Less commercial than Tahiti, Rangiroa offers the quintessential South Pacific honeymoon experience: languid days spent beneath an endless blue sky in a landscape of unspoiled scenic beauty. What more could you ask for on a romantic island honeymoon?
What to do and see on Rangiroa Island? Dip your toes into the squeaky-clean, powder-white beaches of Rangiroa, the largest motu (islet) in a dazzling necklace of 240 coral atolls that comprise the Tuamotu archipelago, which in turn encircles the world's second-largest lagoon.
This stunning expanse of crystal clear water is around 70km-long by 26km-wide; so large that it’s impossible to see from one side of the lagoon to the other.
Here you can swim, snorkel and dive in the turquoise lagoon, and even play Robinson Crusoe (for a day or longer) on a selection of gorgeous white-sand beaches that rank among the best in the South Pacific for an unforgettable honeymoon experience.
For couples wanting to spice up a languorous honeymoon, Rangiroa offers a wide range of activities and is probably the most famous shark diving destination in the South Pacific, with more than 10 species of shark commonly sighted.
Adventurous honeymoon couples can snorkel above colourful reef fish at the famous ‘Blue Lagoon’ of Toeo’o, spot schools of dolphins playing in Avatoru Pass and Tiputa Pass and watch thousands of seabirds nesting at Ile aux Oiseaux (Bird Island).
Or cruise out to L'ile Aux Recifs (Reef Island) to see its fossilised razor-sharp coral formations and sunbathe on the gorgeous soft pink sand of Les Sables Rose – one of Rangiroa and French Polynesia's most beautiful beaches.
For an insight into traditional South Sea island life head to Avatora or Tiputa Village. Don't miss Tiputa Point – the perfect spot for a picnic with panoramic views over the Rangiroa archipelago.
Laze the day away on one of Rangiroa’s gorgeous beaches and idyllic motus, such as…
(The Pink Sands) – Unwind on one of French Polynesia's most beautiful beaches, a stunning pink-sand beach located in the southeast corner of Rangiroa; easily reached on a two-hour boat trip across the turquoise lagoon.
Relax on the beach, go for a swim and enjoy a picnic on a day excursion to this isolated atoll.
Note: The pink sand is a result of eroded coral and foraminiferal deposits (the pulverized red shells of tiny sea creatures) that sparkle in the sunlight.
(Blue Lagoon) – Swim and snorkel in this sensational blue lagoon, a shallow sandy pool full of colourful corals teeming with fish and fringed by gorgeous white-sand beaches and groves of swaying coconut palms.
To reach the lagoon, you need to walk across a coral scattered seabed (reef shoes required) and over the motu; following an hour’s boat ride from Avatoru.
Rangiroa offers a choice of must-see attractions for inquisitive couples celebrating a romantic honeymoon getaway, including the following…
Wearing reef shoes, explore the fascinating raised feo (coral outcrops), some five to six meters above the lagoon.
Renowned for its fossilised razor-sharp coral formations created by erosion, the 9m-long ‘isle of reefs’ is considered one of Rangi’s best lagoon excursions, easily reached on a one-hour boat ride from Avatoru.
Swim or snorkel pools set between coral outcrops and relax with a picnic on one of the nearby motus.
For some great free entertainment, head to the public park at the western side of Tiputa Pass and watch cavorting dolphins leap high above the waves – the best time for this entertaining sight is during the late afternoon.
Alternatively, sign up for a dolphin-watching cruise, easily arranged from any of Rangiroa's hotels and resorts.
Learn about the long and laborious process of cultivating Tahitian black pearls on a guided tour of this fascinating pearl farm, which is located close to the airport.
Learn about the Pinctada margaritifera or black-lipped oyster, and watch as a technician inserts a nucleus (a small shell bead) into the oyster to begin the pearl growing process. Then browse for a unique honeymoon gift at the farm’s shop.
