Vaipahi Falls

Taravao, Tahiti Island, French Polynesia

About Vaipahi Falls


Hiking Distance: 400m round trip
Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Date first visited: 2012-12-15
Date last visited: 2012-12-15

Waterfall Latitude: -17.75967
Waterfall Longitude: -149.38964

Vaipahi Falls was more of those classic intimate small jungle waterfalls where it’s easy to relax, swim, and play here (though the mozzies can easily break that piece of mind).

Tall hanging vines surrounded the little cove containing this waterfall.

Vaipahi_Garden_025_20121215 - Vaipahi Falls within the Vaipahi Public Garden
Vaipahi Falls within the Vaipahi Public Garden

Meanwhile, some pretty plants with colorful flowers flanked the stream leading down away from the falls towards a pond on the other side of a footbridge.

The garden encompassing the Vaipahi Falls itself was a nice place to take a relaxing stroll while taking note of the pretty ponds and plants (I understand very few of them are native).

Thus, I’d have to say that with such idyllic tropical scenery, I could easily envision why George Harrison (of The Beatles fame) and Pattie Boyd spent time here back in 1964.

I was able to reach this waterfall after a short walk in the Jardin Public Vaipahi (i.e. Vaipahi Public Garden in French), which did not charge an admission fee.

Vaipahi_Garden_032_20121215 - Looking across some attractive ponds within the Vaipahi Public Garden
Looking across some attractive ponds within the Vaipahi Public Garden

While there were many trails leading to much longer walks (more on these later), the path to this waterfall was on an approach just to the right of some steps leading higher up the mountain.

This flatter path ultimately led to a footbridge as well as the banks of the plunge pool to its left.

I had read some signage here that there was a second waterfall in this garden area, but a local here said it was a pretty solid hour-long hike up the mountain to get there.

I didn’t try going up there, but maybe I might try again if we’re fortunate enough to return to Tahiti.

Vaipahi_Garden_006_20121215 - A couple about to take a dip in the plunge pool before the Vaipahi Falls
A couple about to take a dip in the plunge pool before the Vaipahi Falls

I suppose it’s also possible to combine these longer hikes into about a half-day’s worth of hiking in a long loop.

So indeed there were options to extend a visit here beyond just the Vaipahi Falls itself.

That said, the waterfall was the sole reason why we stopped at this garden.

Authorities

Vaipahi Falls is on Tahiti Island near Taravao in Tahiti (or more formally French Polynesia). It is administered by the Jardin Public Vaipahi (Vaipahi Public Garden). For information or inquiries about this area as well as current conditions, visit the Tahiti Tourism website or their Facebook page.

Vaipahi_Garden_003_20121215 - The walking path through the Vaipahi Public Garden
Vaipahi_Garden_015_20121215 - Direct look at the Vaipahi Falls surrounded by vines giving it quite a jungle feel to it
Vaipahi_Garden_020_20121215 - Another look at Vaipahi Falls as seen from directly across the plunge pool
Vaipahi_Garden_028_20121215 - Vaipahi Falls as seen from the footbridge
Vaipahi_Garden_029_20121215 - Another look at the Vaipahi Falls and its surrounding vines as seen from the footbridge further downstream

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Vaipahi Falls and the Vaipahi Public Garden is in the Papeari District at least 12km or so southwest of the town of Taravao.

It’s a minute or two west of the turnoff for the Paul Gaugin Museum and just hundreds of meters east of the Bain du Vaima (which seemed to be packed with locals spending their weekend swimming at the spring and pools there).

Vaipahi_Garden_002_20121215 - The car park and entrance for the Vaipahi Public Garden
The car park and entrance for the Vaipahi Public Garden

The garden is said to be near the PK49 post, but to be honest, we didn’t spot that post (as we had trouble using them on the south side of Tahiti Nui during our 2012 visit).

There’s an obvious paved car park and some huts containing a gift shop as well as some offices and storage sheds.

I recalled they’re open daily from 07:30 to 17:00 (5pm).

For driving times and context, the Vaipahi Garden was about 48km (a little over an hour drive) south of downtown Papeete and 37km (under an hour drive) south of Punaauia (where we were staying).

Right to left sweep starting from the footbridge then ending at the waterfall itself


Top down sweep of the just the falls flanked by tall vines


Right to left sweep but now panning along the flowers flanking the stream instead of the stream itself before ending with a bottom up sweep of the falls


Right to left sweep as seen from the footbridge starting with ponds downstream then ending with the falls


L-shaped left to right sweep of the falls then panning across the foliage to the ponds downstream of the footbridge. All this was captured from that footbridge

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Tagged with: taravao, mataiea, papeari, tahiti nui, tahiti island, tahiti, french polynesia, waterfall, paul gaugin, vaipahi, garden, george harrison, beattles



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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