Top reasons to visit Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island lies 800 nautical miles off the eastern edge of Australia, on the border of the Coral and the Tasman Seas. This tiny island haven, which is officially part of Australia, is an idyllic mix of beaches, tumbling waterfalls, scenic walk trails and fascinating history and culture. Top reasons to visit Norfolk Island
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Top reasons to visit Norfolk Island

  • Art and Culture

"For me Norfolk Island was the perfect mix of warm tropical island paradise with that small town local vibe. It's probably the most underrated holiday spot I've ever been to and yes I'm already planning my return trip. Seeing truly is believing."  — Bare Kiwi


Kyle Mulinder, professionally known as Bare Kiwi, is one of only 20 official GoPro content creators. On a recent trip to Norfolk Island, Bare Kiwi captured the beauty of the island that has been referred to as ‘the best surfing destination you’ve never heard of.’

Norfolk Island lies 800 nautical miles off the eastern edge of Australia, on the border of the Coral and the Tasman Seas. This tiny island haven, which is officially part of Australia, is an idyllic mix of beaches, tumbling waterfalls, scenic walk trails and fascinating history and culture.

How to get here: twice weekly flights operate from Brisbane and Sydney with a flight time of around 2.5 hours.

Adventure

On land:

If you want to explore on foot, the national park offers bushwalking with awesome views from Mt Pitt (316 metres, 1036 feet) and Mt Bates (318 metres, 1043 feet). You can also hire a Mini-Moke and have fun driving around the island taking in the beautiful scenery and practising the Norfolk wave as you pass vehicles and give way to the roaming cows and chickens. For those who like soft adventure, take a guided trek to the outer uninhabited Phillip Island. Phillip Island is a sea bird sanctuary protected by National Parks Australia and is the home of unique and endemic flora and fauna.

If you want to get a little more active, head out on a guided sports fishing charter or kayak escapade or play Norfolk’s nine hole Seaside Golf course in the World Heritage area of Kingston.

In the water:

Surfing: Somewhat off the traditional surfing trail, Norfolk Island has been referred to as ‘the best surfing destination you’ve never heard of’ – its rugged coastline is pounded by heavy swells which roll in over the island’s volcanic rock and coral reefs. And the best part is, it’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t have to share the surf with too many people – just a handful of keen locals, who might even invite you back for a barbeque after.

Swimming: The sparkling waters of Emily Bay are protected by a reef off the Lone Pine Headland, making for a peaceful and safe swimming spot.  You don’t have to swim far to see fish and coral life in these clear waters - the marine life on the reef is abundant with colourful tropical fish quite common among the coral.

Beaches

Anson Bay: This is one of Norfolk's most spectacular secluded beaches. Nestled at bottom of one the many steep cliffs just off Anson Bay road, it is less accessible than other beaches on the island but well worth the journey. There is a walking track that winds down to the beach but it is not recommended for swimming. At the cliff top there is a BBQ picnic area and reserve, also a great location to catch a beautiful sunset.

Bumboras: Officially known as Creswell Bay, or colloquially as "Bumby" is a great place for rock fishing, swimming and snorkelling at low tide. It is also one of the local favourites for surfing and picnicking. There is a wooden walkway from the car park right to the little beach.


Emily Bay:
Voted in the top 100 Australian beaches Emily Bay is a crescent of golden sand backed by beach grass and pines. Set in World Heritage listed area of Kingston, this sheltered reefed lagoon is home to a variety of fish and hard and soft coral. The water is clean and crystal clear and most importantly safe for swimming and perfect for snorkelling.

History

Norfolk Island’s beautiful shores have a very interesting past. The Polynesians were the first inhabitants of Norfolk, 800 years before it was first seen by Captain Cook in 1774. From 1788 until 1855 it was used as a penal colony. After 1855 Queen Victoria handed the island over to the descendants of the mutineers from the HMS Bounty and about a third of the present population is descended from the 194 Pitcairners who arrived in1856. This was a new chapter for the island and on the 8 June each year, the Norfolk Islanders celebrate Bounty Day commemorating that day in 1856 when the entire Pitcairn Island community arrived upon Kingston to greet their new home.


Visitors to the island can explore this history in a variety of ways. A visit to ‘Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama’ is a must. The cyclorama is a 360° painting created by local artists Sue Draper and Tracey Yager depicting the Mutiny on the Bounty story, hence the descendants settling on Norfolk Island in 1856. All four of Norfolk Island’s settlements are centred around the world heritage listed Kingston. The Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area (KAVHA), is significant as the only site in Australia to display evidence of early Polynesian settlement. The 617 acre (250 hectare) site includes four fascinating layers of history and occupation. Primarily, the site comprises a large group of buildings and archaeological sites and ruins from the Penal Convict Settlement 1824-1855 with evidence of buildings from the earlier Colonial Convict Settlement 1788-1814 and an exceptional cultural landscape, evocative of the convict era. There are also archaeological remains from the pre-European Polynesian Settlement before 1788.

Flora and Fauna

The green rolling hills, lagoon-fringed shoreline, treasure-filled rock pools, soaring seabirds and stately Norfolk Island pines are part of the island’s backdrop – a combination of country charm and seaside serenity. The majestic Norfolk Island pine is world famous and  the island is also home to around 60 other plant species found nowhere else on the planet, including the world’s tallest tree fern or one can shelter among majestic Moreton Bay figs.

The birds of Norfolk Island are everywhere to  be found – White Terns fluttering through the pines, Red-Tailed Tropic birds gliding past the sheer cliffs and one of the world’s rarest birds – the Green Parrot, found only on Norfolk Island. The uninhabited satellite islands of Phillip and Nepean are important breeding sites for at least 12 species of seabirds and home to several endemic plants and animals.

Although Norfolk Island is only 35 square kilometres (13.5 square miles) in size, the protected National Park covers over 5 square kilometres (1.9 square miles) and offers more than 8 kilometres (4.9 miles) of incredibly picturesque walking trails. Rising from the ocean depths are spectacular natural sculptures with names including Elephant Rock and Cathedral Rock and a snorkel on the water’s surface reveals an abundant marine wonderland of tropical fish and coral. And one can stand atop Mt Pitt for absolute 360° views over the island.

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