About the Chatham Islands
With stunning landscapes, deserted beaches, beautiful flora and fauna and a rich cultural and historical heritage the Chatham Islands offer visitors an experience like no other.
Situated 860km east of Christchurch, the Chatham Islands is an archipelago of 11 islands, of which only the largest 2 are inhabited, Chatham and Pitt.
Each region has its own unique landscape and holidaymakers can enjoy exploring the rocky shoreline, scenic reserves, volcanic outcrops, lagoons and primeval forests.
The Chatham Islands provides endless options to reconnect with nature, whether it’s walking the scenic tracks and deserted beaches, swimming, sailing, kayaking, cycling, fishing, diving, hunting, kayaking, or just watching the sun rise on Pitt Island, the first place on earth to greet the new day.
Flora and fauna
Formed from volcanic activity 65 million years ago unique flora and fauna has evolved on the islands, making them a haven for ornithologists, natural historians, photographers and artists.
Bird life abounds on the Chatham Islands. Sightings of rare species, such as the black robin and the Chatham Island taiko along with red-crowned parakeets, tui, tomtits, mollymawks, oyster catchers and petrels means the Chatham Islands have become world famous among birdwatchers and conservationists. Many of the rarer species have been brought back from near extinction by conservation projects.
The Chatham Islands have about 392 species of flowering plants and ferns, many of which are indigenous to the islands, including the Chatham Island forget-me-not, the symbol of the island.
Originally settled by Moriori, a statue of Tommy Solomon, believed to be the last full blooded Moriori, who died in 1933, stands proud on the Chatham Islands. Evidence of the pre-European settlers can be found in the haunting raka momoir, or Moriori tree carvings. These can be viewed in the JM Baker National Historic Reserve and the Taia Bush Historic Reserve.
Chatham Islands’ museum is well worth a visit for its display of Moriori and Maori tools, relics from the whaling days, casts of dinosaur bones found on the islands, plus exhibits and displays of early life on the islands.