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There are beautiful beaches in French Polynesia but many are not what Australians are used to. Beaches here are mostly on the lagoons and motus (islets) and are peaceful stretches of coral sand (bring your reef shoes) fronting azure-hued, fish-filled, warm tropical waters.

Teahupo’o, Tahiti

Definitely NOT a peaceful lagoon. Sometimes referred to as the deadliest wave in the world, watch the thrill-seekers tackle one of the world’s most famous reef surf breaks. Huge, heavy, close-out barrels over sharp coral make this is an ‘experts only’ adventure.

Plage de Toaroto, Tahiti

A very pretty stretch of white sand just west of Le Méridien Resort in the Puna'auia area. Good for swimming and snorkelling, there is also a nearby park with public showers and toilets. Easily accessible via ‘Le Truck’ public bus service.

Matira Beach, Bora Bora

Decent public beaches in Bora Bora are rare but this mile-long expanse of white sand boasts shady palm trees, safe swimming and easy snorkelling. At low tide you can wade through the shallows from Matira Point out to the barrier reef.

Taha'a

Similar to nearby Bora Bora, this lush island is ringed by tiny motus, each with an unspoiled white-sand beach fringe. Take a tour and enjoy superb snorkelling, a picnic lunch and shark and ray feeding or visit a vanilla farm.

Temae Beach, Moorea

White sand (although a little rocky in some places), good snorkelling near the barrier reef and plenty of sprawl room. Lovely views of the mountains of Moorea and back to Tahiti and you can have a drink and lunch at the adjacent Sofitel.

Opunohu Beach, Moorea

This 800-metre long public beach on the northeast side of Opunohu Bay is a local favourite and on weekends you will see families swimming, playing soccer and picnicking under the trees. Moorea Sailing School holds catamaran regattas here too.

Tikehau Beach, Tikehau

Tikehau is a small, circular atoll near Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Archipelago and is famous for its pink sand, a function of the coral colouring. This remote treasure has a shallow lagoon teeming with marine life.

Lafayette Beach, Tahiti

Another ‘colourful’ offering, Lafayette is one of many black sand beaches, coloured by volcanic rock. The sand at Lafayette is so soft in places you can sink down to your knees. A different for experience for Australians used to grainy, white sand.

Lagoons in the Tuamotu Islands

Noted for having some of the world's best diving destinations, the lagoons are headlined by Fakarava, southeast of Rangiroa. Fakarava has two notable passes that feed into the lagoon and these are rich with marine life, including lemon, whitetip and hammerhead sharks.

Romance on your very own island

You’ll find completely deserted beaches on some of the motus and many resorts can hook you up with a picnic lunch for a day playing Robinson Crusoe (and friend).
 

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