Exercise normal safety precautions in French Polynesia. Use common sense and look out for suspicious behaviour, as you would in Australia. Monitor the media and other sources for changes to local travelling conditions.
- Faa'a International Airport in Papeete may be subject to closure during periods of heavy rain. In the event of a closure, contact your airline or tour provider for latest information on flight disruptions.
- In recent years, Australians have been medically disembarked from cruise ships and hospitalised in French Polynesia. Medical costs in French Polynesia are high and are not covered by Medicare. Make sure you have adequate travel insurance for your cruise, including for any pre-existing conditions. Check your travel insurance page to make sure that you understand exactly what your policy covers.
- Industrial disputes and strikes have the potential to cause disruption to the supply of essential services and transport, including international and domestic air links. You should monitor developments and plan accordingly. See
Safety and security.
- Avoid all demonstrations and large public gatherings, as they may turn violent.
- Cyclone season is from November to April. However, tropical storms and cyclones may occur in other months. See
- Mosquito-borne diseases may be present, including dengue fever and zika virus. Take precautions against being bitten by mosquitos. Outbreaks of leptospirosis, scabies and diarrhoea also occur. See
Health for more information.
Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
- Australia has an honorary consulate in French Polynesia headed by an Honorary Consul, who provides limited consular assistance. The Australian Consulate-General in New Caledonia provides full consular assistance to Australians in French Polynesia. See
Where to get help.
Entry and exit
Australian tourists can enter French Polynesia without a visa in most circumstances. Contact the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of France, or visit
their website for the latest information, including on passport and other specific requirements.
Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
Some goods are either prohibited from entering French Polynesia or require specific formalities. Refer to the websites (in French) of the
French High Commission in French Polynesia and of the
Biosecurity Department of French Polynesia for the most up-to-date information.
Safety and security
Civil unrest/Political tension
Industrial disputes and strikes have the potential to cause social unrest and disruption to the supply of essential services and transport, including international and domestic air links. In the event of strike action, you should check the status of flights with your airline before travelling to the airport and contact your tour operator to check if tourist services have been disrupted.
You should avoid demonstrations and large public gatherings as they may turn violent.
French Polynesia has a low incidence of serious crime. Petty crime does occur. Be aware of your personal belongings at all times and don't leave your belongings unattended or unsecured.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our
Terrorist Threat Worldwide bulletin.
Money and valuables
The currency in French Polynesia is the Pacific Franc (XPF - Franc Pacifique). Money exchange services are available at most banks, the international airport, licensed exchange offices, at hotels and resorts. Credit cards and ATM facilities may not be available at smaller shops and on the more remote islands and atolls.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You're required by Australian law to
report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest
Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
When going out to bars or clubs, you should plan your night out and remember simple safety precautions. Be aware that drink spiking can occur aboard. Do not leave food or drink unattended and avoid accepting food or drinks from new acquaintances. See our Partying safely page for tips and advice.
If you intend to hire cars, motorcycles, jet skis or any other motorised water sport equipment, talk to your insurer to check if you are covered by your insurance policy.
For information on driver's licence requirements in French Polynesia, contact the nearest French
Embassy or Consulate. See also our
road travel page.
The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators, including adventure activities such as diving, may not be of the same level as in Australia. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided and recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed. Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't. If appropriate safety equipment is not available, you should use another provider.
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See instead the
Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in French Polynesia.
Please also refer to our general
air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.
French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France and a mix of French and local laws apply. See the
Laws section of our travel advice for France for information on French laws.
You're subject to the local laws in French Polynesia, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our
Consular Services Charter. But we cannot get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
Penalties for drug offences, even possession of small amounts, include fines and imprisonment. See our
French law allowing same-sex marriages also applies in French Polynesia. Outside of the main tourist islands of Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, French Polynesia remains a conservative society. Same sex couples should avoid public displays of affection in these areas. For more information, see our
LGBTI travellers page.
You are required to carry identification at all times.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Other than the tourist islands of Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, French Polynesia is a conservative society and you should dress and behave modestly outside tourist resorts.
Information for dual nationals
Dual nationals page provides information.
Take out comprehensive
travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The
World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our
health pages also provide useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
The standard of medical facilities in the capital Papeete, is very high. However, facilities in the outlying areas and on remote islands, including Bora Bora, are basic. Medical and hospital costs in French Polynesia are very expensive. A medical evacuation to Australia can cost tens of thousands of Australian dollars.
Rescue and emergency services are of a high standard although distances between the capital, Papeete, and the outer islands could delay the response to an emergency.
There is only one hyperbaric (decompression) facility in French Polynesia, in Papeete. Many of the popular dive sites are located on other islands and it may take hours to reach the decompression facility in the event of an accident. Many registered dive companies require participants to have insurance cover for diving. Regardless, you should ensure that your insurance covers whatever activity you intend to undertake.
The government authority, Centre d'Hygiène et de la Salubrité Publique (CHSP) provides advice on the quality of tap water in French Polynesia. Tap water in Papeete is generally considered safe to drink. It is recommended, however, that you boil all drinking water or drink only bottled water outside of Papeete
Mosquito-borne diseases may be present, including dengue fever, and filariasis (mainly in rural areas). There has been historical outbreaks of chikungunya and zika virus (See Zika Virus bulletin). Outbreaks of dengue fever and influenza-like illness are common during the warmer and wetter months of the year. Take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes, including using an insect repellent, wearing loose fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof. Seek medical advice if you have a fever. Local authorities have dengue fever and chikungunya virus prevention measures in place. For further information see the WHO's fact sheets on
Leptospirosis Outbreaks of leptospirosis occur. Local authorities recommend wearing closed-in shoes when walking. Avoid swimming in rivers and contact with muddy water. For information on leptospirosis, see the
World Health organisation's website.
