Bora Bora: Beaches never felt so good

By Sandra O'Malley

I've never been much of a fan of beach holidays - the sand sneaking into all the wrong spots in your togs, the salt water turning your hair into a wiry mess, the sunburn, the crowds, the kids... you call that a holiday? But that was before Bora Bora.

The jewel in the crown of French Polynesia, it's a place where superlatives can't do justice to the pure magic of the experience.

Trying to explain to envious friends the exact blue of the lagoon's crystal clear waters will send your head into a spin. It's Bora Bora blue and nothing else can really describe it.

And just how do you adequately paint a picture of the limitless skies dotted with pillow-soft clouds? The sandy buttermilk beaches? Or the lush rainforests and brusque volcanic formations that erupt from Bora Bora's tranquil islands?

Show them your photographs or send them a postcard - it's the best chance they have of understanding why you're in the thrall of this French-inspired piece of Pacific paradise.

It's a short 40-minute flight from the Tahitian capital Papeete to Bora Bora but by the time you're there you feel as though you're in another world.

Over-water villas at the luxury resorts take care of their guests' every whim - at a considerable but worth-the-experience price. But there are more operators - from hotels to pension-style guesthouses - which cater to family budgets on Bora Bora's main island.

And with beaches, bars, restaurants, beauty spas and water sports to amuse holiday-makers, it's a great escape for a group of girlfriends who want some pampering or a bunch of buddies looking for something a bit more sophisticated for their boys' weekend away.

If a week is a long time in politics, in Bora Bora's relaxed surrounds it can feel like a lifetime.

I was surprised at just how stress-free I was after less than 48 hours on the island.

And for those wanting to venture farther afield from their resort, boats can be organised to take you into deeper waters for fishing expeditions, a spot of snorkelling or scuba diving.

Adventurers may want to try their hand at jet-skiing or swimming with the sharks. It sounds very exciting but leaving the bar in my infinity pool is hard.

*The writer was a guest of Creative Holidays and Air Tahiti Nui and stayed at the Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa.


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