Papenoo Valley Waterfalls

Papenoo Valley / Vaihiria River Valley / Papenoo District / Mataeia District, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia

Rating: 2.5     Difficulty: 1
Vaiharuru Falls - one of the main Papenoo Waterfalls

TABLE OF CONTENTS



[Back to top]

INTRODUCTION

The Papenoo Valley Waterfalls page is where I'm placing the handful of waterfalls we managed to see while on a 4x4 tour through the heart of Tahiti Nui. The three named waterfalls (or at least named by our 2002 version of LP) used to be on separate pages, but I figured it now makes more sense to just lump them onto this page.

The three named waterfalls I speak of are the Topatari Falls, Vaiharuru Falls, and Puraha Falls, respectively. All three of these falls were on the Papenoo Valley part of the 4x4 tour, which comprised much of the morning. There were more waterfalls in the afternoon though technically that was in Vaihiria River Valley, whose main river drained the only freshwater lake in Tahiti - Lake Vaihiria.

Topatari Falls (or the Topatari Waterfall), which was the first major waterfall we saw as we went from north to south in Papenoo Valley, was mostly in shadow on the morning we were here back in September 2002. That was probably because it was a west-facing waterfall. I recalled that the driver didn't stop for this falls so I had to get what photos that I could while standing in the back of the rugged tour truck. And getting a decent shot wasn't easy as the vehicle rocked back and forth over the rough 4x4 road.

Vaiharuru Falls (not to be confused with the one near the Faatautia River) was the second major waterfall we saw during our 4wd excursion through Papenoo Valley. And since this was an east facing waterfall, the morning light was pretty good so the driver actually stopped the 4wd vehicle so we could get out of the truck and take photos in front of it for a few minutes. This one sat a few minutes south of Topatari Falls.

Puraha Falls was the third major waterfall that we saw in Papenoo Valley. This one sat behind a green yet clear manmade lake. In fact, the falls spilled right into the lake. I had seen photos of this waterfall with fuller flow, but considering that we were here towards the latter part of the Dry Season in 2002, we were content that it was flowing as well as it did. Since this falls was a west-facing waterfall, we had to look against the sun in order to photograph it, which didn't produce the best lighting. But at least with the open space and road being less bumpy as we crossed before the falls, it wasn't as difficult to photograph as say Topatari Falls was.

The rest of the waterfalls we noticed on both the Papenoo Valley side and the Vaihiria River Valley side seemed to be of the temporary ephemeral variety. I recalled the driver stopped at a couple of these for a swim to cool off from the tropical heat. See how many you can spot before you start to get waterfall fatigue.

There was also one small but pretty waterfall we noticed towards the end of the trip that the driver said was in some kind of European shampoo commercial. Flanked by pretty flowers and tropical plants, it looked like a real inviting place for a swim though we only stopped to take photos for that waterfall and not swim there.




[Back to top]

PHOTO JOURNAL

Topatari Waterfall, which was one of the main waterfalls seen on this 4wd tour through Papenoo ValleyTopatari Waterfall, which was one of the main waterfalls seen on this 4wd tour through Papenoo Valley
Puraha Waterfall, which was another one of the main waterfalls seen on the 4wd tour through Papenoo ValleyPuraha Waterfall, which was another one of the main waterfalls seen on the 4wd tour through Papenoo Valley
Lake Vaihiria, which was on the southern side of Tahiti Nui after having passed through Papenoo ValleyLake Vaihiria, which was on the southern side of Tahiti Nui after having passed through Papenoo Valley
When we first visited Papenoo Valley back in 2002, we tried to check out les roulottes at the Papeete Waterfront, but it was too far from the airport so it wasn't until 10 years later when we did itWhen we first visited Papenoo Valley back in 2002, we tried to check out les roulottes at the Papeete Waterfront, but it was too far from the airport so it wasn't until 10 years later when we did it
Closeup of the Topatari WaterfallCloseup of the Topatari Waterfall

