Henry In Pitcairn II - Where in the world is Pitcairn?

by ZSL on
I have now been on Pitcairn for almost a week and we have already established that it takes a very long time to get here. I am exceptionally grateful that I do not have to endure another 32 hour boat journey in the near future. However, to truly appreciate the isolation of my temporary island home, we need to look at some geographical facts and figures.
The Pitcairns are a group of four scattered islands (Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno) at the extreme east of French Polynesia in the South Pacific, of which only Pitcairn itself is currently habited. Even the distances between the islands themselves are substantial, with Ducie and Pitcairn separated by 475km of water. However, it is the distances between the Pitcairns and the rest of the world which are truly staggering. The nearest inhabited landmass is in the Gambier Islands, 540km to the west. To find dry land in the east you must travel over 2000km to Easter Island, if you can find it in the vast nothingness of the Pacific. If you fancy a quick trip to the nearest continent, the distances become truly gigantic, with Pitcairn separated from New Zealand and South America by a colossal 5,500km of deep blue ocean.
St Paul's Pool Pitcairn
Even as I look at these numbers yet again, I am struggling to truly process the remoteness of this tiny island. To put it (fairly) exactly, the desk I am sitting at is 14,481km away from my hometown of London. It is safe to say that I will not be popping home for the weekend.
Given these enormous distances, you are probably wondering how on earth anybody ever found these islands in the first place. It is believed that the first Polynesian settlers arrived on Pitcairn around 900AD, and lived here until around 1450. However, to find the origins of modern Pitcairn, my next post will delve into one of history’s most famous nautical tales…


Henry Duffy


Select a blog

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!


We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.


From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.


A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.

Working for Wildlife

Ever wondered what a typical day as a zookeeper looks like, or what it's like to be a videographer at ZSL? Now you can find out!

Artefact of the month

Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.

Wild About Magazine

Read extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.

ZSL Shop

Get updates on our latest ranges, be the first to hear about special offers, and find the perfect gift for animal lovers!

Chagos Expedition

The Chagos archipelago is a rare haven for marine biodiversity. Hear from the team about our projects to protect the environments in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).

Nelson's Island Expedition

ZSL Institute of Zoology researchers are embarking on an exciting fieldwork expedition to Nelson’s Island in the Chagos Archipelago. Throughout the month, the team will share their research and experiences on an uninhabited tropical island!

Asia Conservation Programme

ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.