30 people found this article useful

Chatham Islands – Guide for Backpackers

http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/20/20/75/202075dcc4f3360c501c159470dab483.jpg

Get ridiculously far off the beaten track!

New Zealand’s 4th populated island is about 788km away from the North Island! The only way to get there is by bottlenose dolphin. We jest, of course.

The approximately 600 people who live there were mostly born on the island. The rest of the population are seals, the 2 island icons: Chatham Island taiko, the Buff Weka and a whole lot of native birds.

If you make it to this island, you’ll be one of the few and you’ll deserve a drink.

Things you can’t miss in the Chatham Islands

  • Stay with a host to give you a local’s perspective of this isolated island.
  • See the unusual Basalt Columns!
  • Walk to the ancient Moriori tree carvings.
Working Holiday Insurance

http://docnz.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/taiko-unbanded.jpg

Unique hospitality experience!

Staying at the Chathams means you are instantly mixing with the locals, as the island operates a ‘host’ system. You book accommodation ahead so that your accommodation host will pick you up from the airport (as there is no public transport) and look after you for your stay.

In addition, a lot of attractions are on private land so you have no choice than to be guided by a host to get to the sights.

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_TNyHypHB9Ko/SzwGbPj4fJI/AAAAAAAAB5U/wUUf9e5n9No/s1600-h/177_basalt_columns2.JPG

The sights

The Chatham Islands were not 1st inhabited by the Maori but the Moriori. The Moriori has similiar polynesion origins like the Maori. The Maori did eventually follow and a marae (Maori meeting house), Te Kopinga, recognises the 1st settlers on the Chatham Islands.

The bizarre Basalt Columns are lava flows that are perfectly-shaped hexagonal prisms fitted together. They were formed around 80 – 85 million years ago.

Get a token photo of the Maunganui Stone Cottage, built by a couple of Moravian Missionaries between 1866 and 1868.

A boat ride over to Pitt Island will bring you to the first inhabited place in the world to see the sunrise! That’s right, it isn’t the North Island’s East Cape that sees the sunrise 1st (that’s just how far people are willing to travel).

http://www.teara.govt.nz/files/37790-dom.jpg

The Walks

Take long walks on the beach at Waitangi Bay past seals, Chatham Island oystercatchers, and giant petrels. Hike over dunes and along a lagoon on the Ocean Mail Scenic Reserve. Then, if you have time after that, walk among the islands’ intriguing history on the J.M. Barker (Hapupu) National Historic Reserve. Here, you can see the rare Moriori tree carvings. Lastly, nothing is complete in New Zealand without a bush walk. The Chatham Islands has the 1 hour Nikau Bush Walk.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_UTtVlwZDbz0/TMvSifdxFDI/AAAAAAAACJY/JDUBnVN6X7Q/s1600/20050608+CIB+NZCH+Air+Chathams+Bluebus+.jpg

How to get there

Not by kayak or dolphin, but 4-6 times a week flights land in from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The flight is still classed as a domestic flight with Air Chathams. It is an easy 90 minute flight on Convair 580. However, the flights are pretty hefty from NZ$786 to NZ$1310 for a return.

Alternatively, take a 2 day voyage from Napier on a shipping container that leaves every 10-12 days…

If you have more time in the Chatham Islands…

  • Take a “flora tour” to see the best of the islands wildlife.
  • Buy some souvenirs or gifts for all your friends back on New Zealand’s mainland.
  • Mix with the locals at the only bar: Hotel Chathams Public Bar. Catchy name…
  • Have some seafood! 60% of the islands’ income comes from its fishing industry, so of course they have a couple of seafood restaurants.
New Zealand's Biggest Gap Year on YouTube
Was this article useful? Useful Useless

Where to stay in The Chatham Islands?

Awkwardly enough, there are no backpacker hostels on the Chatham Islands. There are a selection of farmstays, homestays, B&Bs, 2 hotels, 2 motels, and rural accommodation.

HiFX - Money Transfer

Most Popular Videos

Video Thumbnail
Video Thumbnail
Video Thumbnail
Tourism NZ
North Island

5 Free Natural Hot Pools in Rotorua

Rotorua’s free natural hot springs. The intense geothermal activity in Rotorua means [...]

http://imgur.com/YgEMnQj
Holidays

What is Waitangi Day?

Waitangi Day: a historical New Zealand public holiday. On 6-February every year, [...]

Like us on Facebook
Hot on Backpacker Guide
North Island
BackpackerGuide.NZ

11 Free or Cheap Things to do in Rotorua

Free or cheap activities in Rotorua. How can a place be so […]

South Island Regions
Tourism NZ

Stewart Island – Guide for Backpackers

Backpacking on Stewart Island. What? New Zealand has a third island? Stewart […]

North Island Regions
http://www.acacia.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Sand-Boarding.jpg

Northland – Guide for Backpackers

The place where Sand gets everywhere! “The Winterless North”, long stretching sandy […]

We're on youtube!
Join us on YouTube!

This year we spend 365 DAYS tackling 365 ACTIVITIES all across New Zealand and posting new videos every day!

Watch the adventure!