There are over 10,000 Polynesian islands within the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The area is usually outlined because the Polynesian Triangle, which stretches from Hawaii within the north to Easter Island within the east and New Zealand within the west.
The principle teams of Polynesian islands embody the Cook dinner Islands, French Polynesia, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and varied others.
Along with their geographical location, these islands are tied collectively by their related languages, cultures, and perception programs.
All indigenous Polynesians can hint their prehistoric roots to the Malay Archipelago, migrating by sea from Taiwan to the islands of Southeast Asia someday between 3000 and 1000 BCE.
As pictured in Disney’s hit movie Moana, their data of the ocean and talent to navigate utilizing solely the place of the celebs at evening is the stuff of legend.
In fact, every of those islands provides its personal distinctive pleasures in the present day.
From historic archaeological relics and historic artifacts from the colonial period to wealthy conventional cultures and gorgeous pure landscapes full of uncommon flora/fauna, the Polynesian islands are the uncommon dream vacation spot that really lives as much as all of the hyperbole.
Right here’s our information to the highest 10 Polynesian islands within the Polynesian Triangle each traveler ought to have on their bucket record:
High Polynesian Islands to Go to within the Polynesian Triangle Information
- Apataki (Tuamotu Islands)
- Atiu (Cook dinner Islands)
- Bora Bora (Tahiti)
- Easter Island
- Henderson (Pitcairns)
- Niue (Tonga)
- Nuku Hiva (Marquesas)
- Taveuni (Fiji)
1. Apataki (Tuamotu Islands)
This coral atoll is likely one of the Palliser Islands, which is a sub-group of the sparsely populated Tuamotu archipelago (at 328 sq. miles, it’s the world’s largest chain of atolls).
Situated 230 miles northeast of the island of Tahiti, Apataki is tiny, with simply eight sq. miles of land and round 350 residents. It has an airport, however no motels or tourism trade to talk of.
What makes it unbelievable for the few small ship cruise passengers who go to the atoll is the remarkably pristine lagoon contained in the atoll, which is accessible solely by two slim passes.
The array of coral and marine life inside this protected marine ecosystem is out of this world, making Apataki a little-known gem for snorkelers and accountable Scuba divers.
READ MORE: 20 Finest Issues to do in Kauai, Hawaii
2. Atiu (Cook dinner Islands)
A part of the Cook dinner Islands archipelago, this volcanic island’s nickname– Enuamanu, or “land of the birds”– clues you into one in all its hottest vacationer actions.
Avid avian lovers can spot lovely Polynesian birds such because the Cook dinner Island Fruit Dove, Kukl’s Lorikeet, and Rarotonga Monarch.
However there are many different choices as properly, together with climbing to discover pure caves sculpted by the ocean, visiting a espresso plantation (the island produces round 10,000 kilos of roasted beans a 12 months), and diving/snorkeling.
For a particular deal with, go to a Tumu Nu: This ceremonial celebration dates again to the colonial period of prohibition, and includes consuming, socializing, and the occasional sing-along.
3. Bora Bora (Tahiti in French Polynesia)
This 11 sq. mile island situated 143 miles northwest of Papeete (the capital of French Polynesia) is the epitome of South Pacific luxurious.
Its idyllic over-water bungalows are surrounded by gorgeous pure magnificence, from the enduring summits of Mount Pahia and Mount Oetmanu to the good blue hues of the lagoon inside its barrier reef.
The island’s inside is lush tropical forest, aromatic with the scent of frangipani and dotted with remnants of the US Army provide base constructed right here throughout World Struggle II.
4. Easter Island
One of many world’s most distant islands, this UNESCO World Heritage Web site in southeastern Polynesia is 1,289 miles from the closest inhabited island (Pitcairn) and a couple of,182 miles from the mainland (Chile).
Also called Rapa Nui, for the island’s native inhabitants, Easter Island is most well-known for its 887 monumental stone statues, referred to as moai.
Carved in a method paying homage to Peru’s Inca civilization, these mysterious figures loom massive over the panorama– significantly at Ahu Tongariki, the most important ceremonial web site in Polynesia.
However they’re hardly the island’s solely attraction: From the huge caldera of Rano Kau to the “chicken males” petroglyphs of Orongo village, there are many causes Easter Island needs to be on each Polynesian traveler’s bucket record.
A part of the French-owned Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands, Futuna and neighboring Alofi Island (which is essentially uninhabited) comprise the Hoorn Islands.
