Total duration (RT): 9h
Total distance (RT): 18km
Positive elevation: 1500m
Difficulty: very difficult
Very well marked forest and ridge trails.
Some very technical and difficult portions with ropes.
Vertiginous but secure ridge trail.
It is recommended to wear pants to avoid abrasions from Anuhe ferns.
Mount Aorai, which culminates at 2066m, is Tahiti's third highest peak after Mount Orohena (2241m) and Pito Iti (2110m),
which you can also admire during the ascent.
The hike starts at the O Belvédère restaurant, located at an altitude of 600m
and accessible by a paved road from the Hamuta valley (Pirae town hall).
The ascent of Mount Aorai is a long and difficult hike, due to its high elevation, technical portions with ropes on vertiginous ridges. The trail is very well marked and secure, but don't neglect the preparation for this hike and the weather conditions. It is advisable to bring pants, otherwise the Anuhe ferns will not fail scratching your legs all the way along the trail. Take between 3 and 4 liters of water per person. To avoid the hot weather and have chances to reach the summit before the clouds, it is advisable to start the ascent at 5 am with the headlamp.
Follow the large track from the restaurant, which passes by few houses first, and then quickly turns into a trail. Admire the beautiful colors of the landscape as the day breaks. You pass the Taruia summit after about 2.5km. A few hundred meters further on, a bench offers you a nice view of the Fautaua valley.
Continue the path for about 3km to arrive at the first refuge (Fare Mato), located at 1400m altitude. A little bit more than 2 hours are necessary to reach this first refuge since the start of the hike.
From the first refuge, the trail becomes more technical with a few ropes and very steep sections. This is the hardest part of the hike. Follow the ridge for more than 2km. Enjoy the view over the Pito Iti and the Orohena on your left, as well as the diadem on your right. After about 1 hour of ascent and 400m of vertical elevation, you reach a picnic table, and a little further on the second refuge (Fare Ata), located at an altitude of 1800m.
The trail is less technical and a little less steep from this point. Continue to follow the ridge trail and climb over two small hills before starting the final ascent of Mount Aorai. From the second refuge, more than one hour is necessary to reach the top. Enjoy the panoramic view over the island and even the peninsula if the sky is clear. Head back down before the clouds bring rain.