It’s a question I get asked all the time, when people find out what I do for a living and genuinely, my stock response up to relatively recently was always: ‘The last place I visited’. Whilst this may sound like me trying to avoid the question it wasn’t! It was because of a combination of me being unable to single out any one destination for honourable mention and the fact that I love everyplace I visit but obviously for very different reasons. Anyway, how could you be expected to compare the delights of say, the Bahamas and those of Times Square? Apples and oranges, clearly. That was the situation up until recently when I got to visit a part of the world that had always been on my bucket list — French Polynesia! Other than New Zealand or Antarctica, it’s about as remote from Ireland as you can get on this planet. My itinerary took in the main island Tahiti and its capital, Papeete and a neighbouring one Moorea along with perhaps the most famous island paradise in the world, Bora Bora! All were idylic but Moorea captured my imagination and emotion in a manner that the other two didn’t. Travel, like food and so many other human experiences, is largely subjective so I can’t explain what it was, exactly about Moorea that captivated me but its unbelieveably lush vegetation,towering peaks, wonderfully hospitable locals and delicious fruits all conspired to suggest that if there was a real paradise on earth, then this was it. Yes, it is remote. Yes, it is expensive (albeit a lot less than Bora Bora but if you would like to get a sense of what it must have felt like to have been Adam or Eve in the fabled Garden of Eden, then start saving those pennies because Moorea will definitely tick all your boxes.
Simplest way to get there? Hop on a direct non-stop flight to Los Angeles with either Aer Lingus or Ethiopian Airlines and then catch another 8-hour direct flight onwards to Papeete. Moorea is located about 12 kilometres by sea from Tahititi Nua and can be accessed by regular ferries that connect it with Moorea. The ferry takes approximately 34 minutes. There is no airport on Moorea. Just don’t tell anyone that I sent you as I want to keep it a secret between us!