Top things to do in The Australs & the Gambier Archipelago

Beach in Raivavae

Motu Piscine

Raivavae’s stunning lagoon, brimming with marine life and ringed by ironwood-covered motu, is one of the treasures of the South Pacific. Motu Piscine (Motu Swimming Pool; Motu Vaiamanu) is the best-known motu, fring…
Archaeological Site in Tubuai

Marae Raitoro, Haunarei & Harii

More than 200 marae have been found in Tubuai and the few that have been cleared are among the most fascinating in the country. Raitoru and Haunarei Marae are two connected marae that were for birthing and umbilical…
International in Tubuai

Mara’ai – Le Spot

Run by French Hervé and his Tahitian wife Ina, Mara'ai – Le Spot is the only independent restaurant on Tubuai. With a sand floor and a palm-frond roof, this is a cool and rustic place for a drink or a relaxed meal a…
Tahitian in Mangareva

Snack Jojo

It’s hardly haute cuisine at this modest joint, but the fine choice of sandwiches (from 400 CFP) alongside the mainstream Tahitian dishes provide easy midday or evening fuel. The owners also rent a spacious, well-ap…
Archaeological Site in Raivavae

Tiki

The only remaining tiki (carved humanlike statue) on the island stands in a private garden just to the west of the village of Mahanatoa. About 1m in height, it has highly stylised hands and chest as well as clearly …
Arts & Crafts in The Gambier Archipelago

Centre Educatif de Développement

To check out Mangareva’s famous mother-of-pearl carvings, head to this venture, just downhill to the left from the intersection above Cathédrale Saint-Michel, where you can watch students as they engrave shells. You…
Island in The Gambier Archipelago

Aukena

Aukena has reminders of the missionary period, including the hexagonal lookout tower, still used as a landmark, the former seminary and the lime kiln. The white-sand beach leading to the tower is one of the pretties…
Island in The Gambier Archipelago

Taravai

Taravai had a population of 2000 when the missionaries arrived, but today only about five people live here. The 1868 Église Saint-Gabriel (Church of St Gabriel), with its gorgeous shell decoration, is well maintaine…
Cathedral in Mangareva

Cathédrale Saint-Michel

Fully restored in 2011, the imposing Cathedral of St Michael was built between 1839 and 1848 and was Laval’s most ambitious project. It makes a colourful scene on Sunday morning, when it is bursting at the seams wit…
Ruins in Mangareva

Couvent Rouru

The eerily beautiful remains of Rouru Convent, which once housed 60 nuns, stands south of the cemetery and is quickly becoming engulfed by weeds. It’s said that Laval hid the entire female population of the island i…