Since the earliest days of human history, we’ve always wanted to explore. To go that one step further, and see things no-one else has. In the 21st century, that’s a much harder task, but you can at least see things that only a handful ever have. In our previous entries in this series, we covered places that were either extremely cold or incredibly high up, with all of our suggestions certainly being outside of the norm for a holiday. This time, we’ll be tackling the most remote islands on Earth – places that are not only hard to reach and rare to see, but are also as far away as possible from anywhere that you or anyone you know will have ever set foot upon before.

Tristan da Cunha

Tristan de Cunha Tristan de Cunha

So, let’s start with the more challenging option: Tristan da Cunha. This island in the south Atlantic is 2,434 km (1,512 miles) from the next nearest inhabited island, Saint Helena, which is itself also remote and hard to reach. The closest mainland is South Africa, which is a staggering 2,816 km (1,750 miles) across the ocean, making Tristan da Cunha the most remote island on the planet. It’s also notably quite small, with its circular coastline only measuring 34 km (21 miles) in total. The number of permanent residents here sits at around 262, all of whom are farmers, and most of which are uninterested in leaving. They all live in the only town on the island, Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, which is colloquially referred to by the islanders as “The Settlement”, which sits at the bottom of Queen Mary’s Peak, a 6,765-foot tall volcano. By virtue of being on this island, the café, pub and school in this town the most remote café, pub and school in the world. Despite being part of the British Overseas Territories, Tristan da Cunha is largely self-sufficient, and runs itself by its own set of rules. The inhabitants all share equal ownership of the island, and no-one can buy into it without unanimous acceptance from the residents. The systems they have in place for work and commerce mean that no individual or family in the Settlement can become more prosperous or wealthy than any of the others, maintaining their laid-back status quo. [Tristan da Cunha Tristan da Cunha

The island was discovered in 1506, but was not inhabited until 1810, shortly before it was annexed by the UK in 1816. Originally, it was used fairly frequently for military advantages and as a stop-gap between other locations, but Tristan da Cunha quickly went back to being very isolated with the advent of steam ships. The level of remoteness hit its peak in the early 20th century – between the years of 1909 and 1919, not a single person visited the island. The first ship to arrive in a decade was there to inform the islanders the outcome of World War I. The main draw to Tristan da Cunha is the wildlife. Thirteen species of breeding seabirds can be commonly found here, such as the northern rockhopper penguins and Atlantic yellow-nosed albatrosses. An array of whales and dolphins can also be seen from the island with increasing frequency. The opportunity to see this wildlife uninterrupted is a blessing for the scarce tourism on the island. There’s no airport, and the only ships that visit regularly are fishing vessels and supply ships. But recently, the wildlife angle has encouraged Oceanwide Expeditions to include Tristan da Cunha on their itinerary for certain journeys, allowing tourists to finally have a reasonable means of accessing the island. The window of time in which you can go for yourself is still very narrow, however, and to some it would be prohibitively expensive. They also warn that there is no guarantee that they will be able to make a landing, as restrictive weather conditions have caused 35% of attempt to fail. All in all, with a surprisingly rich history, outstanding natural beauty and an all-hands-on-deck approach that the residents provide to any visitors, Tristan da Cunha would truly be a once in a lifetime experience. If you can ever find the means to get there, and are lucky enough to get to step foot on the land itself, it would surely go down as one of your greatest adventures.

Easter Island

Easter Island Easter Island

This one is a little better known to most. Easter Island is the southeasternmost Polynesian island, and has been a special territory of Chile since 2007. Originally called Rapa Nui by its inhabitants, and otherwise referred to as Te Pito te Henua (“Navel of the World”), this tiny island in the Pacific is recognisable worldwide thanks to the moai statues that adorn its landscape. Over 900 of the monolithic large-headed moai statues existed on the island, and were created sometime between 1250 and 1500 AD. They are amongst some of the most impressive achievements of any small island society, showing great ingenuity in the transportation and erection process, as some weigh over 80 tons. Back then, the population of the island sat at around 15,000, but the eventual extinction of vital natural resources dropped the population significantly to about 2,000-3,000 by the time seafaring Europeans arrived in 1722. It was shortly after this time that the moai all toppled, possibly due to severe earthquakes, leaving the Rapa Nui people despondent at their loss of ancestral heritage. Despite this unfortunate time in the island’s history, many moai have since been extensively restored by archaeologists, and can now be seen proudly standing where they belong in the protected Rapa Nui National Park.Easter Island Easter Island

Despite being better known to tourists because of its iconography, Easter Island is still a close second in terms of remoteness. The nearest inhabited island is Pitcairn Island, which is 2,075 kilometres (1,289 miles) away and only has a meagre population of around 50 people. The distance from the nearest continental mainland, central Chile, is 3,512 kilometres (2,182 miles). Against incredible odds, a double-hull canoe of Polynesian explorers still managed to make it all the way out here 1,200 years ago, across the vast expanse of the Pacific. For millions of years before that, the island belonged to just the birds and dragonflies, and the wildlife still thrives here to this day, making it a great spot for nature lovers. Gigantic volcanic cones at each point of the island and the numerous other-worldly caves add the perfect finishing touches, showing the natural landscape at its most raw state. For anyone who wants more than to hike and admire the sights however, there’s pristine white beaches to laze on, and plenty of opportunities for surfing, scuba diving and horseback riding. Traditional dances and historical tours complete the package for anyone who likes to keep busy. Unlike Tristan da Cunha, there’s actually a small airport on Easter Island, with flights available from both Chile and Tahiti. There’s also far more in the way of accommodation, with full-fledged hotels, as well as cabanas for larger groups.Easter Island Easter Island

Easter Island is a great option for budding explorers of far-off lands, and is certainly worth your time considering the relative ease of visiting. The Polynesian islands in general are great for those wanting to spread their wings further afield to see remote lands – to find out more, have a look at our previous blog post all about the islands in this region. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there, and boldly go where few have gone before!

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