Commonly referred to as the Pitcairn Islands or as Pitcairn is a British Overseas Territory in the south-central Pacific Ocean. These loosely grouped tiny islands are halfway between New Zealand and South America. There are four islands that comprise this last British colony in the South Pacific. These are Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands. Out of these four, Pitcairn is the only inhabited island. This small isolated volcanic island situated in the South Pacific and has roughly an area of about 2 square miles (5 square km).
Although there are quite a few people living on the island now, it is the home to descendants of the His Majesty’s Armed Vessel Bounty mutineers (and their Tahitian companions) who settled on the island in 1790. Visiting the island, however, is not for the travellers who are time-bound (it takes at least a couple of days to get here from French Polynesia). You can try quite a few cruise ships which stop here so you can get a relatively quick look around. As the Pitcairn Islands are secluded from mainstream tourism, your visit will allow you to experience only a few others have witnessed. With an unforgettable sea voyage to these islands, prepare yourself for untouched subtropical island environments, pristine waters, endemic flora, bird and marine life.
Pitcairn islands were formed by a centre of upwelling magma called the Pitcairn hotspot. The rugged main island of the group- Pitcairn is volcanic with a peak of 337 metres above sea level. The only permanently inhabited island also has (almost) no beaches, but is mainly surrounded by cliffs. It is the only island with fresh water sources. Other islands are generally flat. Henderson Island is the largest island, a coral formation and was raised 15-30 metres above sea level by volcanic activity. It features caves along its shoreline and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. Covering about 86% of the territory’s total land area, it supports a rich variety of animals in its nearly inaccessible interior.
The Oeno Island is located some 128 km northwest of Pitcairn Island. It is a small coral atoll which is often used as a private holiday site by the population of Pitcairn Island with palm trees, lovely beaches, and a sheltered lagoon. Further east, you’ll find Ducie Island which is a circular reef and island. This island is rarely visited, mainly by researchers or very specific trips.
As these islands are located just south of the Tropic of Capricorn, the climate is humid and tropical all year-round, with average temperatures ranging from 60°F (16°C) on winter nights to 85°F (30°C) on summer days. On average, August is the coldest month (19 °C) while February is the warmest (24 °C). The summers (November to March) are wet when the temperatures average 25 to 35 °C (77 to 95 °F) and humidity can exceed 95%. The roads will also be muddy during these months.
Do keep in mind that, the island is subject to infrequent typhoons during this period but mostly they are not more than heavy tropical storms, rarely causing severe damage.
Things to do
Visit Henderson Island
This Uninhabited bird-filled Island consists of a raised coral atoll and on the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its rare bird life. The usual landing spot in the island is the North Beach but remember that the visitors require a licence to visit, which is dependent on approval by the Pitcairn Island Council.
Have a look at Pitcairn Museum
Get a firsthand insight into the living history and culture of the people of Pitcairn Island – the direct descendants of Pitcairn’s first European settlers. This museum was build in 2004 and consists of Pitcairn artefacts from as far back as the ancient Polynesians.
Wreck-Diving to look at the Remains of HMS Bounty
Get an opportunity to dive into the wrecks of the HMS Bounty and to also explore Pitcairn’s deeper waters.
Swim in the St. Paul’s Pool
This is a picturesque tidal pool which is nestled among the seaside rocks on the eastern part of the main Pitcairn Island. When the weather and sea conditions allow, you should definitely try swimming and snorkelling here in this sea carved tidal pool of crystal clear waters and abundant marine life.
Visit the Grave of John Adams
Take a short walk from the Town Square to visit the Grave of Mutineer John Adams, his Wife and daughter.
This southeasternmost extension of the geological archipelago of the Tuamotus of French Polynesia is a must-see for adventurous travellers seeking truly remote horizons. So, visit the legendary Pitcairn islands and don’t forget to give all the details of your experiences below!