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Nuku Hiva is an island steeped in beauty, culture and history. It is the largest of French Polynesia's Maquesas Islands. In more recent years it has provided a jungle backdrop the American TV series Survivor.
However the island has a rich literary past. Herman Melville's experiences in the Taipivai Valley, found in the east of the island, inspired his novel Typee. In 1888, Robert Louis Stevenson made his first landfall on his Casco voyage at the northern coast village of Hatiheu.
In Nuku Hiva, downtown can only mean the island's administrative capital of Taiohae. Overlooked by 864m high Mt. Muake, this sheltered harbour town is the seat of the archbishop. Two islets protect the port and are known as Taiohae's sentries'. The town is home to many shops, restaurants and cafes.
Many visitors to this beautiful landscape find that the best way to explore it is by car. From Nuku Hiva downtown, you can arrange car hire from: Nuku Hiva, Marquisas Island, Taiohae.
Venturing east from Taiohae in your car hire, you can visit the breathtaking Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Marquesas. It embraces the heritage of the Marquesan Islands as it was constructed from various coloured stones from each of the 6 islands. Within this holy building are intricate examples of traditional religious wood carvings.
Taipivai Valley offers the perfect opportunity for a scenic drive in your car hire. Within the valley, you can take in a local artisan's wood carved memorial to the novelist and adventurer, Herman Melville.
The Haukaui Valley is a short drive inland from Taiohae and provides access to the wondrous Vaipo Waterfall. It measures a staggering 350m high, making it one of the tallest in Polynesia. In the north west of the island, you may wish to visit the region's highest peak, Mt. Tekao.