Touring Tahiti on a jeep safari French Polynesia's biggest draw for Canadian tourists tends to be its sandy, sun-baked atolls, but the lush green jungles of the Tahitian interior are attractions in their own right. By Brett Walther 2014-07-23 00:00:00 Touring Tahiti on a jeep safari Slideshow View Slideshow Touring Tahiti on a jeep safari Replay This Slideshow Next Slideshow Previous Next By: Photo: © Copyright View more galleries 7 reasons to visit Tikeha Get the look: Tikehau Pea Top 10 Bora Bora travel t All-terrain tourism As the travel hub of French Polynesia, Tahiti is often overlooked as a tourist destination in itself. More than just a stopover en route to Bora Bora and Tikehau, the island's interior boasts some truly spectacular landscapes that are best explored on a jeep safari. Tahiti Discovery jeep tours Teiva, a tour guide with Tahiti Discovery jeep tours, offers full and half-day excursions deep into the heart of the Tahitian interior. His tours focus on the Papaenoo Valley—a massive volcanic crater that's teeming with lush, tropical vegetation—and the occasional wild boar!You can book your excursion directly with Tahiti Discovery, or through the concierge at the lovely Manava Suite Resort in Papeete. Pointe de Tapahi After a 30-minute drive outside of Papeete, you'll stop at Pointe de Tapahi—a popular lookout point, and a welcome respite from the city's constant state of rush-hour traffic. Jutting out into the Pacific like a rocky fang, the site is dominated by an ancient tree, perched preciously at the summit. Panorama de Tapahi Even though Tahiti is encircled by a protective reef, the surf still crashes violently along the shores below Pointe de Tapahi. The Papaenoo Valley You know you're in the Papaenoo Valley when the 4-by-4 kicks in! Apart from the roar of the jeep's engine, the jungles here are eerily quiet and almost entirely devoid of birdsong. It turns out Captain Cook and the early colonists unwittingly introduced the voracious black rat into the fragile Tahitian ecosystem, decimating the tropical bird population you'd expect to find in such surroundings. Tiare flowers Also called "Tahitian gardenias," gorgeously perfumed tiare flowers bloom throughout the year. Petals are harvested and soaked in coconut oil in the production of monoi oil - a popular skin and hair conditioner. Chasing waterfalls The rim of the volcanic crater is draped with countless ribbon-like waterfalls. Most of them are temporary, and the result recent rainfall. Rarer are the permanent waterfalls, which flow from mountain springs and lakes. "The Tahitian Telephone" In the early days of colonization, workers were summoned from the plantation fields by banging a rock against the side of this hollow tree. The reverberations could be heard throughout the valley, earning this tree the nickname, "The Tahitian Telephone."