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The islands of whales
You are here : Complete Guide to the Islands > Austral Islands
The Austral islands, the most southerly group, comprise five high islands: Rurutu, Tubuai, Rimatara, Raivavae and Rapa. The furthermost inhabited islands of the southest, off the conventional tourist track, the Austral islands are ancient volcanoes, but with softer contours, less wild, with peaks that are lower than those of the other islands groups, with the exception of Rapa. With their ancient religious sites or "marae" their great stone tiki that are hundred of years old, and still intact walls of their "pa" fortresses, they have not yet yielded all their secrets.
The legendary name of Eteroa has been give to Rurutu, an island that is one of a kind. This troglodyte island offers the originality of its raised carbonated plateaus, bordered by vertical cliffs overhanging the sea, pierced with numerous caves and underwater galleries full of mysterious legends. Rurutu is proud of its ancestral "stone raising", a demonstration of strength that is the subject of fierce competitions. It is also proud of its taro production, in remarkably well kept, irrigated fields.
The principal island of the Australes is almost round, with gentle contours comprising two parallel ranges of mountains with rounded ridges and a coastal plain that is wide enough to make the island a major producer of food crops and horticulture supplying the market of Tahiti. Mount Taita (422 metres) and the western ridge that forms the profile of the "sleeping man" are the destination of relatively easy rambles. The road that crosses the island from Mataura, the county seat in the North, to Mahu, in the South, that follows a slight depression, affords views of the countryside in the interior of the island.
These agents are certified by the Tahiti Tourisme Office and all have excellent knowledge of the destination. They will give you the best tailor-made advice to suit your personal holiday requirements whatever they may be.