Outbreaks of diarrhea or contagious infections, such as scabies or conjunctivitis, occur from time to time. Local authorities recommend maintaining strict hygiene standards and being attentive to symptoms such as itchiness and skin lesions. Refer to the
World Health Organisation's website for further advice.
Information for cruise passengers
In recent years, Australians have been medically disembarked from cruise ships to Papeete for hospitalisation. We are aware of a number of cases in the Pacific where the insurance claims made by cruise passengers have been refused, particularly for travellers with pre-existing medical conditions. Medical facilities on-board may not be as comprehensive as in Australia, and on-board medical treatment may incur additional fees. Contact your cruise operator to discuss the nature of the medical facilities and any associated onboard cruise costs. See our Going on a cruise? page for more information.
Take out travel insurance appropriate to your circumstances, including adequate coverage for any pre-existing conditions, before you embark on a cruise. Read the product disclosure statement to ensure that you understand what your policy covers. See our travel insurance page for more information about obtaining appropriate insurance cover.
Where to get help
Depending on your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
In an emergency, you can contact the police on 17, ambulance on 15 and fire brigade18. You should also obtain a police report when reporting a crime.
If the matter relates to complaints about tourism services or products, contact the service provider directly.
Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and cannot do to assist Australians overseas.
Australia has a Consulate in French Polynesia headed by an Honorary Consul. The Consulate provides limited consular assistance which does not include the issue of Australian passports.
Australian Consulate, Tahiti
C/- Petropol Central Office
Papeava Port Zone
Tahiti, FRENCH POLYNESIA
Telephone +689 40 468 853
Facsimile +689 40 468 854
You can obtain full consular assistance from the Australian Consulate-General in New Caledonia:
Australian Consulate-General, Noumea
11 rue Georges Baudoux
Artillerie, Noumea, New Caledonia
Telephone +687 272 414
Australia in New Caledonia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna
Consulate-General website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
Consulate-General on Facebook for events and notifications.
If you are travelling to French Polynesia, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register
online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it's a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the above Consulate-General or Consulate, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Australia on +61 2 6261 3305, or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
On 21 February (20 February local time), Faa'a International Airport in Papeete reopened following a temporary closure caused by heavy rain and localised flooding.
Be aware that Faa'a International Airport may close during periods of heavy rain. In the event of an airport closure, contact your airline or tour provider for the latest information on flight disruptions. See also information on the
website of the French High Commission in the French Polynesia for information on emergency management.
If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
French High Commission in French Polynesia has procedures in place for natural disasters, such as severe weather, strong winds, strong swells, tsunamis, heavy rains, thunderstorms and cyclones. We recommend that you monitor the
High Commission website for weather notifications and up-to-date information. In the event of an emergency, the French High Commission will open a hotline to their Emergency Management Centre. The hotline can be reached at +689 40 44 42 10.
If you're travelling after a cyclone or natural disaster, you should contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination have been affected.
Cyclone season for French Polynesia is from November to April. However, tropical storms and cyclones may also occur in other months. The direction and strength of cyclones can change with little warning.
In the event of an approaching cyclone, you should identify your nearest safe location, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor the media and weather reports for the latest developments.
Flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended. Available flights may fill quickly. The cyclone could also affect access to sea ports in the region. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe cyclone may not be available to those who choose to stay. You should familiarise yourself with your hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans. You should carry your travel documents at all times (i.e. passport, photo identification) or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. We also suggest that you contact friends and family in Australia with updates about your welfare and whereabouts. For further information, see our
Severe weather page.
French Polynesia has a six-level cyclone alert system: YELLOW (potential cyclone activity in the next 72 hours), ORANGE (potential cyclone activity in the next 48 hours), RED (cyclone is imminent – in the next 12 to 18 hours), RED (during the cyclone), PURPLE (assessment of damage phase) and GREEN (end of cyclone alert). Details on the alert system and recommended activities during each level can be found (in French and Reo Maohi) on the
French High Commission website.
Weather Bureau in French Polynesia (Meteo-France Polynesia Francaise) provides weather information (in French) on its website, by phone on 44 27 08 and fax on 44 27 09 (both numbers are for within French Polynesia only).
You can also get detailed weather information from
The Fiji Meteorological Service,
the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and the
Joint Typhoon Warning Center, US Navy.
French Polynesia is in an active earthquake area. Further information on earthquakes and other natural disasters can be obtained from the
Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.
All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, there is a more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along major tectonic plate boundaries and ocean trenches The
French High Commission Tsunami Alert brochure (in French and Reo Maohi) advises that there are two likely evacuation scenarios: immediate for a tsunami originating from Tonga which would reach French Polynesia in one (1) hour, and for a tsunami originating from Latin America or Alaska which would take around 8 hours to reach French Polynesia.. In the case of an emergency follow the directions of local authorities. See the
Pacific Tsunami Warning Center website for more information.