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Tokelau - Getting there & away, getting around

Tokelau - Getting there & away

Tokelau has no airport - so flying is not an option - and there are no safe harbours to dock in. A fortnightly cargo ship, the Tokelau, travels from Apia in Samoa; the trip takes around 36 hours to reach Fakaofo. The ship anchors offshore while passengers and cargo are transferred via small boats and dinghies - a truly hair-raising experience if seas are heavy.

Yachties will find Tokelau a challenge - there are no harbours, anchoring offshore is difficult and the low-lying atolls are easy to miss. You'll need to get a visitor permit in Apia before sailing off to Tokelau.

Getting around Tokelau

For safety reasons, modern Tokelauans are forbidden to travel independently between the three atolls. The fortnightly run of the boat Tokelau is the only means of inter-atoll travel. Travelling between islands within an atoll is fine by aluminium dinghy or the more-traditional kanava outrigger canoe, the preferred choice on Atafu. Once there, walking is the best and only way to get around.

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