Raiatea is a volcanic island and besides the beautiful lagoon there are also some impressing huge mountains in the center of it. And as it is raining a lot, there are also some beautiful waterfalls to discover in the mountains. The most famous walk to do inside the island is the one called "the 3 waterfalls".
The polynesian islands are well known for the beauty of their waters and crystal clear lagoons. But besides the Tuamotu archipelago, made only out of atolls, all the other islands still have their volcanic mountains reaching some impressing heights. The highest point of Raiatea is the Mt Tefatua reaching 1017m and then you have the Mt Temehani with 750m height. When it’s raining a lot during days, you can be sure that there are some amazing waterfalls falling from these mountains.
It’s not always easy to go inside the island as the forest is still in a very savage state and there aren’t so much ways to walk to reach these high points. But there’s one way allowing you to explore the forest towards the Mt Temehani and follow a river with 3 magic waterfalls…
It’s not secure to go by yourself in the mountain, as you can easily get lost and even hurt yourself if you don’t know exactly the mountain to avoid some dangerous situations. Thus, you need to have a local guide who knows the forest like his pocket, and so we did.
The first part of the walk is easy, you just follow a path made for 4×4 cars. You progressively go deeper in the forest and at one moment there’s no more clear path to follow. A little river crosses the way and this is the one we followed up to find the 3 waterfalls. In dry season it’s a very tiny river but after some rainy days it could be a bigger one. And you must be careful as the surface is very wet and walking on the sides of the river is not always easy.
We came deeper and deeper inside the green world of this forest. Kind of strange experience as it is very green and even dark inside the tropical vegetation, and you feel the very wet atmosphere of the place. And you’re not alone, as a lot of mosquito’s are following you…. anti-mosquito spray, long shirt and trousers are recommended (even if it’s hot and wet) if you don’t want to be covered with mosquitos…
After a moment, we felt like we were in the TV series LOST, in the middle of a hostile forest of an unknown island…strange sensation…!!
After 1 hour walk, we finally discovered the first waterfall: what a surprise to discover this waterfall at the last moment, hidden in the forest! Only the sound of it announces that there’s something big, but when you suddenly see it you are amazed by it’s beauty! Well the guide told us that it was only the first and smallest one, the 2 others are bigger and much more impressive! We made a little stop there before moving higher.
After another hour walk we came to a huge rock, almost a wall and the way to the next waterfall is above this wall! That’s the moment to show your physical abilities as you need to climb up with a rope to reach the top of this rock. And finally we saw the 2nd waterfall, much bigger than the first one and very impressive! We couldn’t imagine what would look like the 3rd one as it was supposed to be the biggest one….
And here’s the climbing again to reach the top of the mountain and the final waterfall. At least 1 hour more to walk and climb, and there you feel how physical it can be to reach such a place… But when you finally reach the highest point and discover the biggest waterfall, you only have one word to say: WOW! All these efforts are really worth to discover such a magic place hidden in the mountains! And the water falls directly in a kind of natural pool. You can get your clothes off and have a swim in the (very cold!) water of this place. But you’re not alone: a lot of river shrimps and some impressing eels are at home there! With a bit bread or biscuits, you can feed them and our guide told us that they weren’t dangerous but we weren’t so confident about it!
Well, after a few hours of picnic, relaxing and enjoying the place, we needed to go back down again, as in the afternoon it could rain again and make the way under the rain is not the best to do… but it was truly a wonderful walk to a beautiful place!