The island of Tahiti is the largest island of French Polynesia – a French overseas territory – which extends over an area of ​​the Pacific of around 4 million km². It is located in the middle of the south-east Pacific around 4,100 km northeast of New Zealand and around 4,400 km south-southeast of Hawaii.
After France, whose overseas territory it belongs, is 17,100 kilometers, according to Tokyo 8800 km and after Santiago km 8,000. French Polynesia has five atolls with a total of around 130 islands

Islands of French Polynesia, nuclear tests

The state consists of 118 islands, which are divided into 5 island groups.
The island of Tahiti is part of the Society Island Group (islands upwind, islands behind the wind). The other four archipelagos are Tuamotu, the Gambier Islands, the Austral Islands and the Marquesas.

87% of the population live on the Society Islands, 75% of them on the Windwards Islands, mainly on Tahiti itself.

About 6.5% of the population live on the Tuamotu and Gambier Islands and about 3.5% of the population on the Marquesas and about 2.6% on the Austral Islands.

  • Society Islands
    Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, Raiatea/Tahaa, Huahine
  • Tuamotu Islands
    Rangiroa, Manihi, Tikehau, Fakarava;
    Makatea is one of the three phosphate islands in the Pacific, which also includes Nauru and Banaba Island in Kiribati.
  • MarquesasIsland n
    NukuHiva, HivaOa
  • Austral Islands
    Rurutu, Tubuai, Rimatara, Raivavae, Rapa
  • Gambier Islands

Tests On Mururoa Island, 21˚ 50 ‘South and 138˚ 55’ West, there was a French nuclear test area. From 1966 to 1996 a total of 188 atomic bombs were detonated here, 41 of them in the atmosphere and 147 underground. The first above-ground nuclear weapons test took place on July 2, 1966 under the code name “Aldebaran”.

On the Fangataufa island 122˚ 15 ‘South and 138˚ 45’ West there was also a nuclear weapons test area from 1966 to 1996. A total of 13 A bombs were deployed here. From 1975 the tests were carried out underground.

Area and land use

The archipelago covers a total land area of ​​1,045 km².
The area of ​​the ocean, on which French Polynesia is distributed, is about 4 million km².
Around 20 minutes by flight to the north is the Tetiaroa archipelago (Islands Before the Wind), which belongs to the Society Islands and was bought in 1963 by the US actor Marlon Brando (1924-2004).


Tahiti has a sea coast with a length of around 2,500 km.

Tidal range in Papeete

In the capital Papeete, the mean tidal range of the Pacific is around 2.5 m.

Incidentally, the world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 meters, and at spring tide even over 20 meters. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax.
On the German North Sea coast, it varies between one and three meters. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 meters, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

Tahiti extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from 17 ° 32 ‘S to 17 ° 56’ S
Δλ = from 149 ° 06 ‘W to 149 ° 40’ W.

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

For Tahiti, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there, a plus sign that it is later than CET.

Δt (CET) = – 11 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Papeete

Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, is located at a southern latitude of around φ = 17.5 ° and thus in the middle of the tropics.
The sun stands vertically over the city twice a year when the declination of the sun is exactly the same as the latitude of Papeete, i.e. 17.5 ° S.

Roughly speaking, that is 23 days before December 21st and then again 23 days after December 21st.

If the image point of the sun is more north than the latitude of Papeete, the sun is not there, as it is with us, at noon in the south, but in the north. So it then migrates from east to north to west, where, as with us, it goes under.

Waning and waxing moon

On the northern hemisphere of the earth , the decreasing leaves moon seen from the fact that his sickle in the sky a little a form. With the waxing moon, however, the crescent moon is curved the other way round.

In the southern hemisphere it is exactly the opposite, so that there the waxing moon forms a small a.

The reason for this is that the moon, like the sun, has a pixel on the earth (see position of the sun, general). (LINK)

This image point moves from around 28.6 ° north latitude to 28.6 ° south latitude. The time it takes for the image point of the moon on earth to move from latitude 28.6 ° north to latitude 28.6 ° south again at latitude 28.6 ° north is precisely the time of a sidereal month (27 days and around 7 hours). The explanation of what exactly a sidereal month is can be found under: Tides, ebb and flow, general. (LINK)

If an observer is north of this image point of the moon on the earth’s surface, he will see the small a described above when the moon is waning . However, if an observer is to the south of this pixel, he will see, as mentioned, the small a at the waxing moon.

In this respect, the statement that one always recognizes an a in the northern hemisphere when the moon is waning, in order to specify the position of an observer in relation to the image point of the moon. The same restriction naturally also applies to the southern hemisphere.


Mount Orahena
The highest mountain on the island is Mount Orahena, with a height of 2,241 m.
Other high mountains are:

  • Mt. Tekau on the island of Nuku Hiva with a height of 1,224 m.
  • Mt. Toomaru on the island of Raiatea with a height of 1,017 m.
  • Mt. Mouaputa on the island of Moorea with an altitude of 830 m.


The two major rivers in the country are:

  • Faaroa on Raitea
  • Vaiharuru on Tahaa


The country includes numerous smaller and larger lakes.
The two largest lakes:

  • Lake Vahihiria in Tahiti
  • Lake Tahinu in Tahiti

Tahiti Lakes

Tahiti Geography
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