say that on Moorea they grow pineapples, on Taha'a they grow vanilla while on Bora Bora they grow bungalows (over-water bungalows, that ultimate in accommodation indulgence that was actually invented in Tahiti).

I have a mere half-a-day or so on Boring Boring (sorry, Bora Bora) during the port visit of the cruise ship Viking Sun on a cruise between French Polynesia and New Zealand. Among the selection of shore excursions on offer I've chosen a flying fish visit to the Conrad Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort.

During this time, passengers from Viking Sun are entitled, for a not insubstantial charge, to access all of the facilities of the resort, including a mammoth infinity pool with swim-up bar as well as a two-course lunch at one of the six restaurants (preferred flooring surface: soft warm sand).

It's a chance to experience a classic French Polynesian luxury overwater bungalow resort without actually staying in a luxury overwater bungalow and paying the full tariff for the undoubted pleasure.

Before joining the ship in Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia, I'd spent five full-on days exploring four of the other islands, undertaking all of the requisite French Polynesia activities including swimming with sharks, turtles and rays. Now is the time to do what most other visitors to these islands do: stuff all.

But first it's necessary to be tendered to shore from the Viking Sun, anchored in mid-bay, to the village of Vaitape where there's just enough time before my boat transfer to the resort to stroll along what amounts to Bora Bora's main street.

It's dotted not only with the usual souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes but also a seeming oversupply of churches, each of them juxtaposed to maximise the ethereal backdrop of the of the 345-metre Mount Otemanu, the pea-green volcanic peak that provides Bora Bora with its distinctive, unforgettable shape

Back at the pier it's a short launch ride to the resort located on a private island, Motu To'opua, home to the longest private stretch of talc-like white sand beaches in Bora Bora, onto which lap the bluest of thesaurus-defying waters, rendering the descriptive cliche "azure" positively inadequate.


Although my Viking Sun group are welcomed to the resort as true guests, you'd really need to spend at least a night here to experience the full gamut of its allures including the over-water bungalows. Once there, I realise it's at least possible to admire them from afar and even from underneath since you can snorkel among the shadows below them and around their cement pylons.

You learn, too, that the Conrad Hilton Bora Bora Nui has literally taken the concept of the over-water bungalow to a whole new level by creating the odd two-storey versions, McMansions sur mer, if you will.

Off-limits, too, if only for want of limited time, is Motu Tapu, Conrad Bora Bora's own exclusive islet just five minutes from the resort, where guests can enjoy picnic lunches or romantic dinners.

Once my five languid hours of sun-kissed Bora Bora bliss is up, having spent my time swimming swimming, eating eating and drinking drinking, it's time to return to the ship, one giant over-water bungalow, if you will.

The French Polynesians, God love 'em, can have their quips but this briefest of brief encounters with Bora Bora sure has been my kind of boring.


Anthony Dennis visited French Polynesia as a guest of Viking Cruises, Tahiti Tourisme and Air Tahiti Nui.






Viking Sun returns to Bora Bora during its 245-day Ultimate World Cruise departing in August. See vikingcruises.com.au


Air Tahiti Nui operates flights between Auckland and Papeete, with connections from Australia, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays each week; codeshare flights with Air Zealand operate on Mondays and Fridays. See airtahitinui.com