Fire and rescue services
Call 15 or go to a hospital.
Call 17 or go to the nearest police station or gendarmerie station (outside of Papeete).
Exercise normal safety precautions in French Polynesia.
Exercise normal safety precautions in French Polynesia.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Strikes and industrial disputes can lead to social unrest. They may disrupt essential services, including:
Avoid demonstrations and crowds.
If there's a strike:
The rate of serious crime is low in French Polynesia.
Petty crime happens, including drink spiking.
To protect yourself from petty theft and assaults:
You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you’re connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or Bluetooth.
Social media can also be risky in destinations with social or political tensions or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
No beaches in French Polynesia are patrolled.
Obey warning signs and follow local authorities' advice.
Shark attacks have occurred, including in the lagoons.
Transport and tour operators don't always follow safety and maintenance standards. This includes adventure activities, such as scuba diving.
If you plan to do a tour or adventure activity:
If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
French Polynesia experiences severe weather, including:
The High Commission of France in French Polynesia has procedures for natural disasters.
Check the High Commission of France in French Polynesia (French) for news and weather updates.
If there's an emergency, the High Commission of France will open a hotline (French). Call (+689) 40 44 42 10 for information.
Check weather reports regularly during your stay. Be prepared to change your plans if you need to.
If there's a natural disaster:
Cyclone season is from May to September. However, tropical storms and cyclones may occur at any time of year.
Severe weather can bring:
The direction and strength of tropical cyclones can change with little warning.
If there's a cyclone or severe tropical storm:
French Polynesia has a cyclone alert system with 6 levels:
If a cyclone is approaching:
Once the Safeguard Phase is announced:
Tsunamis may occur, so stay alert for warnings.
A tsunami can arrive within minutes of a tremor or earthquake. Get updates from the U.S. Tsunami Warning System.
French Polynesia has 2 types of evacuation:
If you're near the coast, move immediately to high ground if advised by local authorities or if you:
Don't wait for official warnings such as alarms or sirens.
Once on high ground, monitor local media.
To prepare yourself for earthquakes and tsunamis, you can:
Earthquakes and tremors can happen in French Polynesia.
Ask your host or hotel about what to do if there's an earthquake.
To protect yourself during an earthquake:
After an earthquake:
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave.
Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation and adequate coverage for any pre-existing conditions. The Australian Government won’t pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
If you have immediate concerns for your welfare, or the welfare of someone you know, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be illegal or controlled substances, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in French Polynesia. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
Dengue-type epidemics are common in French Polynesia, including dengue type 2 epidemics.
Outbreaks of other insect-borne diseases can also happen, mostly in warmer and wetter months.
If you're pregnant, the Australian Department of Health recommends you:
To protect yourself from illness:
Get medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pains, a rash or a bad headache.
To protect yourself against leptospirosis:
You're also at risk of waterborne, foodborne, parasitic and other infectious diseases, including:
Tap water in Papeete is usually safe to drink.
To protect yourself from illness:
Get medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, a rash, diarrhoea or a severe headache.
If you travel outside of Papeete:
The standard of facilities in Papeete is very high. However, facilities in outlying areas and remote islands are basic.
Medical treatment is expensive.
The standard of rescue and emergency services is high. However, the travel time between Papeete and the outer islands may delay emergency responses.
You may need to be evacuated if you become seriously ill or injured. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
There is a decompression facility at the Central Hospital of French Polynesia in Papeete. It can take hours to reach from popular dive sites on other islands.
Make sure your insurance covers medical evacuation and your planned activities.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France. A mix of French and local laws apply.
Penalties for drug offences, even small amounts, include fines and imprisonment.
By law, you must always carry photo ID.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you’re overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
French Polynesia recognises dual nationals.
Dress and behaviour standards are conservative outside of Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and other tourist areas.
Take care not to offend, especially outside tourist resorts.
Visits to certain sacred sites (marae) may require prior authorisation. Check with local authorities before visiting any natural or historical site.
