After 32 days of confinement we were finally free! We were allowed to explore, hike, and ride bikes around Mo’orea. It has been months since Matt and I had exercised our legs on a good hike. On our first day of freedom, we set out on 6.7 mile hike straight up 85 stories (almost 1,000’). Our goal is to get to the ridge at Taraieie.
It started out easy enough along a paved road, then behind one of the two local markets. The paved road turned to a nicely manicured dirt road sandwiched between beautiful private gardens.
About 2 miles into our journey it started to rain. Not a torrential rain shower, but it was enough to force us into hiding for 30 minutes. Now our beautiful trail turned muddy and very slippery over the fallen leaves and tree roots. Gots to be careful in our flip flops (yes, stupid I know).
Matt has always been stronger when it comes to a hike. He is literally like a goat climbing a hill. He spent most of the hike looking for me and waiting.
Along the way we found lots of fruit trees. The soursop fruit which is really lovely (sort of like a berry and apple flavor) grows right out of the tree branch which sure looks funny to me.
Many beautiful flowers bloomed in the shade of the tall trees. These particular bird of paradise flowers had a beautiful iridescent glow to them when the sun spotlighted them.
We made it to the top with relatively no drama. It was a beautiful view of Vaiare Bay.
The way down was a bit of a challenge for me. I kept slipping out of my flips, crashed on my arse a few times, and felt the aches and pains of someone who has not being hiking in a while. But a hike is a hike as long as you complete it – and complete it I did!
It was a great day to be out moving. But I will admit I was pretty tired by the time we got home.
We get down and dirty cleaning and repairing the boat in our last blog. Coming up next, we rent eBikes to circumnavigate around the entire island of Mo’orea.
Events from this blog post occurred during the third week of August, 2021. Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.
It was time to get up and get moving. We decide to hike through Opunohu Valley to see the pineapple plantations and amazing views. Matt researches our trail and we decide to do a 5.1 mile hike. We were not 100% certain where we could safely leave the dinghy, so we leave it at a place we know is secure. We start walking along the 2 lane road. About 1 mile into our walk, I ask Matt how far to the start of our hike. He says, “uh, it is another 1.5 miles to the entrance.” Ok, so 2.5 miles to get to the 5.1 mile hike and then 2.5 miles back? Oh dear….
The view at the start of the hiking trails is gorgeous.
There are dozens of trails through the Opunohu Valley. Our trail follows the black line (top photo) and then catches the red line on the way back. At least that is the “plan.”
Opunohu Valley Trails
If you look really hard you can see the face at the top of the mountain. Focus on the hole at the top
The trails were marked, but they were rather confusing. Can you make out the trail this is pointing to? Keep in mind that there are dozens of trails and this does not indicate which one is to the right. Our trail takes us across a few rivers. You can usually cross over rocks, but the boys decided to cross over a fallen tree.
There were several very old and very large banyan trees. We found one tree with the strangest looping branch.
Pineapple Fields Forever…
We passed through several fields of pineapples.
It was super fun to see the different stages of pineapple growth
This picture just spoke to us – take me, shoot me, capture me, remember me.
A photo at the start and end of our hike. Not much worse off.
Proof of our crazy death march:
In our next blog we visit a sea turtle sanctuary, Te Mana O’ Te Moana. Did you forget to read our last blog where we visited a black sand beach at Point Venus?
Events from this blog post occurred during the first week of August, 2021. Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.
What was thought to be a quick visit to a water garden turned out to be one of our best hikes ever. We were not sure what to expect at the Jardin d’eau Vaipahi as the descriptions online described a botanical garden. So, we thought this would be a quick stop before we moved on to Teahupoo, the deadliest break in the world.
The site of Vaipahi was a sacred site in the ancient times. It was a place of religious importance because of the presence of purifying sources. In the past, the spirits of the deceased of the Teva clan took this “path of purification of souls” during their quest for paradise.
One sign reads:
“Following meticulous directions and incantations of Te’ura-i-Hamano, the spiritual entity was plunged into the quivering waters of Vai’ō’ō, thus beginning the purification journey. Light and humble after the bath, it was cleansed from the stains of life by the mighty breath of the gushing waters of the Vaipahi waterfall.”
In addition, the signs tell us that the souls were taken for the high priestess of death, Te’ura-i-Hamano, into the spiritual transcendent and saving waters. The powerful breath of the gushing waters of the Vaipahi waterfall loosened the strains that stuck to their skin from the souls. Having successfully completed an imposed ritual, the souls obtained the eternal rest offered in the garden of delights of Rohotu-No’ano’a, a paradise of the Ma’ohi people.
A really beautiful belief and so well stated.
Hiking the Vaipahi Falls
Jardin d’eau Vaipahi
As we continued to read the signage, we discovered a map indicating three hiking trails. We really wanted to explore the longest, huge loop. However, we were ill prepared. We were wearing flip flops and did not have sufficient water or food. We were also on a schedule with our rental car. So, we decided to compromise by walking up the short waterfall path and down the longer path. There are three hikes. A “short” hike of up to 120m which is 30 minutes one way. A medium hike up 180 meters at about 75 minutes one way and a long hike up 287m which takes 2hrs 30 min one way.
The short hike was straight up following and crossing the river. We had at least a dozen different waterfalls in varying sizes along the path. Everything was incredibly green, happy, and healthy. We were enveloped by the shade from the towering trees that surrounded us. Water gurgled and lapped along the rocks lazily as we passed by. Truly beautiful to all our senses.
There were well placed ropes to help you cross a few tricky river crossings and along the steep edges. But for the most part, you could easily leap across the river, or step on the river rocks, or fallen trees.
The top left photo shows the map. We took the blue trail straight up along the waterfall rivers and cut over to the orange trail down a wide pine needle path.
Cole was the only one brave enough (or silly enough) to dip into the cool, fresh water.
Cole dips in the cool waterfall
Back to Jardin de Vaipahi
The way to the falls was by far one of the prettiest hikes we have ever done. We all decided this was one of the best hikes ever! Once we made the top, we were a little disappointed as it was just a juncture where all three trails met. No spectacular views or waterfalls or anything. Just a sign pointing out the direction of each trail. We hopped on the orange trail and headed down.
End of our trail hike
The path on the way down was rather wide and covered completely in pine needles. It made it a wee bit slippery, but far more easy to navigate. We came across a few other tourists and enjoyed a few pretty views on the way back to Vaipahi Gardens.
This was certainly an unexpected surprise. We did not expect to find a hike let alone one so very beautiful. A true gem. We will certainly come back do traverse across the other trails.
When I had better internet, I found this website describing our three hikes at the Jardin d’eau Vaipai.
Coming up next, we make one of Cole’s wishes come true by taking him to the world-famous surf site of Teahupoo. And you can check out the Tahitian natural grottos if you missed our last blog.
Events from this blog post occurred during the last week of July, 2021. Our blog posts run 10-12 weeks behind our adventures.