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Tubuai: the first stop of the mutineers of the Bounty

Tubuai is an island that measures 45 sq km and has about two thousand inhabitants. This island represents the administrative center of the archipelago of the Austral islands. The island is located 640 km south of Tahiti, between the islands of Rurutu, which is located to the north-west, and Raivavae, located south-east of Tubuai. The most important village is that of Mataura located in the center of the northern part of the coast of the island in front of the two passes on the lagoon. Other villages are those of Taahuaia (to the east), Tamatoa and Mahu (to the south), Tepu and Anua (to the west).

The island is volcanic in nature and is characterized by two volcanic hills that form a massif that culminates in the 422 meters high of Mount Taita, located in the central-eastern part of the island. Tubuai is oval in shape and is surrounded by a coral reef with some small motus (sandy islands). The most important are the Motu Rautaro, the Motu Toena, the Motu Tapapa Tavae, the Motu Motihia and the Motu Iriroa. All these islets are located in the eastern part of the coral reef that surrounds the island.

The island is crossed by an internal road that connects the northern and southern coast between the villages of Mataura and Mahu. Along the coast there is the coastal road that completes the entire circumnavigation of the island.


Captain James Cook was the first European to discover Tubuai in 1777. The mutineers of the Bounty visited Tubuai in 1789 and in July 1789 built a small fortification, which they named Fort George in honor of the King of England, near the current village of Taahuaia, located along the northeastern coast. In September 1789 the mutineers were forced to abandon the fort and the island of Tubuai following a clash with the natives. The mutineers fleeing Tubuai went first to Tahiti and then to the island of Pitcairn where they settled permanently.


Tubuai is connected by regular flights of Air Tahiti with Tahiti, Raivavae, Rurutu, and Rimatara, the airport is located along the coast in the northwestern part of the island.

The climate of the Austral islands.

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