Austral Islands
Best months:
April to October

Austral Islands

French Polynesia
LAST UPDATED 26/08/2008
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Guilherme Paula: Flag of the Austral Islands; 2007

The Austral Islands are an Eastern group of Islands in French Polynesia. Well off the beaten track they lie a few hundred miles to the East of Tahiti. Only recently have the Islands really been easily approachable by visitors. Rurutu seems to be positioning itself as the most accessible to tourists seeking something a little different from Tahiti. There are a few areas that show promise to the south and east of the island – one thing for sure is that you are pretty much guaranteed to have whatever you find all to yourself.





US CIA: French Polynesia and the Austral Islands; 2003

The island of Rurutu is surrounded by reef. At regular intervals along the reef lie excellent points and passes that offer quality waves to the brave. The island is only 10 kilometres long so easy to check for potential on a daily basis







NASA: Rimatara, Austral Islands; 2008

The predominant South easterly trade winds are the major weather factor in play for the region. This ensures regular swell to the southern facing areas of the islands albeit it low period windswell. The larger swells from the South west are most common from May through to September.

These will light up all of the reefs, passes and points on the islands. If somewhere looks to big or you aren’t that comfortable in surfing large waves on reefs then travel, chances are if you head a little further around the corners of the island you will find something to your liking and ability. Tropical cyclones can pass through the area though rarely make landfall. The rarer northerly breaks really come to life if the system passes far enough to the north to generate some solid groundswell.


NASA: Maria, Austral Islands ; 2002

Flying is the most common method of arrival in the Islands. The airport at the northern end of the island is right near the main settlement, hotel group, restaurant and the best reef passes on the island –isn’t it good when that happens! The main settlements on the island all offer limited harbour space if you are sailing. The narrow reef passes on the island look very dicey and poorly marked, so local knowledge would be a must if sailing around these waters.



where to stay

NASA: Rurutu Island; 2008

There are a few spots to stay on the island, all very basic but neat. Rurutu Lodge is the largest place but there is several other B and B style guest houses around the island – all offer a fantastic sense of seclusion for the meditative amongst you.

what to pack

Fir0002: A 2,000,000 candlepower torch; 11 September 2006

As some of the islands are uninhabited, better take everything you might need. All the gear if you plan to camp: a good waterproof sleeping bag and tent; special gas container u can use for heating food and water; a sturdy backpack or a cargo pack with a good daypack. Invest in a portable water filter or at least take some puri-tabs or boil the water.

And take a good protection for your camera from the sand. 

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