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Joni Stone   Meet Joni, one of our travel experts for French Polynesia.

Born in the Southwest, raised in the Northwest, I have called the South Pacific home for nearly 30 years. I founded J2 Travels in the late 1990s to share our knowledge with other like minded travelers – remembering always, that the joy is in the journey. I currently live on Maui, I'm endorsed by IATA, and am a member of the Fiji, Tahiti and New Zealand Tourism Boards.

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When To Climb

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When To Climb - Mount Aorai.

July through September are the driest months and the best months for climbing. May and October are the second best months for climbing. April can go either way, but mid-November through March are very, very wet. This peak is extremely slippery during and after rain and should be avoided.

This is one part of French Polynesia that can actually be chilly, so go prepared for that.

See thumbnails of all photos for this point of interest.


Aorai is the second highest peak in Tahiti, and in French Polynesia, after Orohena. Moon Handbooks says this is the best climb in French Polynesia. The Tahiti Mountaineering Club says this mountain has some of the best views in the world. While those two comments may be true, this mountain is also very wet and rainy. I never even did get a good view of the peak. The mountain is a good place to escape the tropical heat.

The mountain has some nice rainforest and is really wild and scenic, despite the fact that it rises behind the largest city in all of French Polynesia. The mountain isn't climbed very often, but since the trail begins at the French Army training center, the army keeps the trail well-maintained and in good condition.

While Tahiti and all of French Polynesia are very popular with tourist, expect to have the mountains all to yourself. I never did meet anyone on any of the routes. It seems almost everyone hangs out at the lagoon, beaches, and resorts instead of climbing mountains, which is a good thing if you enjoy solitude.