Snorkelling and diving in Rangiroa’s marine-crowded lagoon are among the best in the South Pacific.
Drift dive Tiputa Pass – one of the world’s greatest shark dive locations – or cruise the lagoons in a glass bottom boat trip as you also look out for playful dolphins.
Head to Avatoru and Tiputa passes for some of the world’s best drift diving. Come face to face with hundreds of fish as well as giant napoleon wrasses, hawksbill turtles, eagle rays, tuna, schools of dolphins and sharks including, grey-tipped, lemons, hammerheads and dozens of black-tips that gather around the reef entrance to the lagoon.
Watch sharks cruise by harmlessly – but close enough to make your heart beat just a little faster. Tiputa Pass is recognised as one of the world’s greatest shark dive locations; the best time here is between December and March, when huge hammerhead sharks gather for the mating season. Tiputa is also a good place to spot whales between July and August.
While Tiputa is best for experienced divers, beginners should instead try Avatoru Pass and the small islets sitting inside both passes. Visibility here can reach up to 46m, with the water temperature averaging a constant 27°C.
For those not wishing to get wet, try a glass bottom boat trip to explore the calmer waters of the Tiputa Pass, and watch playful dolphins cavorting in the waves.
Anywhere on the atoll of Rangiroa is great for snorkelling. The lagoon is home to a rich variety of marine life just a few swim-stokes away from your resort. The motus around L'Ile aux Recifs beach, Papiro Point and Mahuta also provide great snorkelling.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try drift-snorkelling Tiputa Pass, known as ‘shooting the pass’: with visibility up to 35m, you can watch sharks, dolphins, turtles and rays swimming beneath you as you drift with the incoming current through the pass.
Often rising no higher that a metre above the surface, Rangiroa's sandy coral atolls boast an array of upmarket beach resorts including the luxurious beach bungalows of Kia Ora Sauvage, which lie hidden beneath swaying coconut palms on a tiny secluded motu
The overwater bungalows of Hotel Kia Ora, and Les Relais de Josephine, where beach bungalows overlook famous Tiputa Pass. Or try the Novotel Rangiroa Lagoon Resort, which lies within a shady coconut plantation.
Hotel Kia Ora
Location: East coast
Prices: from AUD496 per person
Description: Relax in comfort at this Polynesian-style resort that sits in a lush coconut plantation facing a white-sand beach. Choose from a wide range of bungalows including overwater bungalows that sit on the reef, as well as garden and beach bungalows with plunge pools and Jacuzzis. Facilities incl.: Restaurant, bar, outdoor pool, tennis court, Jacuzzis, bike rentals, internet, laundry service and various water sports.
The best time to honeymoon in Rangiroa (and Tahiti) is during the dry season between May and October, when the average annual temperature of 27°C (81°F) is tempered by refreshing sea breezes.
The wet season lasts from November until April, with February and March the hottest months. Typically, the water temperature hovers between 26°C and 29°C.
For more climate info: Tahiti Weather Guide
Rangiroa is located in the Tuamotu Island group, around 355km (220mi) northeast of Tahiti.
At 68km (42mi) long by 27km (16mi) wide, Rangiroa’s ring of low atolls encloses the world's second-largest lagoon.
From overseas, the most convenient route to Rangiroa is by air to Tahiti International Airport (PPT), Papeete, followed by a connecting flight to Rangiroa Airport (RGI). Rangiroa is a 60 mins flight from Papeete.
Rangiroa Airport is located on the northwestern edge of Avatoru Island, about 5km (3mi) southeast of Avatoru.
French Polynesia – a vast expanse of 118 islands scattered over 2.5 million sq km of the South Pacific – is located around 4000km (2485mi) northwest of Auckland, New Zealand, and 6120km (3802mi) northwest of Sydney, Australia.
Getting around – Hire a scooter or bike to explore the island.
Read more about getting to Rangiroa and around the island.
Latest update: Rangiroa Honeymoon Guide: 11 May, 2022