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Elodie Boursaus from Taapuna Puanaauia, on the west coast of Tahiti tells us about local favourites and where to soak up true Tahitian beauty…

What’s your favourite place that only a local knows about?
This would be fenua aihere (literally translated as ‘wild land’ or ‘bush land’), which is the part of the main island of Tahiti with no roads; you can only access it by boat or trekking volcanic trails. It’s green, it’s wild and it’s refreshing. It paints a picture of Tahiti in its original state.

Photo via Tahiti Tourisme

What’s your favourite popular place that is a crowd pleaser for a reason?
Moorea, but more specifically the sharks and rays sand bar there. Locals join the crowds over the weekend there and lunch at Le Coco Beach restaurant on the nearby motu (islet). An afternoon cocktail, feet in the sand, with stunning views of the mountains is a popular choice on a sunny Sunday.

Photo via Tahiti Tourisme

What is your favourite restaurant?
The Blue Banana restaurant with its jetty over the Taapuna lagoons. It’s well located, the place is relaxed and the trilogy of tuna fish is delicious!

Your favourite bar?
Locals usually show up late at bars! We usually head straight into town and some of the popular spots include the Jungle Coffee Bar and The Poke House. However, they are busy on weekends after 9pm. If we are just catching up for a sunset cocktail with girlfriends we usually go to the Pink Coconut’ or L’Instant Present at the Marina Taina to unwind with some local music.

Photo by Elodie Boursaus

What is your favourite store?
The Papeete markets, morning strolls to get French baguettes, some fresh fruits, fish and green coconut water. We usually have someone in our family who can sew, so we buy colourful and flowery fabric to make our own dresses. Fashion on the islands is effortless and a pareu (sarong) with added pearls will dress you up.

Photo via Tahiti Tourisme

Your favourite hotel?
The St Regis Bora Bora is the epitome of luxurious relaxation! Dreamy overwater bungalows with majestic views and exquisite food in the evening at the Lagoon by Jean-Georges restaurant…time just stops!

Photo via Elodie Boursaus

Your favourite way to spend time outdoors?
Tahitian women have a deep love for the ocean. We have the clearest waters and amazingly unique marine wildlife. I like to surf, dive, and spearfish and then on Sundays I put on monoi (coconut oil) and relax at the beach.

Photo via Elodie Boursaus

Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in Tahiti?
My granny! I used to call her meme coco (granny coco). She had the biggest, warmest smile. She always knew how to make things out of nothing! Bags and baskets out of palm leaves, jewellery with shells, flower crowns, she also taught me about the respect of traditions.

Photo via Tahiti Tourisme

What’s your idea of the ideal date night in Tahiti?
Dinner under the stars, ukulele playing and the sound of waves caressing the sand, French champagne and the smell of Tiare flowers.

Photo via Elodie Boursaus

Anything else that a honeymooning couple needs to know about Tahiti?
Honeymooners fall in love in Tahiti and with Tahiti.

Photo via Tahiti Tourisme

Ms Zebra Says: What great tips from a local! It’s always so nice to hear different, unique ways to experience a place – that isn’t all “touristy”! A great choice for a romantic honeymoon.

Thanks Elodie for sharing your incredible knowledge of the islands for Tahiti Tourisme. They are an economic interest group servicing the marketing, PR and events (to name a few) for the Islands of Tahiti across the world. Their website includes great information on the islands, accommodation, activities and much more!

Polka Dot Honeymoons Directory Mid Banner

 

Seeking an island holiday which infuses European flair with tropical island vibes? Look no further than Madeira, an emerald green isle off the coast of Morocco. An autonomous region of Portugal, this relaxed honeymoon haven was formed from ancient volcanic activity – and soccer fans will know it’s also the birthplace of star player Cristiano Ronaldo.

A short flight from mainland Europe, Madeira promises to add an exciting element to your honeymoon itinerary and offers a fantastic blend of foodie activities, sightseeing, off-road adventures and relaxation. City slickers will love staying in the lively capital of Funchal, while those after a quieter getaway may prefer the sunny village of Calheta, on the southern side of the island.

Here’s our pick of the best things to do in Madeira:

Best for beach-goers: Porto Moniz Pools

For a beach day with a difference, journey to the northwest corner of the island to the Piscinas Naturais de Porto Moniz; natural ocean-side swimming pools in the village of Porto Moniz. Crystal clear and fed with natural seawater, these volcanic formed rock pools provide an idyllic way to spend a few hours in the sunshine. Set up your towel poolside and spend a lazy morning dipping in the (refreshing!) pools, before picking up a Portuguese tart at the snack bar for the drive home.

Best for explorers: Jeep Safari

Rugged and wildly beautiful, Madeira boasts lush forests, black sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, steep peaks and more, making it a dynamic place to discover for intrepid honeymooners. One of the best ways to explore the island is by jeep safari, for an off-road adventure otherwise inaccessible with a regular hire car. Try the Green Devil Enchanted Terraces tour for an all-day jaunt which will see you swimming in tranquil rock pools, driving through Madeira’s famous wine country and walking a section of one of the Levada trails.

