Scattered around Tahiti are a number of island groups, mainly just specks of land in the vastness of the world's greatest ocean, but each a tiny green oasis. Some of the last places on earth to be discovered and settled by Europeans, they attracted famous explorers like Captain Cook, Bligh, and Ingraham. Later on, artists the like of Gauguin and writers such as Stevenson were to fall under the spell of their year-round hot weather, warm tropical waters, and splendid isolation. Today, the Islands act as a magnet for the discerning tourist. Raiatea, largest of the Leeward Islands and second only to Tahiti in size, is a respectable 20-minute flight northwest from the capital and with neighboring Tahaa forms a popular holiday spot.
Away to the northeast of Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands are the most isolated island group in the world—the nearest is about a three-hour flight from Pape'ete. The Gambiers, part of the Tuamotu Archipelago, are to the southeast, with the Australs the last group to be discovered lying to the south. These are tiny patches of paradise, places where it is still possible to find that touch of romance and create the feeling of being in your own little world. They're not so easily accessible, but even if only for a few days try to make time for a visit and enjoy relaxing on an exquisite island paradise.