This is one of the most remote islands in the world, with only 50 inhabitants

2019-11-06 20:50
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There's isolation - then there are a few islands that are extremely remote.

Tristan da Cunha is the world's most remote island, requiring a seven-day boat trip across the Atlantic. 

But Pitcairn trumps the remote island experience only because it has so few people living on the island. 

A Pacific island with a wild history, its a 32-hour trip to the island, but not before you've taken anumber of connecting flights to travel to this forsaken corner of the world - not a cheap adventure, it appeals to those who yearn for a truly off-the-beaten-track adventure.

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Its 50 inhabitants - consisting of only four families - are the descendants of mutineers from a Royal Naval ship called the Bounty from 1790. Nine of the mutineers, alongside Tahitian men and women who travelled with them, settled on Pitcairn after setting fire to the ship. Another ship only made landfall on the island about 18 years later.

Today, it's the sole British Overseas Territory in the Pacific Ocean. Three other islands make up its territory - Henderson, Ducie and Oeno - but Pitcairn is the only inhabited one.

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What is there to see?

The islands' natural splendour is basically untouched, with picturesque beaches, thriving forests and well-protected marine life among the world's least-disturbed coral reefs - but they are sensitive to visitors.

It's also a birder's paradise with several varieties of Pacific feathered friends, and various hiking trails through pirate-like caves - you can even dive down to the infamous Bounty.

The ocean surrounding the island has also become a breeding and calving ground for whales, while fishing trips are popular off a traditional Pitcairn longboat.

You can also dive into the island's pre-mutiny history, with Polynesian petroglyphs that are all that remains of its ancient residents. Another big event is Bounty Day on 23 January, which celebrates the day the mutineers burned the Bounty and is normally attended by many private yachts sailing between Easter Island and Tahiti.

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How do you get there?

The journey to Pitcairn is an adventure in itself.

The island has no airport and is too far from any other islands and continents to fly a helicopter - so your only option is to hitch a ride on the Silver Supporter from Mangareva in French Polynesia. 

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According to their tourism website, this is how to get there:

  • You will first start your journey flying from your homeland via Auckland, Los Angeles or Tokyo to Tahiti in French Polynesia.
  • Once you arrive in Tahiti, you will likely spend a few nights in a hotel until you board the Air Tahiti Tuesday flight from Tahiti to Mangareva. You need to make sure you can book your flight before contacting their booking office to secure your berth on the Silver Supporter.
  • On arrival in Mangareva, about 480 kilometres west north-west of Pitcairn, you will take the short ferry ride from the airport to Rikitea village to board the Silver Supporter.
  • You will be met by the captain and crew of the Silver Supporter at the wharf and transferred directly to the ship to ready yourself for your final 32-hour ocean crossing to Pitcairn. 

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You have the option of four, 11 and 18 days in Pitcairn, but the price difference is very small between the options. There are no visas required from any nationality for 14 days or less - anything more and less than six months will need an entry clearance application form at least three months before your visit. 

A return ticket on the Silver Supporter costs NZ$ 5 500 (about R52 000 at R9,47/NZ$) regardless of how long you'll be staying on the island. It includes all meals, a bed and transfers to and from your accommodation in Pitcairn.

Another option is to book a cruise that will stop-over at the island for the day, including ships like the MSC Magnifica, National Geographic Orion and the Silver Explorer, but docking is dependent on weather and the discretion of the ship's captain.

You also have to be reasonably mobile to visit the island - on the ship and on the island you'll be constantly walking up and down ladders and rugged terrain with unpaved roads.

While this would be a wild adventure that would require a long period of saving, it might just be the once-in-a-lifetime trip you've been looking for.

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