The Chatham Islands invoke visions of a remote ocean-bound wilderness and are most famous for plentiful fresh seafood and fascinating marine and wildlife.
The Chatham Islands, 800 kilometres east of the South Island, are about as far off the beaten track as you can get. With outstanding scenery and welcoming hosts, this place will leave a lasting impression on you.
The Chatham Islands were first inhabited by the Moriori people, Polynesians with similar origins to the New Zealand Maori. European sealers and whalers were the next to arrive, followed by Maori from the New Zealand mainland. Descendants of Moriori still live in the Chatham Islands; Te Kopinga, a newly built marae (centre for the community), is testimony to a resurgence of their culture.
You'll find outdoor activities aplenty here. Relax on deserted beaches, hike through wild landscapes and discover genuinely unique plant and bird life, like the Chatham Island black robin. On Te Whanga lagoon you can go swimming, kayaking and sailing, or indulge in a spot of recreational fishing. Wander along its shores and you'll likely find ancient fossils. Take a boat journey to neighbouring Pitt Island and you are visiting the first inhabited place on the planet to see the sun rise.
Chatham Islanders are relaxed and friendly. The islands operate a host system, which means visitors must book their accommodation ahead. Your host is then responsible for looking after you during your stay. Local tour guides have permission to visit many of the attractions that are on private land, so it's a good idea put yourself in their hands for at least part of your visit.