6 Fantasy Island Escapes for Now

6 Fantasy Island Escapes for Now: With some much challenging news, a great change of pace is to “travel” in your mind to a fantasy island.

6 Fantasy Island Escapes for Now: Pacific Ocean:

Rarotonga, Cook Islands (New Zealand), Oceania:

Rarotonga and neighboring Aitutaki are two of my personal favorities. I had the trip of a lifetime for 17 days in June. One nice dividend in traveling to Rarotonga is that it is easy to start with a day trip in New Zealand on the way, continue to the Cook Islands and then finish up in Fiji or New Zealand.  The latter North Island with a client similar to California offered lots of adventure skiing on an active volcano and the next day white water rafting.

Rarotonga has miles of beaches, including stretches for kayaking, horseback riding, local authentic cuisine, tropical sunrises and sunsets and day trips to Aitutaki and excursions via catamaran/other small boats to uninhabited atolls.

Easiest access appears to be flying from Australia or New Zealand. Prepare for a long flight from the US. I flew from Washington, DC to LA with a few hours layover in Hawaii. After arriving in Auckland, New Zealand and spending the day sightseeing, that night I boarded a jet to fly 3 hours back East to landin Rarotonga.

For more information, click here.

Thomas Griggs, Unsplash

Easter Island, Oceania:

About 900 miles at sea, unlike so many “fantasy islands”, Easter Island is not an archipelago but a single island. A territory of  Chile, it is known world-wide for its archaeologial monuments.  The 900 statues known as “moai” are the most famous of Easter Island’s tourist sights.  With Hanga Roa as its main town and population center, there are multiple places to explore. Active sports range from diving and surfing and water sports in general. Beyond the miles of beaches, there are opportunities for biking and horse back riding to Rano Kau Volcano, one of many on the island.  Caves dot the island and have been active sites for adventure travelers to explore. The multiple caves are largely made up of lava tubes resulting from the prior volcanic eruptions. Ana Kai Tangata  is known for its ceiling paintings of local bird species.

The island is made even more exotic by its isolated nature. However, as one prior visitor pointed out it would not be an ideal spot in case of an accident or serious illness.

For more information, click here.  http://www.easterislandtourism.com/

6 Fantasy Island Escapes for Now: Indian Ocean:

Gary Bell

Christmas Island:

Christmas Island is one of three islands which are Australian territories. Christmas Island is very different than our other featured “fantasy islands”. To start, it is based in the Indian Ocean not the Pacific and is about 200 miles south of the Indonesian island of Java and almost 900 miles northwest of Australia. With a population of between 1,400-1800 residents, their main town is quaintly named Flying Fish Cove.

The island has a lengthy history. It was first spotted by explorers in 1615  and was given its name on Cristmas Day 1643.  During World War II, the island was occupied by the Japanese.  In 1958, Christmas Island became a territory of Australia.

Besides rainforests as well as a national park for trekking and multiple species to view and photograph, there is an array of water sports from strolling the beaches, snorkelling and diving.  For reluctant trekkers, the good news is that there are said to be no poisonous snakes or dangerous animals! Endangered species include the  Christmas Island blind snake, the flying fox and the shrew.

6 Fantasy Island Escapes for Now: From the Pacific to the Arctic!

Pitcairn Islands Tourism

Pitcairn, Oceania:

These islands are the subject of legends dating back to HMAV Bounty and the fabled mutiny. The islands are now populated by descendants of  the HMAV Bounty mutineers and their Polynesian partners dating back to 1790.  Pitcairn Island is the most famous but is also surrounded by three other islands: Henderson, Ducie and Oeno.  In addition to the third largest marine reserve, in the world, Henderson Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The small islands of Oeno and Ducie are less often on tourists’ itineraries.

Pitcairn Islands are a real contender with Easter Island for one of the most remote places on earth. Just getting there can be an adventure.  As part of  the sole UK Pacific Ocean Overseas Territory, they only have 50 residents! In the virtual center of the Pacific Ocean, they are approximately 1,300 miles from both Tahiti and Easter Island  and about 3,100 miles from South America and New Zealand.

For more informatioon, click here.

Vince Gx, Unsplash

Svalbard, set in the Arctic Circle, is comprised of a series of small islands. n archipelago and is the last inhabited location in Norway before the North Pole.

Very different from the other “fantasy islands”, the archipelago that makes up Svalbard is still exotic while not at all a palm-fringed tropical paradise. Svalbard is well-known as one of the northernmost inhabited outposts in the world about halfway between Norway and the North Pole. It provides a good vantage point for both the “northern lights” and the “midnight sun”.  In addition to hardy tourists, it is mainly visited by working fishing boats. Spitsbergen is the largest island and the only one with permanent residents.  With over 2,000 inhabitants, it is said to have “more polar bears than people”!  It is also home to Arctic foxes, reindeer and glaciers.

Longyearbyen is the chief town.  The islands are also known for mining towns.    For more information, see VisitNorway.com. Other popular sites: the bird sanctuary, local brewery and what is claimed to be the northernmost sushi restaurant.  Despite its far north location, Svalbard has a fairly mild climate with a range of average temperatures from 6.8°F in winter to 42.8°F in summer.

The easiest way to get there is a flight from Norway.

New Caledonia Tourism

New Caledonia, Oceania:

Having had a neighbor in Washington, DC that came from New Caledonia, I had already been fascinated by its remote location in the southwest Pacific Ocean.  It is south of Vanuatu and about 750 miles from Australia’s East Coast. To give it some geographic context: It is north of New Zealand but twice as cloes to Antartica than it is to South America.  Governed under a special accord with France (12,000 miles away!), New Caledonia is comprised of several islands with its capital at Nouméa, a city of 100,000. Ideal for hiking, diving, all water sports and beachcombing, it also has an array of activities and sights from museum and galleries to an active nightlife and dining.  Highlights of surviving colonial architecture include the old Nouméa City Hall the Maison Célières and Château Hagen. To learn more about local Kanak culture, the Tjibaou Cultural Center. Kanaks are the islands’ original Melanesian inhabitants and currently represent about 39% of New Caledonia’s population.

Fashionistas can prowl through the Port Moselle Market, the largest in New Caledonia to look for bargains.

Beyond Nouméa, there are four other regions to explore. First are the 5 “Loyalty Islands with the lead competitors as a true paradise are Ouvéa and the Isle of Pine, the latter discovered by Cook in the 18thcentury. The remaining three are: West Coast with its UNESCO World Heritage lagoon and teeming with cattle, the lush East Coast has much of the authentic feeling of the islands and the Great South dominated by its rainforest and green tourism.

Easiest access appears to be flying from Australia or New Zealand.

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