We began our fourth trip to the South Pacific with a visit to the island of Huahine. For lodging, we stayed in the main village of Fare. But after spending some time exploring and getting to know the island, we ended up spending most of our time at the beach of the Hotel Le Mahana and snorkeling in the coral garden of the lagoon there. There were abundant tropical fish to swim along with, some of which you can see included as bonus photos within this report. For other island activities, our 5-year-old son Stefan enjoyed getting a chance to visit with and feed mackerel to the famous blue-eyed eels found in the river near the village of Faie. Our visit to Huahine was in late December, which is part of the rainy season. And indeed, a couple of our days got rained out. Even so, there were also several days of nice weather, which allowed me to complete a major hike. On Huahine, there are essentially three main hiking destinations. The first hike is the Matairea Hill
walk, which visits marae (temple grounds) ruins, passes through extensive tropical trees (including fruit and banyan), and has a nice lagoon overlook. We did part of this hike but the heat and humidity proved to be too much for Stefan, so we didn't finish it. The second hike is to the summit of Mount Tapu
at 1,407 feet in elevation. This hike actually starts just down the road from the first hike, but climbs up steeply to the top of a standalone mountain peak. I attempted this hike and made it to the cell tower, but then had to call off the hike due to rainy weather. The route to the cell tower is on a fairly gentle grade with easy hiking on a road. Beyond the cell tower, the climbing gets much steeper and more challenging with only a faint trail visible at times (according to what little information I could find). The third and final hike, and the one on which this report is based, is to the summit of Mount Pohue Rahi
at 1,516 feet in elevation.
To reach the starting point for my solo hike of Mount Pohue Rahi, I drove my rental car from our lodging place in Fare to the village of Tefarerii on the east coast of Huahine Iti. The starting point for the hike is toward the southern end of the village. Park near the end of the village sign and then walk back toward the village, turning left to begin hiking up what looks like an overgrown rough road. (See my photos for more assistance on what to look for.) The hike passes some houses on the right side, which soon disappear from view, fully immersing you in the rainforest. Abundant wildflowers start appearing, and a towering pine forest is entered. The pine trees all around actually make this trail scenically beautiful from beginning to end. There are occasional views to the south through the trees, but not many during the early and middle portions of the trail. The route itself is easy to follow, as you are hiking along a wide trail (or road). During my hike, I was really struggling to adjust to the heat and humidity, as I had only arrived in French Polynesia a couple of days earlier. So I had abundant water with me and really appreciated the extensive shady spots on the trail. Eventually, a major lookout point is reached which has incredible views looking to the north. This includes seeing some of the pretty motus and enclosed blue lagoon areas. But primarily the viewpoint showcases the lush greenery and mountains of Huahine's interior. Looking from left to right (or west to east), the major peaks visible are Mount Tavahi (1,138 feet), Mount Paeo (1,444 feet), Mount Turi (2,195 feet), and Mount Tapu (1,407 feet). Mount Tavahi (see map location here
) is located south of Cook Bay, but I have noticed that its location is misplaced on most modern maps. Huahine's highest point is Mount Turi, and the summit block looks truly incredible with steep green ridges dropping off to sheer rock faces. After enjoying this viewpoint for a while, the final route to the summit comes next. And this is the hardest part of the entire hike. The wide trail (or road) ends at the viewpoint and turns into a narrow, hard-to-follow, overgrown trail. It is necessary to bushwhack through the thick brush, following the faint trail as it deals with some steep climbing sections. Near the end, the trail traverses the edge of some sheer cliffs, so extreme caution is in order. This section should definitely not be done if it has been raining recently or if the trail is muddy. Even during dry times, pay close attention to your footing and don't be distracted by the outstanding views. The actual summit contains the ruins of a small weather station and provides additional views around the island. The best view is to the south of Motu Araara and Araara Pass. During my visit, the summit was blanketed by large, beautiful, bright yellow Golden Trumpet wildflowers. Standing in the midst of the Golden Trumpets while looking out at all the incredible views of Huahine proved to be a great ending to the hike of Mount Pohue Rahi. The hike was about 5 miles round-trip with 1,600 feet of cumulative elevation gain. My hike took place on December 23, 2017.