Under French law, same-sex marriage is legal. However, outside of the main tourist islands of Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, you may encounter more conservative attitudes.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence, you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering.
Visa-free travel for short stays.
You may not need a tourist visa for visits less than 3 months. However, you may need to show proof of the following:
In other situations, you may need a visa.
French Polynesia is an overseas territory of France.
Travellers flying to French Polynesia with a stopover or transit in the United States, such as from Europe, must comply with the entry requirements of the US authorities (see the Smartraveller advice for the United States of America).
Check with your airline or travel agent for the most up-to-date information on entry and exit regulations that apply to you prior to planning your trip.
Measures may change at short notice.
Border Measures French Polynesia by Sea
Maritime entry points in French Polynesia are:
For better management of maritime stopovers in French Polynesia, recreational vessels should provide the Polynesian Department of Maritime Affairs (email@example.com) with the following information:
You should contact the Maritime Affairs Directorate of French Polynesia (DPAM) and the French State Department of Maritime Affairs in French Polynesia (SAM) for advice on processes applicable to your specific circumstances.
You should check with the cruise operator and local authorities on additional requirements before booking a ticket, boarding and after boarding.
Staying in French Polynesia
If you're staying in French Polynesia:
Some goods aren't allowed in French Polynesia. Other goods require specific approvals or other formalities.
Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you’re just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. You may receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport’s expiry date before you travel. If you’re not sure it’ll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can’t guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the nearest embassy, high commission or consulate of your destination before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers.
The local currency is the Pacific Franc (XPF — Franc Pacifique).
You can only change Australian dollars at the international airport during hours coinciding with the arrival of international flights.
You may not be able to use credit cards or find ATMs:
Industrial and political disputes as well as strikes can cause disruptions to essential services including transport. Monitor developments and plan as required.
To learn more about strikes and civil disputes see 'Safety'
You can drive in French Polynesia on a valid Australian driver's licence for up to one year after arrival.
Take care driving, particularly at night. Many roads are narrow and unpaved.
If you plan to drive:
Make sure your insurance policy covers you before riding a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
You can hail a taxi on the street in Papeete.
You can also find a taxi at the Faa'a international airport and in Papeete at the:
Drivers may charge for luggage.
Taxis accept payment in cash only (no card facilities available).
Many outer islands don't have taxis.
Major centres have a limited network of minibuses (Le Truck).
Ferries (navettes) run between Tahiti and smaller islands.
Some international cruise liners visit French Polynesia.
Medical facilities on cruise ships may not meet Australian standards.
Treatment may also cost more.
Many insurance companies have refused to pay for medical evacuations to hospitals in French Polynesia. These have been mostly claims by cruise passengers with existing conditions.
If you plan to go on a cruise:
DFAT doesn’t provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check French Polynesia's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Call 15 or go to a hospital.
Call 17 or go to the nearest police station (in Papeete) or gendarmerie station (outside of Papeete).
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can’t do to help you overseas.
For consular assistance, please contact the Australian Consulate-General in Papeete by phone at +68940 57 69 00 during business hours or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The consular assistance mailbox of the Australian Consulate-General in Papeete (email@example.com) is monitored regularly during our business hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm), except public holidays observed by the Australian Consulate-General in Papeete. The consular telephone line in Papeete (+689 40 57 69 00) is staffed during our office hours Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm. Outside of our office hours and if you require urgent consular assistance, please call the 24/7 Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra at +61 2 6261 3305.
The Australian Consulate-General in Papeete can't notarise documents. For notarial services, consider checking with the relevant Australian authorities whether there are local options such as a foreign citizen who holds a particular professional title or occupation (e.g. notary public lawyer, police officers, etc.) who may be accepted as a witness.
Level 2, CCISM Building
41 rue du Docteur Cassiau
Phone: +689 40 57 69 00
Consular Assistance Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: L’Australie en Polynésie Française
Check the Consulate-General's website for further information, including details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't reach the Australian Consulate-General in Papeete, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.