If visiting one of the most remote locations on the planet is your idea of an ideal vacation, then Tokelau is exactly what you’re looking for. A group of three islands roughly halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, they are completely separated from the rest of the world, and completely dependent upon New Zealand for everything from public services, annual aid, food, and otherwise. Even so, these tropical coral atolls—islands of coral that completely encircle a lagoon—are some of the most beautiful on the planet, and missing them would truly be missing out on one of the most majestic sights that Earth has to offer.
Global warming is rapidly threatening these three atolls. The rising sea levels are such that within a few short years, Tokelau could be completely wiped off the face of the planet. It is the last refuge for some of the most preserved indigenous cultures on Earth due to the remoteness of the island. There is no airstrip, and the only way to get here is via a 20 hour boat ride Samoa. There are no luxury accommodations, and the people who live on the atolls live a completely subsistence way of life, dependent upon New Zealand for almost everything.
Technically, the Tokelauans are part of the Polynesian ethnic group, but the distance of the island from the mainland has created a sort of subculture over the years. If experiencing the ultimate cultural and ethnic Island experience is part of your agenda, Tokelau will be your dream come true. The fact that the islands are so far removed from everything else causes both pluses and minuses. On the plus side, it is relatively undisturbed by mass tourism, and the diving and snorkeling around the atolls is quite possibly the best you will ever find. On the downside, there is relatively no infrastructure, meaning that Tokelau is reserved for the adventurous wanderer willing to take a 20 hour boat ride into the middle of nowhere for an island adventure.