- The Online Guide to Travel Tokelau - Three Coral Atolls (Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo)

Travel Notes Directory

Deserted Island
Surrounded by Sea by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash.

Travel Notes: Oceania - Tokelau Travel Notes.

Tokelau Travel Notes

Tokelau Flag

Short URL:

Tokelau Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Tokelau, a dependent territory of New Zealand, consists of three coral atolls - Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo - scattered across the South Pacific Ocean.

Tokelau, an overseas dependent territory of New Zealand, is made up of three coral atolls: Atafu, Fakaofo, and Nukunonu; roughly midway between Hawaii and New Zealand.

About Tokelau

The Tokelau Islands, located roughly midway between Hawaii and New Zealand, were not visited by the Europeans until 1765.

Travel Map Mapping The Tokelau Islands

Map of Tokelau

Map of Tokelau

Tokelau is located north of Samoa, east of Tuvalu, south of the Phoenix Islands, and south-west of the more remote Line Islands.

Tokelau Overview

Originally settled by Polynesian emigrants from surrounding island groups, the Tokelau Islands were made a British protectorate in 1889.


Tokelauan culture is Polynesian in nature, with a strong emphasis on family and community.

Traditional practices such as dance, music, and weaving are still preserved in Tokelauan society.

The Tokelauan language is widely spoken alongside English.


The economy of Tokelau is primarily based on subsistence agriculture, fishing, and remittances from Tokelauans living abroad.

Due to its small size and remote location, economic opportunities are limited.

Tokelau has received aid from New Zealand and international organisations to support its development.


Like many low-lying Pacific islands, Tokelau is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including sea-level rise and extreme weather events.

The government of Tokelau has been working on initiatives to mitigate these risks and promote sustainable development.


Tokelau is a group of small coral atolls with a combined land area of just ten  square kilometres (approximately 4 square miles).

The atolls are low-lying and surrounded by coral reefs.


Tokelau is a dependent territory of New Zealand, meaning it relies on New Zealand for defense and foreign affairs.

However, it has a significant degree of self-governance through its local council and administrator.

The Tokelauan people have been considering options for self-determination, including the possibility of independence from New Zealand.


Tokelau has a small population, estimated to be around 1,500 people.

Most of the population lives on the atoll of Fakaofo.

The population is predominantly of Tokelauan ethnicity, with a small minority of other Pacific Islanders.

Visiting Tokelau

Tokelau is a remote and picturesque territory with a unique culture and challenges typical of small island nations in the Pacific.

A visit to Tokelau promises a unique and unforgettable experience, combining natural beauty, cultural immersion, and the warm hospitality of its people.

Community Interaction

The people of Tokelau are known for their warmth and hospitality, and visitors are often welcomed with open arms.

You'll have the opportunity to interact with locals, learn about their way of life, and perhaps even participate in community events or celebrations.

Cultural Immersion

Visitors to Tokelau have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich Polynesian culture of the islands.

You can experience traditional dance performances, learn about local crafts such as weaving, and taste delicious Tokelauan cuisine; which often includes fresh seafood and tropical fruits.

Natural Beauty

Tokelau offers stunning views of turquoise lagoons, coral reefs, and white sandy beaches.

The atolls are surrounded by crystal-clear waters teeming with marine life, making it an ideal destination for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts.

Outdoor Activities

In addition to snorkelling and diving, Tokelau offers a range of outdoor activities for adventure seekers.

You can explore the islands by kayak or boat, go fishing in the surrounding waters, or hike along scenic trails to discover hidden coves and viewpoints.

Relaxation and Tranquility

With its remote location and small population, Tokelau offers a peaceful and serene environment where visitors can unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of modern life.

You can spend your days lounging on pristine beaches, taking leisurely walks around the atolls, or simply enjoying the breathtaking sunsets.

The Gilbert Islands

The Tokelau Islands were administered as part of the Gilbert Islands until they were transferred to New Zealand administration, from Western Samoa, in 1925.

In 1948, the islands were included within New Zealand's territorial boundaries.

The territory's name was officially changed from the Tokelau Islands to Tokelau in 1976.


Tokelauans are citizens of New Zealand. Only about 1,500 people live there and as most of the food is imported it helps if you can catch fish.

Due to Tokelau's small size (three villages), isolation and lack of resources the people rely heavily on aid from New Zealand  to maintain public services.

Tokelauans principal sources of revenue come from the sale of copra, postage stamps, souvenir coins, and handicrafts.

Although Tokelau and New Zealand have agreed to a draft constitution as Tokelau moves toward free association with New Zealand, a UN sponsored referendum on self governance (in October 2007) did not produce the two-thirds majority vote necessary for changing the political status.

Transportation to Tokelau

Tokelau lies some 480 km north of Samoa and has no ports or airports; so boats have to anchor offshore; while a dinghy transports people and cargo to and from the land.

The cargo ship MV Tokelau used to operate from Apia (Samoa) around two times a month; although schedules were always subject to change.

It took about a day and a half from Apia to Fakaofo, where the ship then travelled between the three atolls for about a week before making the return voyage.

Journeys between the atolls took about a day.

The MV Tokelau only had one cabin with two single beds, so the chances were that it would already be reserved and you'd have to sleep on deck.

Tokelau's New Ferry Service

The MV Mataliki, capable of transporting up to 60 international passengers at a time, replaced the old fery service in February 2016.

Tokelau Sailings

If you're interested in sailing to Tokelau, even on your own yacht, you'll still need a visitor's permit in advance and should contact the Tokelau Apia Liaison Office (TALO) in Apia, Samoa.

Where to Stay in Tokelau

The only place to stay (and eat) is the Luana Liki or Falefa Resort, on Nukunonu; unless you can get a bed in someone's home.

Travel in The South Seas

Lonely Planet South Pacific (Travel Guide) South Pacific Islands 1 : 13 000 000: Special maps of all major islands (English, French and German Edition)

Pacific Islands Travel Guides.

Weather in The Pacific:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around the Pacific region.

Travel Map More From Travel Notes

Travel Notes Online Guide to Travel

Africa - Asia - Caribbean - Europe - Middle East - North America - Oceania - South America.

Travel Guides

The Travel Notes Online Guide to Travel helps visitors plan their trip with country and city travel guides, local tourist information, reviewed web sites, and regular travel articles.

Travel and Tourism Guides on Travel Notes

If Travel Notes has helped you, please take a moment to like us on Facebook and share with your friends on social media.

Travel Notes Travel Resources

Meta-Travel Advertise - Airlines - Airports - Business - Car Hire - City Guides - Cruises - Flights - Hostels - Hotels - Locations - Lodging - Meta-Travel - Rail Travel - Tips and Trips - Topsites - Tours - Travel Blogs - Travel Directory - Travel Insurance - Travel SEO - Vacation Rentals.

Travel & Tourism With Industry Professionals.

Travel and Tourism Websites and Blogs

Travel Notes Disclosure - Affiliates, Cookies, User Consent and Privacy Policy.
Besides display advertising, we may also receive a commission if you purchase a product or service that we link to.