HIKE TO A HILLTOP ON HUAHINE

Diane Macdonald @dmcamera
· August 2019 · 6 min read · France · #photography

4 Walks From Hotel Le Mahana – Part 4

Ia'ora'na! "Ia'ora'na" is a greeting you will hear countless times per day in French Polynesia. It means "hello," "hi," or "how are you" and is pronounced yorra-nah! So, Ia'ora'na! How are you?


I don't know about you, but when I visit a place, I'm anxious to see it through the eyes of the people who live there. That's one reason that we explore and walk on our own as much as possible. (The other reason is to keep fit and to work off the excess of good food that we inevitably consume!) Organized tours have a place, don't get me wrong! But, with Huahine being such a small island (rather a couple of islands joined by a small bridge) exploring on your own makes a lot of sense.

Well, unless you want to take an ATV tour into the mountains, but we did that on Moorea and we decided to mix up the experiences on each island we visited in French Polynesia. We could have taken a boat tour of the lagoon, but there were so many interesting spots we could hike to that we decided to explore in that fashion for a few days and then on the last day to rent a car and do a grand tour of both Huahine-Nui (Big Huahine) and Huahine-Iti (Small Huahine.)


Ia'ora'na from Huahine
Ia'ora'na from Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


I will write about the car tour in my last and final post about Houhine, but in this post I'm taking you on a walk that is off the beaten track for tourists. Remember the little church we visited in my last post? I told you that one of the members of the congregation suggested we take a walk to a place the villagers go when they are seeking solitude – a place that is not signposted from the road! Our kind of place! That's the beauty of being a traveler rather than a tourist; you get to meet the people, and they share things about their life and culture, and quite often like this time, they tell us of places to visit.

Let's walk, shall we? Once more we headed in the direction of Marae Anini, which I wrote about in Part 1 of our walks from Hotel Le Mahana and also in the direction of the village of Parea,which I wrote about in my last post.. And once more, we had the road to ourselves, apart from a couple of fellow travelers, that is.

Fellow travelers on the road to Parea, Huahine
Fellow travelers on the road to Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


Our directions were to look for an opening in the trees across from the Marae Anini, and through a pumpkin field! We didn't see anything that looked like a pumpkin “field” as such, but looking closely at this photo, I believe those are pumpkin vines hanging from the tree branches, but I may be mistaken!

The pathway was strewn with leaves, but thankfully there was a handrail for most of the way up.

Pathway up hill at Parea, Huahine
Pathway up hill at Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


When we reached this divide in the track, there was no signpost telling us which way to proceed, but the handrails on the path to the left made the decision easy! Although, we were a bit tempted to take "the road less traveled."

Divided pathway on hill at Parea, Huahine
Divided pathway on hill at Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


The climb to the top was definitely worthwhile. Not only did we get a fabulous view of the lagoon and Motu Araara (the small island you can see), but we were delighted to find that this spot had been lovingly enhanced with flowers and art by the villagers of Parea. It was quite unexpected, and a pleasant surprise! As you can see from this panorama shot, they call themselves Team Parea, showing the pride they have in their community.

Panorama from hilltop at Parea on Huahine
Panorama from hilltop at Parea on Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


They thought of everything – even a shelter from the hot sun and the rain. It had two long benches inside, and the day we were there, a couple of young mothers with their babies were enjoying a break in the shelter.

Shelter on hilltop, Parea, Huahine
Shelter on hilltop, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


The day we climbed that little hill was our 25th wedding anniversary, so one of the young mothers obliged us by taking our photo with the word “Team” behind us and a view of the lagoon and the motu.

Jim and I on the hilltop, Parea, Huahine
Jim and I on the hilltop, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


Following are a few shots showing some of the artwork and flowers on the hill.

Red heart of stones, Parea, Huahine
Red heart of stones, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


View from the hilltop, Parea, Huahine
View from the hilltop, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


Hanging decoration, Parea, Huahine
Hanging decoration, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


Carved shark on hilltop, Parea, Huahine
Carved shark on hilltop, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


I'm not sure if this is actually a quote from Walt Disney or not. It's in French and says:

“Dream your life in Color. It's the secret of good luck.”

Walt Disney quote on hilltop, Parea, Huahine
Walt Disney quote on hilltop, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


Carving of large coloring pencils on hilltop, Parea, Huahine
Carving of large coloring pencils on hilltop, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


The branches on the right are made to make an arch and marks another way up and down the hill. We discovered that this would have been an easier way to come up as it was shorter, and there were many steps at intervals cut out of the soil! Oh well, we enjoyed the climb!

Hilltop, Parea, Huahine
Hilltop, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


Branches form an arch on hilltop, Parea, Huahine
Branches form an arch on hilltop, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


Jim on pathway on hilltop, Parea, Huahine
Jim on pathway on hilltop, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


This is the view you would see as you reached the top if you came up the hill by this route.

Steps on the hill, Parea, Huahine
Steps on the hill, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


We came across a couple of bicycles parked at about half way up the hill on our descent. No need for chains and locks here!

Bikes on the hill, Parea, Huahine
Bikes on the hill, Parea, Huahine

© Diane Macdonald - All Rights Reserved


(I found an excuse here to throw in funky edits #funkeyedits, and Wednesday walk #wednesdaywalk tags for @tattoodjay! Thanks for creating those!)


I am a professional photographer, and many of my images are available as stock or as fine art on prints and on various products. Check out my portfolio website on Adobe and you will find links to all the places where my work is available. If you see something you would like to purchase in any of my posts, but can't find it anywhere on the stock or art sites, please let me know.


Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed hiking with me to this hilltop at Parea on Huahine, French Polynesia, you may want to check out my other posts in this series:

French Polynesia – A State Of mind

Moorea French Polynesia – First Impressions And The Resort

Moorea - French Polynesia – Bali Hai

French Polynesia – Next Stop Huahine

7 Things To Do At Hotel Le Mahana

4 Walks From Hotel Le Mahana – Part 1

4 Walks From Hotel Le Mahana – Part 2

4 Walks From Hotel Le Mahana – Part 3




Topics: PHOTOGRAPHYOUTDOORCROWDMINDWEDNESDAYWALKFUNKEYEDITS

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