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Middle of nowhere

8 most remote places on earth and how to cruise there

The most remote places on earth hold a great deal of fascination for those eager to break away from the road less traveled and uncover intriguing, far-off lands.

The most remote places on earth are, surprise surprise, pretty hard to get to, but therein lies the advantage of cruising.

By ship, travelers can reach parts of the world they’d never be able to otherwise – and they can do so in comfort and luxury.

We’ve rounded up eight of the most remote places on earth you can sail to by cruise.


SilverseaPalmerston, Cook Islands

An untouched paradise, the Cook Islands are among the most secluded archipelagos in the world. Palmerston, a two-day voyage away from Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands is inhabited by families that all descend from William Marsters who arrived in 1863 and had four wives, begetting 17 children.

Divers and snorkelers can spot colorful reef fish, sea cucumbers, rays, and sea turtles while bird watchers can look out for tropicbirds, boobies, noddies, frigatebirds and terns.

Palmerston is also a day’s cruise away from another remote hotspot, the unspoiled island of Aitutaki. Home to approximately 1,800 people and the world’s most beautiful coral lagoon (five times the island’s land size), Aitutaki has been called the world’s most beautiful island.”

The pristine white sand beaches are the biggest draw for tourists as well as bone-fishing, snorkelling and diving. Cruise ship visitors motor to the island by Zodiac and are greeted by a traditional and customary warrior challenge in the main village.

Aranui CruisesPitcairn

The tiny island of Pitcairn is also located in the South Pacific, between Tahiti and Easter Island, and is a British Overseas Territory situated 3,300 miles from New Zealand. Pitcairn is thousands of kilometres from the nearest continent and is so isolated that it is only accessible by sea.

Pitcairn has a thrilling history – it was discovered entirely by accident by the mutineers of HMS Bounty who reached the island in 1790 – its population numbers just 50, all of whom are descendants of the mutineers and the six Tahitian men and twelve women Master’s Mate Fletcher Christian took with him on the Bounty after putting tyrannical Captain Bligh in an open boat and setting him adrift in the Pacific.

Only four cruise ships are visiting the idyllic island in 2022, according to Pitcairn’s tourist board, and they aren’t allowed to stay long. Aranui Cruises is operating two of these voyages and benefits from a two-day visit.

Travellers sail on the Aranui 5, a dual-purpose passenger/freighter ship which accommodates approximately 230 passengers in 103 cabins while bringing important goods to these remote islands from Tahiti. The trip also visits nearby Oeno Island which is designated as an Important Bird Area. Oeno is home to different bird species, most notably its colony of Murphy’s Petrels, estimated to be the second-largest in the world.

pitcairn island
south georgia - - most remote places on earth

Aurora ExpeditionsSouth Georgia

South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands is another British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean around 1,400 kilometres east of the Falkland Islands.

The barren island is home to two mountain ranges – the Salvesen and the Allardyce – and is a haven for wildlife. They are around five million seals of four different species here and 65 million breeding birds of 30 different species.

Zodiac excursions from your cruise ship explore craggy coves and the rocky coastline – look down too, the kelp forests here have created remarkable underwater ecosystems. Stepping ashore you can visit some of the largest king penguin colonies on the planet, walk among fur seals and elephant seals and visit the remnants of South Georgia’s whaling stations.

Set Sail

South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey featuring the South Sandwich Islands with Aurora Expeditions

Duration: 23 nights

Ship: Sylvia Earle

Price: From $24,560 pp

Find out more
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PonantMacquarie Island

Macquarie Island is a rugged Australian subantarctic island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, around 1,000 miles to the southeast of Tasmania. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Macquarie is the only place in the world where rocks from the earth’s mantle are exposed above sea level.

The island itself is beautiful and boasts amazing natural diversity should weather permit travelers to step ashore. Macquarie is a breeding hotspot for more than 3.5 million seabirds, mostly penguins, of which there are four species breeding: Royals, Kings, Gentoos and Rock Hoppers. There are also three types of fur seals and one-seventh of the planet’s population of elephant seals breed here.

The headquarters of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) has been on Macquarie since 1948 and aims to support scientific research and exploratory work.

st helena island - - most remote places on earth

AzamaraSt Helena

A British Overseas Territory, St Helena is located mid-way between Africa and the Americas in the South Atlantic, some 703 miles away from the nearest land. One of the most remote places on earth, the island proved perfect for exiled prisoners – the most famous of which was French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte who spent his final years here and is buried in the capital Jamestown, founded by the East India Company in 1659.

As well as 500 years of history (it was discovered by the Portuguese in 1502), St Helena boasts dramatic scenery. There are world-class hiking trails for all abilities – all of which afford stunning views – charming Georgian architecture in Jamestown to make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time, and very friendly locals. The snorkelling and diving here are excellent – expect historic shipwrecks, caves and rocky reefs.


Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic, a few hundred miles from the North Pole, made up of immaculate fjords and jagged mountains. It’s the kingdom of polar bears as well as arctic foxes, reindeer, seals and walruses – indeed more than half of Svalbard consists of protected areas.

Apart from the largest Svalbard island, Spitsbergen, all the other islands in the archipelago nearly or completely lack permanent residents. Spitsbergen was once a whaling base and later in the late 19th century known for coal mining – but it has no roads.

Incredibly it’s also home to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault which contains one thousand square meters of seeds from every country in the world. The seeds are safely kept in the permafrost climate to secure the world’s food production should crisis erupt!

Activities in Svalbard include skiing, snowshoeing, husky sledding and exploring by snowmobile. On the water, you can adventure by kayak or boat. Hurtigruten even has a silent hybrid-driven catamaran.

The dark season in these remote islands in the Arctic Ocean lasts from October to February and is perfect for northern lights viewing while in summer the midnight sun shines on from April to August.

Svalbard glacier
Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland - - most remote places on earth

NCLIttoqqortoormiit, Greenland

Ittoqqortoormiit (which means “the place with the big houses”) is the most isolated town in Greenland and is the remotest inhabited community in the western hemisphere – talk about one of the most remote places on earth! The settlement, home to a population of a mere 450, is located between the largest national park and longest fjord system in the world.

Frozen for nine months of the year, Ittoqqortoormiit is a pristine wilderness home to wild animals – musk oxen, polar fox, polar bears, wolves, walrus and a variety of sea birds – as well as gargantuan icebergs.

An expedition cruise is your best bet for visiting Ittoqqortoormiit as there are no direct flights. What’s more, there are no other forms of transport within the town limits (there are also no restaurants).

The most common way to get around is with a boat or on foot (summer), with a dog sled, snowmobile, snowshoes or skis (winter), or with a helicopter (all year). Indeed dog sledding is a popular activity for visitors, as is hiking and fishing, as well as taking a boat trip to explore the fjords and spot whales. Ittoqqortoormiit also has a small local museum which delves into the history of the remote spot.

SilverseaEaster Island

Easter Island in Polynesia is a Chilean territory and probably the world’s most famous remote island – it’s around 3,700km west of South America and 1,770km from the nearest neighboring island,

It’s most notable for its enigmatic moai statues which were constructed by a Polynesian civilisation known as the Rapa Nui who, it’s believed, came from the Marquesas Islands, around 2,000 miles away, in wooden dugout canoes – an incredible feat of exploration.

A place of great cultural fascination, Easter Island has been a National Historic Monument since 1935 and its national park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The island boasts rolling hills covered in grassland and eucalyptus forest while its limpid waters are excellent for snorkelling and diving. The quarry which produced the stones used for almost all of the island’s moai is a popular tourist spot.

easter island
Published 06.27.22