Palmerston Atoll Island
The Palmerston Atoll is the most isolated of the
Cook Islands, sitting all by itself far west from the rest of
the Southern Group. With no neighboring islands nearby, Palmerston
is a great getaway for those who love nature or who simply want
a unique vacation away from humdrum of city life. If you like bird
watching and enjoy seeing turtles, dolphins and whales swimming
about, then visit the Palmerston Atoll and its very unusual population.
Made up of 30 or so small islands, the Palmerston lagoon is 11
km wide at is broadest point and currently has a population of 52
people. What is so distinct about Palmerston is that the atoll’s
entire population is made up of the descendants of William Marster’s,
who moved here from Aitutaki
in 1863. A legendary figure in the history of the Cook Islands,
William Marsters married three Maori women, whom he took with him
to live on Palmerston. As his family grew many of his children married
one another, thus carrying on the Marsters bloodline. William Marsters
died in May 1899 and you can visit his gave on Palmerston, located
near the home he built.
Spotted in 1774 by Captain James Cook, Palmerston Atoll today has no real organized accommodations for tourists and guests who wish to stay here. However, a tradition that is still carried on today is that the first person to welcome you will let you stay in his or her own home.
To visit Palmerston Atoll you can get in touch with the Palmerston
mayor’s office, which is based in Avarua, Rarotonga.
Located near Avatiu Harbor, the mayor’s office can help you
arrange accommodations as well as your transport to and from Palmerston
Atoll. You can get to this atoll via the Marsters Dream, which is
a former navy ship that ferries people between Rarotonga and Palmerston
as well as carries supplies. The boat stays in Palmerston for 6
days, which gives tourists more than enough time to see all of the
islands in the atoll,
as well as meet most of the population. If you wish to visit Palmerston
Atoll make sure you book your seat in advance as the Marsters Dream
carries only 8 people.
There are no flights to Palmerston and the only way to get here is by sea. Also you do not have to worry about language barriers while you stay here as most of the people in Palmerston speak English. However, it often uses many words borrowed from the Maori language.