Best for nature lovers: Monte Palace Tropical Garden

Plant lovers simply must make the ascent via cable car up to the Monte Palace Tropical Garden, a lush haven brimming with thousands of botanical gems from all over the world. Stroll along fern-fringed terraces, be blown away by blooming hydrangeas and admire stunning blue and white ceramic artworks, all while soaking in gorgeous ocean views.

Best for thrill seekers: Monte Toboggan Ride

Thrill seekers cannot pass up the chance to go whizzing down the hills of Funchal on the famous Monte toboggan ride. Travelling in a cart that’s part wicker basket, part toboggan, this daring descent will have you clinging to your love and laughing the whole way. All the while two ‘carreiros’ dressed in traditional white shirts and hats expertly guide the toboggan down narrow streets to the finishing area, using their rubber soled boots as brakes.

Historically used as an efficient means of transport for Monte residents down to Funchal, today it serves as an adrenalin-filled adventure for tourists. Also, don’t forget to smile for the cameras along the way – you’ll be able to purchase a snap of your thrill ride at the bottom.

Best for romantics: Afternoon Tea for Two

For sublime sea views and sweet treats, reserve a table for afternoon tea at Belmond Reid’s Palace, an elegant cliff-top hotel bursting with old-world glamour. Served on the delightful millennial pink terrace, afternoon tea is a three-tiered tray and linen napkin affair, complete with an extensive tea menu. Try the bespoke Reid’s blend for the perfect accompaniment.

All images by Anika Reynolds

Best for wine lovers: Blandy’s Wine Lodge Tour

If you’ve heard the name Madeira before, chances are you may have come across the famous wine named after the island. A little unconventional, the Madeira method sees the winemakers deliberately adding heat in order to progress the vinification process, resulting in the four distinctive (and delicious!) styles of fortified wine.

In Funchal, you can take a tour of the famous Blandy’s Wine Lodge, one of the most prominent makers of Madeira wine. Here, you’ll discover more about the winemaking process and iconic Blandy’s brand, before tasting a few of their label’s best drops.

Ms Zebra Says: What a luxurious and beautiful place to honeymoon! Having never heard of Madeira, I’m now booking a ticket! The high tea looks particularly delicious!

About Anika Reynolds: I’m a freelance writer with a love of weddings and creatively styled events. I have a penchant for pretty stationery and perfectly put together cheese plates, and a never-ending sense of wanderlust!

Wendy & Gareth

Bright colours, movie inspiration and the city of love must make for the romantic setting for engagement photos and that is what dreams are made of. So when Camera & Kit joined with Wendy and Gareth on a hot summer August day they set about capturing an engagement shoot with a very fun twist.

Tells Wendy “We wanted something different, relaxed and memorable so we went on a slightly offbeat bohemian photographic walking adventure around the les rues de Paris from l’hotel l’Amour (the Love Hotel oh laaa laaaaah!) on la Rue de Navarin in the 9th arrondissement de Paris to Saint-Germain-des-Prés and everywhere in between. It was so different compared to the normal way an engagement shoot is done. It was a fabulous two days, free upgrade on the Eurostar, lunch, outfit changes and an adventure across Paris. It was a romantic photographic stroll (with three outfit changes!) Cami promised that the photo shoot would be the whimsical and romantic feeling of La La Land meets the wonderful sugary pastel colours of a box of macarons and she was right.”

The pair met online, tells the bride to be. “We met on an internet dating site after friends encouraged us to give internet dating a try and it worked wonderfully well as we have now been in a relationship for about 3.5 years and been planning our wedding for about 18 months now.”

On what he loves about Wendy, Gareth tells “Meeting Wendy was a turning point in my life. I don’t know how it happened, but she came into my life at a point where together we’ve helped each other grow and I could never dream of not having her by my side… She’s my best friend and my biggest supporter.”

Gareth proposed after a delicious lunch, Wendy remembers. “Gareth surprised me with a lunch at a quaint little pub before taking me to a spot on the reservoir that is opposite the church we are getting married at. It means on my wedding day as I look across the water I’ll have those happy memories, moments before creating many more. He proposed on the 17th January 2017 at the lake at Rutland Water across from Normanton Church where we are having our wedding ceremony.”

On what she loves about her future husband, Wendy notes ” One of the things I love about Gareth is how he is always there for me, how he makes me feel safe & loved. Gareth is caring, supportive and always puts others before himself. He has a big heart which I’m honoured to be in.”

Photographer: Camera & Kit / Accommodation: Hotel Amour / Transport: Eurostar / Hair & Makeup Artist: Make Up By Jodie / Bride's Dress: Asos / Bride's Dress: Dorothy Perkins / Groom's Attire: Asos