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Setting sail from Papeete
If you are in search of paradise, don't expect it to be easy to get there! It's a long old haul to get to Papeete, the capital of French Polynesia. And once you are there, Papeete itself is by no means the most magical spot - you need to venture forth to see the other islands, and luxuriate in the turquoise lagoons, white sand beaches fringed with palm trees, rugged mountain peaks and coral reefs. Expensive and remote, these islands have maintained their uncommercial magic, with excellent hotels and a warm Polynesian welcome everywhere you go.
Don’t bother with local currency – all the local shops and markets will take US dollars. And take aqua shoes, impossible to walk in the sea otherwise.
French Polynesia: Bora Bora
Bora Bora is the very definition of idyllic, a diminutive Polynesian island dominated by rainforest-clad volcanic peaks, overlooking an electric blue lagoon ringed by coral reefs. The beaches and over-water bungalows are particularly popular with honeymooners, and the clear waters of the lagoon are perfect for snorkelling.
Cook Islands: Avatiu (Rarotonga)
Nuku’Alofa, the ‘Abode of Love’, is the capital of Tonga, the last surviving Polynesian monarchy. The city's main attraction is the Royal Palace, an attractive wooden building dating back to 1867, while the island of Tongatapu offers wild beaches, cute villages and intriguing archaeological sites.
Fiji: Waiyevo (Taveuni Island)
Suva is Fiji’s bustling capital, situated on the southeast coast of Viti Levu on a fine natural harbour. This is one of the more attractive port cities in the South Pacific, with a handsome core of colonial buildings that hark back to the days when Fiji was an outpost of the British Empire. The colourful wooden buildings of Cumming Street are particularly pretty.
France: La Rochelle
La Rochelle is an attractive seaside town of elegant limestone facades and agreeable weather, known as La Ville Blanche (the ‘White City’). The heart of the city is the atmospheric Vieux Port, guarded by three imposing towers which offer excellent views of the harbour and nearby islands.
Fiji: Yasawa Islands
The sparsely populated Yasawa Islands are famous for their stunning beaches and hilly volcanic terrain. You can indulge in all the usual activities such as sunbathing and snorkelling, along with a visit to the unique Sawa-i-lau caves, accessible by swimming through an underwater tunnel.
Vanuatu: Mystery Island
New Caledonia: Lifou
Lifou is the largest and most populous of the Loyalty Islands, part of the French overseas territory of New Caledonia. This friendly little island is everything you would expect from the South Pacific, with gorgeous beaches, superb snorkelling and a jungle-swathed interior dotted with fragrant vanilla plantations.
New Caledonia: Isle of Pines
The beautiful Isle of Pines (Île des Pins in French) is part of New Caledonia, a Pacific archipelago that was so named by James Cook because it reminded him of Scotland, unlikely as that may seem. The island is rustic and unspoilt, a beach lover’s paradise with wonderfully soft sands and great snorkelling.
New Caledonia: Nouméa
Nouméa is the capital of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the South Pacific. The city is cosmopolitan and sophisticated, home to lovely little bistros and chic boutiques, providing quite a contrast to the rugged landscapes of the surrounding countryside.
Cairns is a buzzing tourist hub, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. A snorkelling trip out to the reef is the most obvious excursion to take here, but other options include riding the Skyrail cableway over the rainforest canopy or swimming in the croc-free saltwater lagoon.
Australia: Port Douglas
Australia: Thursday Island
Thursday Island is one of the Torres Strait Islands, situated to the north of Cape York. Proximity to Papua New Guinea makes for an interesting cultural mix, and the island has a fascinating military history. Be aware that swimming off the beautiful beaches is not recommended due to the presence of crocodiles and marine stingers.
More of a large town than a city, Darwin is less about what’s contained within the city limits and more about the huge expanse of wild landscape that’s outside it. Closer to Jakarta than Sydney, the city really does feel remote in its tropical perch.
The island of Flores is home to some of the most staggeringly beautiful scenery in the Indonesian archipelago, a lush landscape of smouldering volcanoes, spectacular lakes and verdant paddy fields. Flores is also culturally distinct from the other islands, with a population that is 95% Catholic.
Indonesia: Komodo Island
Komodo Island is situated within an area of spectacular natural beauty, home to the famous Komodo dragon. The stunning beaches are tinged with pink thanks to the high concentration of red coral just offshore, and the waters draw intrepid divers from all over the world.
Indonesia: Benoa (Bali)
The beaches, spectacular volcanic scenery and lush green rice terraces lend Bali a natural beauty that seems to dovetail perfectly with the island’s distinct Hindu culture, which adorns the landscape with stunning temples.
Quieter and less developed than neighbouring Bali, the island of Lombok is an appealing alternative. To the north, the landscape is dominated by the huge crater of Gunung Rinjani, while the south and west coasts are home to some stunning beaches.
Indonesia: Celukan Bawang (Bali)
The city of Probolinggo is located on the north coast of East Java, and is the jumping off point for excursions to Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. The sight of smouldering Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru, looming over the fertile volcanic plains, is a highlight of any trip to Indonesia.
Indonesia: Pulau Menyawakan
The sweltering city of Semarang, on the north coast of Java, is an intriguing mish-mash of Chinese, Islamic and Dutch colonial influences. We recommend escaping the heat with a trip up into the mountains to visit a coffee plantation, or joining an excursion to the extraordinary temple complex at Borobudur.
Indonesia: Pulau Pantara (Thousand Islands)
Arriving in Pulau Amsterdam
Your home from home
Sister yachts Wind Star and Wind Spirit are both 4-masted sail-assisted ships combining the refinement of a modern vessel with the romance of a tall ship.
What we love
Gracious staterooms provide a compact yet comfortable retreat. Facilities include several dining options, a variety of bars and lounges, a small swimming pool, whirlpool and even a watersports platform. Recently refurbished the décor is fresh and modern throughout.
|Crew||90 International staff|
|Style||This is laid-back luxury at its best with relaxed informal days, refined yet comfortable evenings and a friendly and welcoming crew.|
Tailor-make your trip
Extend your stay in French Polynesia
For the ultimate eco-hotel experience, go for the Brando! Eye wateringly expensive, but a bit special.
Explore the islands
If you are visiting Bora Bora tour the island by open bus - Le Truck.