Have you ever wanted to get way, way – and perhaps even one extra ‘way’ – off the beaten path? The vast Pacific ocean presents no shortage of opportunities for those seeking isolation. If you don’t know your aft from your starboard, these five island nations are about as far as you can go – no sailboat required.
Forget palm-fringed beaches – there aren’t any on Niue. Instead, strap on a mask and explore underwater landscapes including tunnels, an under-island cave system, reefs frequented by sea turtles and tangles of sea snakes at Snake Gully. Swim with spinner dolphins year-round or with humpback whales from May to October.
On land, the island boasts an extensive and stunning cave system, trails though tropical forests to hilltops or secluded reefs, and some rugged, jungle mountain bike riding.
Getting there: Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.com) flights currently depart once a week from Auckland and an additional weekly flight is planned starting in April 2013. You’ll want to rent a car to get around.
Stay: From the recently refurbished hilltop Matavai Resort to several smaller ‘motels’ (which are mostly self-contained cottages in magnificent settings) and guesthouses, there’s a lodging option for every budget.
Yarrr. If you’ve dreamed of a pirate adventure, Pitcairn Island, the hideout of the famous Bounty mutineers and now the last British South Pacific colony, is for you. Today the island’s population hovers around 55 and nearly everyone can trace their ancestry to one of the original mutineers.
Pitcairn’s windswept, 4.5 square kilometer surface is steep and hilly and there is only one beach on the island, Down Rope, that’s grey sand and fronted by rocky pools. There’s a sweeping sea view from almost everywhere, but the adventure is more about the people you meet and their history. Brenda Christian may take you fishing, Jay and Carol Warren are happy to teach folks about the local flora and more of the Christian family run Christian’s Cafe, the island’s only restaurant and the place to be on Friday nights.
Read More: lonelyplanet.com