Futuna, which measures 50 sq. miles and is dwelling to round 5,000 individuals, traces its cultural roots to Samoa and has the same language.
The island’s panorama is outlined by gorgeous coastal seashores and the 1,719-foot peak of volcanic Mt. Puke within the heart.
The island’s different foremost sights embody the frilly Church of Pierre Chanel, whose stepped tower was inbuilt memorial of Polynesia’s first/solely Catholic saint, and birdwatching for species reminiscent of Pink-footed Boobies, White-collared Kingfishers, and Blue-crowned Lorikeets.
6. Henderson (Pitcairns)
Why would an uninhabited island that measures simply 14.4 sq. miles be on an inventory of the greatest unique islands to go to in Polynesia?
For a similar motive Henderson grew to become a UNESCO World Heritage Web site in 1988: It’s one of many final two coral atolls on this planet whose ecosystems stay nearly undisturbed by human contact.
Situated 120 miles northeast of Pitcairn Island, Henderson is surrounded by sheer limestone cliffs pockmarked with dramatic blowholes and caves.
It boasts a powerful stage of biodiversity for such a small, distant island: 10 of its flowering crops, all 4 of its land birds, and a couple of third of its bugs and gastropods are endemic.
Hold your eyes peeled for the colourful Henderson Fruit Dove, Henderson Island Crake, and Stephen’s Lorikeet.
7. Niue (Tonga)
Referred to as the “Rock of Polynesia,” this 100 sq. mile island is dwelling to round 1,600 residents. All are thought of residents of New Zealand, and round 90% of the Niuean individuals stay in NZ.
Niue is likely one of the world’s largest raised coral atolls, with dramatic terrain made up of steep limestone cliffs and a central plateau rising 200 ft above sea stage.
The ovular island is dwelling to in depth sea cave programs, and climbing the pathway of coral to succeed in them supplies gorgeous views of the good blue waters and the coral reef system that almost encompass Niue.
Snorkeling and diving is the most well-liked pastime right here (search for the innocent Katuali, a flat-tailed sea snake), however avid birders also can hike searching for Banded Rails, Masked Lapwings, and Blue-crowned Lorikeet.
8. Nuku Hiva (Marquesas in French Polynesia)
The second largest island in French Polynesia after Tahiti, this Marquesan hotspot was initially made well-known by Herman Melville’s 1846 ebook, Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life.
It’s clearly modified since then, however it’s nonetheless massive (131 sq. miles) and sparsely populated (2,660 residents).
The panorama is dramatic, with lovely seashores, shimmering bays, jagged basalt cliffs, dynamic waterfalls, and plush inexperienced valleys unspoiled by human growth.
There are various archaeological websites for historical past buffs, together with the sacred statues often called tiki, open-air gathering locations (tohua), and historic rock-pile ruins of dwelling foundations (referred to as pae pae).
Mountaineering, horseback using, and snorkeling/Scuba diving are all standard actions as properly.
9. Pitcairn Island
One among 4 volcanic islands (that are collectively often called the Pitcairn Islands) that type the final British Abroad Territory within the Pacific, 2.8-square-mile Pitcairn is greatest often called the hideout of the HMS Bounty mutineers.
After the crew of the well-known Royal Navy vessel set Captain Bligh and his loyalists adrift in 1790, they set fireplace to the ship.
9 mutineers and 18 Tahitians settled on Pitcairn, and the 50 welcoming inhabitants of Adamstown in the present day are all their direct descendants.
Along with historic relics from the Bounty, different Pitcairn sights embody Vital Hen Areas that shield the endangered Pitcairn Reed Warbler and an enormous Marine Reserve that draws migrating Humpback Whales.
10. Taveuni (Fiji)
There’s appreciable debate over whether or not Fiji’s 330+ islands are a part of Melanesia, Polynesia, or each.
However the archipelago’s third-largest island– a 168-square-mile protect volcano that rises 4,072 ft out of the Pacific– makes an ideal gateway to exploring the South Pacific.
With a inhabitants of round 9,000, Taveuni has suffered much less growth than different components of Fiji: Its considerable flora led to the nickname “the Backyard Island.”
From climbing to waterfalls in Bouma Nationwide Park and birdwatching within the lush forests to exploring conventional Fijian tradition, there’s lots to do on land.
However don’t miss an opportunity to snorkel or Scuba dive to see the realm’s spectacular array of marine life. –by Bret Love