Tokelau, Polynesian for "north wind", is one of the most difficult destinations in the world to reach. But there are no cars, no star hotels and hardly any tourists here - only absolute silence, seclusion and breathtaking nature.

Tokelau is a tiny group of islands in the South Pacific with a total area of only 12km². It consists of the three larger atolls Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo and a number of small, uninhabited islets. Tokelau is politically dependent on New Zealand.


Tokelau, Polynesian for "north wind", is one of the most difficult destinations in the world to reach - even more difficult than Antarctica. The journey is made from Apia in Samoa on board cargo ships that call at Tokelau twice a month. Passengers share the space on the freighter with mail, food, furniture, technical equipment and whatever else is needed but cannot be produced on a remote island in the South Pacific.

Tip: By the way, locals are preferred to tourists when it comes to the allocation of seats, so it is advisable to book the freighter in advance if possible. A place under the open sky is much cheaper than a cabin. Furthermore, there is hardly any food on the 26-hour trip apart from mineral water and white bread.

Tokelau has no harbour, large ships cannot anchor on the coasts of the atolls, passengers are manoeuvred ashore in small boats through the rough sea and treacherous reefs. If the swell does not permit going ashore at the moment, they wait patiently. Accordingly, despite its absolutely paradisiacal location, Tokelau is not a holiday destination; there are virtually no tourists on Tokelau.

Zero infrastructure on Tokelau

Tokelau also offers no attractions or sights such as museums, buildings worth seeing or historical monuments, not even hotels with pools or star restaurants. Nor is there a tourist information centre with 24-hour service on Tokelau. There are no cars on Tokelau, no prison and no television. Telephones have been available since the 1990s.

In a nutshell: Apart from a small hotel on Nukunonu, Tokelau has no tourist infrastructure whatsoever and is pretty much the most secluded and unusual spot on earth. Once visitors have made the arduous and expensive journey, they receive a ticket to a completely different world. The three atolls offer absolutely untouched, breathtaking nature, a silence that most holidaymakers can hardly stand and a solitude that is probably rarely found on our planet in this perfection. If you want a Robinson Crusoe experience, the uninhabited islets of Tokelau are the place to be. The tourist attractions on Tokelau are hammocks under palm trees, sunbathing on white sandy beaches, snorkelling in crystal clear water and lonely nights under a breathtaking starry sky.

Life in the villages of Tokelau could not be more pristine. Polynesian culture is very important here, and it was also the reason why the people of Tokelau decided against an international airport and thus a connection to the rest of the world. They wanted to preserve their original culture and tradition, which they have done very well.

For some years now, Tokelauans have been living in the certainty that the greenhouse effect will eventually sink their secluded paradise into the sea. This is one of the reasons why most Tokelauans already live outside their home island, many of them in New Zealand and Australia.

Further links:


Official website of the Government of Tokelau