Ever heard of the Pitcairn Islands? They are probably not one of the better-known groups of islands in the world, but we are about to set that straight for you. You’ll definitely know something about their currency though, since they use the New Zealand dollar.
While some currencies have plenty of coins and notes available for use, this isn’t the case with the New Zealand dollar. Instead there are five coins and five banknotes and that’s it. The smallest coin value is the 10 cent coin, while you can also use the 20 and 50 cent coins. There are also two coins denominated in dollars – the one and two dollar coins. As for the banknotes, the smallest is worth five dollars. You can also use the $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes.
Since the islanders use the New Zealand dollar as their currency, it might surprise you to learn the islands are actually a British overseas territory. Surely it would be more traditional then for them to use the British pound as their currency?
Although this might seem sensible the New Zealand dollar has been used here for some time. It is worth noting that Pitcairn is not heavily populated – far from it in fact. This is why they use another currency instead of having their own. The 2013 census gave the population as just 56 people (and no, there are no zeroes left off that figure – there really were only fifty-six people there). Indeed this might become a moot point in terms of the islanders themselves because it is thought they will face extinction in the years to come. This isn’t something you come across very often at all in the modern world.
The New Zealand dollar is very easy to get hold of since it is one of the more common currencies available in the world today. Since the islands are not heavily populated it is best to bring your own currency with you. You can easily order the New Zealand dollars you will need prior to going to the islands; just find a good bureau de change offering a good exchange rate that isn’t too heavy on commission.
The good news is you can also make good use of traveller’s cheques on the island. The Island Secretary is able to cash these for you so make sure you take plenty of them. Keep a separate note of every serial number so you can be sure of replacement if you should lose them. These two methods are the best ones to use in terms of getting by with money while you are there.
If you are familiar with several exchange rates you might have a reasonable idea of the exchange rate already. However to find the latest information you will need to use a currency converter. This will enable you to work out how much your own currency is worth against the New Zealand dollar at any one time. This is the basic rate however and will not take into account any commission or charges that will apply if you go to a bureau de change. It does provide a pretty good point to start from though.
Finding information on the Pitcairn Islands can be challenging at times. However there is an official website for the Government of the Pitcairn Islands that contains all kinds of useful information. You can learn a lot by visiting http://www.pitcairn.pn/. There is also a specific page regarding travel terms and conditions that might be useful at some point.
As you might expect, the Pitcairn Islands are very safe to visit. With a small population that is often easily outnumbered by tourists, there are really very few people here to worry about.
The main concern will be to keep your possessions safe so you don’t lose track of them rather than worrying about a crime of some kind. That’s the main reason why it is always recommended that you take note of your traveller’s cheques serial numbers, just in case you misplace them.
The Pitcairn Islands are located in the South Pacific Ocean. The nearest land mass to the islands is French Polynesia, which is situated roughly out to the north-west. Other than that there isn’t any land near the islands at all – they really are in the middle of nowhere.
There are four separate islands that collectively are known as the Pitcairn Islands. One of these gives the islands their name – Pitcairn. The others are Henderson, Oeno and Ducie. However the islands themselves are not all right on top of each other. Instead they are scattered out over hundreds of miles. This won’t be a problem if you choose to go to the Pitcairn Islands though, since only Pitcairn Island itself is inhabited. Ironically it is not the biggest of all four islands.
In fact, this island is amazingly small. You might expect this given the small population but it measures just a couple of miles in length and one mile in width! As such you don’t really have to worry about transport when visiting Pitcairn, since it provides the ideal island to explore on foot.
The capital of the island is Adamstown. This is located on a high point on the island above the beautifully-named Bounty Bay. While it is known as the capital this is really only a title that is given by default. This is because everyone living on the island lives here! If you arrive on the island by getting to Jetty Harbour, you will have a journey up the wonderfully-named Hill of Difficulty to reach the ‘capital’ itself. As you can see, this island is a real discovery and a fascinating one at that.
It should be noted that visiting Pitcairn Island is not the easiest of tasks. That is why few people actually ever visit the island, which is a shame. However since it is small it would not be able to cope with a huge influx of people. If you do want to visit you will need a license to stay there from the governor of the Pitcairn Islands. This is because you cannot just fly onto the island or catch a boat at any time. Boats are scarce and you must be able to show you have the ability to leave at a specific time when your visit is over. A variety of other conditions must be met as well, so you will have to jump through a few hoops before you actually get to see the island on your own.
If you do manage to get all the boxes ticked and you do arrive on the island, you will be able to see the remains of the famous Bounty. The mutineers who came to Pitcairn Island on the Bounty are long since deceased, but the people who live on the island today are their natural descendants. You’ll have to dive down to it so you need experience in this area, but if you do see it you are seeing a slice of history out in Bounty Bay.
During your time on Pitcairn Island you might just come across Mrs Turpin. She is a Galapagos tortoise and she lives in Tedside. Although she was left here some years ago she seems quite happy with her new surroundings. According to information given on the main tourist website for the island she is a very sociable creature and is quite amenable to being fed some of her favourite foods by tourists!
One must-see destination is the Pitcairn Island Museum. While it is quite small you will discover plenty of information about the history of the island here. This dates back to ancient times and also covers the history of the Bounty and the early days when the island was first settled.
As you might guess the island is perfect for you to explore if you love walking. There are many natural features to appreciate here as you follow some of the paths and trails over the island. The longest walk is around a couple of hours but you can enjoy exploring various parts of the island at your leisure.
It’s easy to see this is no ordinary island. If you do get the chance to visit it is unlikely it will be like anything you have seen before. But then that is part of the charm of Pitcairn Island. The fact that it is largely unspoiled and not somewhere that mass tourism has found – for obvious reasons, since it is so out of the way of the rest of civilisation – makes it a truly unique place to visit.