Papenoo River Valley with Topatari WaterfallPapenoo River Valley with Topatari Waterfall

Vaiharuru WaterfallVaiharuru Waterfall

Papenoo River in low flowPapenoo River in low flow

Closeup of Puraha WaterfallCloseup of Puraha Waterfall

Looking back at the Puraha WaterfallLooking back at the Puraha Waterfall (you have to look closely)

One of the waterfalls we spotted on the way up to the Relais de la MarotoOne of the waterfalls we spotted on the way up to the Relais de la Maroto (where we stopped for a satisfying lunch)

Looking west towards some sharp mountainsLooking west towards some sharp mountains (is one of them Diademe?)

This was one of the spots where the driver stopped for a swim in the Papenoo RiverThis was one of the spots where the driver stopped for a swim in the Papenoo River. Though we had to be mindful of some large ants here with a particularly nasty sting or bite.

A river crossingA river crossing

Another waterfall spotted on the way up Papenoo ValleyAnother waterfall spotted on the way up Papenoo Valley

Another waterfall spotted on the way up Papenoo Valley...and another...

Another waterfall spotted on the way up Papenoo Valley...and another...

Looking back at the Papenoo Valley before we entered a tunnelLooking back at the Papenoo Valley before we entered a tunnel

Looking down towards Lake VaihiriaLooking down towards Lake Vaihiria

On the shores of Lake VaihiriaOn the shores of Lake Vaihiria. We were told that there were freshwater eels here with large ears though we didn't spot them.

A pretty waterfall on the Vaihiria River Valley sideA pretty waterfall on the Vaihiria River Valley side

A tall and slender-looking falls near another spot where our driver stopped for a swimA tall and slender-looking falls near another spot where our driver stopped for a swim

The same falls near the swimming spot from a different angleThe same falls near the swimming spot from a different angle

The falls that might have been featured in a European shampoo commercialAnd then the falls that might have been featured in a European shampoo commercial, according to our driver.


[Back to top]

VIDEOS OF THE FALLS




[Back to top]

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We arranged for a tour on the free day we had on Tahiti Island in 2002 after leaving from Bora Bora on a very early flight (the international flight wasn't until late in the evening). We were able to catch the tour around 7:30am I think, which lasted the whole day until about 4pm. They picked us up from the Faaa international airport near Papeete.

The northern approach to Papenoo Valley is about 17km east of Papeete. I understand that it's possible to drive part way into Papenoo Valley, but we didn't try it. I also understand that it's possible to drive up towards Lake Vaihiria, but again, we didn't try that either.




[Back to top]

ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




[Back to top]

MAP OF THE FALLS



Click here for the full World of Waterfalls map





[Back to top]

TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




[Back to top]

TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




[Back to top]

NEARBY WATERFALLS




[Back to top]

RELATED PAGES



Have You Been To This Waterfall?

Share your experience!

Click here to see visitor comments for this waterfall

Click here to see visitor comments for other waterfalls that we've visited in this region

Click here to go to the Comments Main Page

You can use the form below, but if you find our host's interface too troublesome to use (especially if you're trying to upload photos), then just send a text submission anyways using the form, but also let us know that you'd like to attach photos. If you've provided an email address via the form, then we can reply back acknowledging your request, and you can then reply to that email with your photo attachments. We're very sorry about this, but there's not much we can do about SBI's terrible interface.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Another Papenoo Waterfall! 
Checking my pictures I found a waterfall located between the Topatari and Vaiharuru ones of which I've got no information. Firstly I though it was Vaiharuru …

Papenoo Valley Waterfall (Tahiti) 
This is a waterfall I found along the Papenoo Valley which doesn't seem to be neither Topatari, Vahiraruru nor Puraha, and neither seems to be a seasonal …

Click here to write your own.



[Back to top]

[Go to the Tahiti Waterfalls Page]

[Go to the South Pacific Page]

[Return from Papenoo Valley Waterfalls to the World of Waterfalls Home Page]