Tahiti’s freighter cruise line, Aranui, has invited Kiwis to take a step back in time to become the explorers and artists of yesteryear on a cruise adventure to French Polynesia’s mysterious Marquesas Islands.
The final resting place of the French artist Paul Gauguin, the Marquesas are the northern-most of French Polynesia’s archipelagoes lying 1500km above the main island of Tahiti, with the mixed passenger and cargo vessel Aranui 3 making 17 roundtrip departures from Papeete in 2014.
Aranui will call into Fakarava and Rangiroa in the Tuamotus and UaPou, NukuHiva, HivaOa, FatuHiva, Tahuata, UaHuka in the Marquesas archipelago, during the 14-day itinerary.
The ship dispenses a lifeline of food, fuel and other staples to these remote ports, while passengers have the option to explore on a range of guided shore excursions including hikes, picnics and 4WD tours.
Highlights include Gauguin’s grave and the tallest tiki in French Polynesia on Hiva Oa, anchoring in Fatu Hiva’s remote Bay of Virgins, a cultural display in Ua Pou and a journey across the volcanic vistas of Nuka Hiva which inspired Moby Dick author Herman Melville to jump ship in the 1840s.
Aranui Regional Representative Australia New Zealand Laurent Wong says an Aranui cruise should be on every New Zealander’s bucket list, “The Marquesas Islands are as remote as they are beautiful, and as a long-time favourite of the likes of Cook, Gauguin and Robert Louis Stevenson they should definitely be an option for discerning travellers looking for stunning scenery and an ancient tribal culture.”
John Alwyn-Jones ETBNews’ Cruise Expert, Editor and Correspondent