Our long journey back to the French Polynesia……started with our first time ever business class from Hamilton Island to Sydney and Sydney to Auckland, overnight in Auckland to meet with our friend Evita, and then to Tahiti where we had to spend a night at the airport for the early morning short flight to Huahine, French Polynesia! The business class from Hamilton Island to Auckland via Sydney was a bargain at 17,500 AA miles per person (now 25,000 miles) and $192.20 per person taxes compared to $600+ per person in economy; it was during peak holiday time!
The food in Qanta’s business class was so good that it was my first time actually enjoying in-flight food! Although no lay-flat seat…
Jason picked the lamb curry, it was good.
I ordered the roasted duck, I can smell the tasty duck aroma from the cabin before it got to my seat!
When we landed Sydney, we went in to check out Qanta’s Business Class Lounge. The lounge was beautiful with good food and even a gelato bar! Spicy stir-fried noodles catered to Asian travelers and grilled salmon, yum yum!
Next flight to Auckland! The menu:
Our amenity kits:
Those shrimps were so fresh and I like the sauce too!
My roasted pork was too fatty for me although it tasted alright.
We landed Auckland at 11:55 pm so we stayed overnight there and Evita brought us to the long-waiting unforgettable lamb racks and steamed egg to take out for midnight “snack”. The next day, we went back to the same restaurant to order take out for our flight but when going through security, they threw our steamed egg out because it was “liquidity”. Fortunately, Jason’s Priority Select Lounge Pass granted all three of us access to the Emperor Lounge in Auckland International Airport. Great lounge again with many hot food items…that curry was great!
Free wines for Evita, she had three glasses – red, white, and bubble LOL!
They also provide Chinese newspaper!
We flew economy in Air New Zealand’s flight from Auckland to Papeete (Tahiti), the flights to Papeete mostly land in weird time like 12:50 AM! The earliest flight out to Huahine was at 7:45 AM and once we got through customs and immigration and claim our luggage, it was already 1:40 AM so it did not make sense to stay in a hotel for few hours and get back to the airport. The airport motel was fully booked otherwise we could consider that. PPT went through a renovation and some sections were still renovating when we were there so staying overnight at the airport was not as bad as I thought. I originally thought we need to sit on the benches near the open air entrance of the airport; since the last time we were in PPT, they have opened a cafe where it provided more benches, tables, and chairs in near the domestic check-in area. There were a few others who were staying overnight in the airport as well so it was totally safe!
Our landing at PPT at 12:50 AM!
The uncomfortable bench!
The funny thing is they have a microwave near those benches so I was able to heat up the lamb racks for our late dinner haha!
I stayed up all night….no free wifi in the airport although they claimed 10 minutes free but not the case! Evita bought 1 hour for 500 xpf.
There were lots of mosquitoes inside the open air airport and Evita’s so call “organic chemical free insect repellent” wasn’t working too well! The short 1 hour 20 minutes flight to Huahine was fast and great views of the islands below!
Sit on the right side of the plane for great views approaching Raiatea where we stopped for 10 minutes to drop off/pick up passengers before heading to our final destination – Huahine.
Huahine Airport, very simply just like other French Polynesian islands’ airports!
It is considered a “big” airport with two souvenir shops hehe.
We saw a lady with a clipboard, I went up to her and she managed the hotel pick ups. We got into this huge full-sized tour bus and at first only three of us LOL!
But four more passengers got in and off we go to Huahine marina where we were transferred to Royal Huahine on a boat…..a very simple boat, well can’t expect much from a 3* hotel!
Finally, after two days, we arrived Royal Huahine…..OMG OMG those overwater bungalows!
We checked in but our room was not ready yet although the lady in the front desk said “15 minutes” but it was a very long 15 minutes…..maybe by island standard! I walked around the front desk and deck area for photos.
Oh French Polynesia, how much I miss you the crystal clear turquoise water and overwater bungalows!
Our room finally ready and we walked all the way across that beach to the overwater bungalows, the second bungalow to the right on the top photo was our bungalow 😀
The room is Tahitian bungalow decors, not the luxurious ones compared to more developed islands like Moorea or Bora Bora but clean and spacious. They have an ice bucket so it was convenient as the fridge was very small to fit all our drinks (we bought tons of coconut water from New Zealand haha to save money). However, in order to get ice, I need to walk all the way back to the restaurant/bar where the front desk is to get a bag of ice.
Our bed and the AC was very weak; our room was barely cool!
Evita’s single bed was near the glass door out to the deck:
The deck is huge with two beach reclining chairs, a table, two chairs, and a bench…plenty of space for three of us!
Our neighbor’s overwater bungalow, the outter most bungalow.
Our bathroom with separate shower area and bathtub/jacuzzi (the tub leaked when I was washing my clothes).
After we settled down in our room, Jason and I went to have lunch while Evita wanted to stay in the room to sleep. Of course the 10 minutes walk to the restaurant/front desk, we took photos along the way.
The hotel ground is very lush and well kept for a 3* hotel!
The hotel pool……better to jump into the water from our deck than go to the pool right? haha!
The long way to the front desk/restaurant.
There’s only one restaurant on site and I thought being in French Polynesia and a monopoly in this corner of Huahine that can only be accessed via the hotel boat would be killingly expensive but it was not too bad! I ordered the hamburger, I think it was 1700 xpf (~$15) and Jason ordered the grilled steak, the most expensive in the lunch menu at 2700 xpf (~$24). We each ordered mango juice at 300 xpf (~2.69).
My burger was yummy and the fries were fresh. Jason’s, on the other hand, the steak was very good quality but they burned it GRRR what a waste!
After lunch, we went around the hotel to take photos of us with this beautiful scenery, with a tripod since Evita was still sleeping!
Afterwards, we went back to our room and took a nap; I was so sleepy after a whole night without sleep! We woke up for dinner and Evita was still sleeping LOL!
Dinner menu was different, thankfully! Jason ordered the curry shrimp and I ordered the duck breast with two mango juice again. Total cost was 6500 xpf (~$58). The food was shockingly good especially my duck breast and sufficient portion! We remembered two years ago in Bora Bora, our dinner in the hotel was at least 10000 xpf (~$100) and not even filling! Believe it or not, the food in this 3* hotel was the best out of the three hotels we stayed in this trip! Jason liked how they make the “mashed potato”, it was like a layer cake, he enjoyed the texture of it!
My duck breast was delicious and perfect flavor combo with the papaya sauce!
After the dinner, on our long walk back to our overwater bungalow…we saw something familiar….
Crab OMG and a lot of them roaming around the ground; the holes in the ground are all the crab’s home! This reminded us of Aitutaki, Cook Islands!
Jason learned how to catch crabs in Cook Islands last year so time for him to practice what he learned!
Ta-da….good job hun!
Wish they have crab in their menu…plenty and free LOL!
We walked back to our overwater bungalow and Evita was still sleeping, we were amazed how long she can sleep for! That night, it rained crazily and the rain hitting the rubber (yes, Jason confirmed not straw) thatch roof made very loud noises that woke us up in the middle of the night. Luckily the heavy rain only happened during the middle of the night and not during the day 🙂 That was our first day in paradise in French Polynesia!