Emily Bay, Norfolk Island © Norfolk Island Tourism
7 days of history, culture and nature on Norfolk Island
Discover the incredible natural beauty of this island that is also so rich in history and culture. Explore the best of Norfolk Island over seven days.
Norfolk Island is the quiet achiever of the South Pacific, often overlooked, though unforgettable once found. Discover for yourself why visitors return time and time again – there’s just so much more to Norfolk Island. It’s the ideal destination for people of all ages where you can have an adventure or simply take a relaxing break.
I really do think that Norfolk Island is one of Australian tourism’s best-kept secrets. So, c’mon. Do yourself a huge favour. It’s a little part of Australia, after all.
Norfolk Island is considered a domestic flight, but be aware that flights depart from the International Terminal. A valid passport is the preferred means of documentation, however, photographic identification is acceptable for Australian citizens.
With over 120 kilometres (75 miles) of road, a hire car is the most practical way to get around the island. When driving, be sure to practise the Norfolk ‘wave’ to passing vehicles and watch for roaming livestock who have the right of way.
Day 1: On your way (“Watawieh” Hello)
On arrival you will be welcomed by a Norfolk Island Tourism representative who will show you to your hire car, bus transfer or accommodation owner.
Once you have checked in, take a drive through Burnt Pine town centre. Here you will find supermarkets, cafes, the Visitor Information Centre, Liquor Mart, shops and pubs.
One of the best ways to get your bearings and begin to understand the rich history of the island is on a tour. Jump on board for the Discover Our World tour with Baunti Tours or the Half Day Tour from Pinetree Tours to get an excellent introduction to Norfolk. Your guide will take you to the island’s main points of interests, including key historic places and incredible lookouts. With rich commentary on history and local life today, you will begin to understand that there is so much more to Norfolk Island.
Day 2: Time to explore (“Siyet” See it)
Start your morning with a drive to the top of Mount Pitt in the Norfolk Island National Park and take in the amazing 360° view of the whole island. Follow the road down the hill, and along Douglas Drive to visit St Barnabas Chapel, which was built around 1800. The glorious rose stained window is just one of the Chapel’s beautiful attributes. Spend some time exploring the grounds before making your way up to Headstone Road to walk under the canopy of the famous Moreton Bay fig trees. Stop for a photo opportunity amongst the impressive above ground roots.
From here, head down to Kingston for lunch at the Golf Club. After your meal, take advantage of the chance to play a round in the world's only golf course set in a World Heritage site.
Tonight, enjoy dinner at the famous Homestead Restaurant which is set in a 1930s traditional house. Chef Kurt will tempt you with fresh local produce cooked on a wood fuelled Argentinian Parilla Grill.
Day 3: Get wet (“in a worta” in the water)
Spend today in and around the crystal clear waters of the island.
Anglers will love the rich fishing grounds of Norfolk Island. Here, it’s so easy to reel in a prize that casting a line is referred to as ‘catching’ rather than fishing. The main fish species caught are sweet lip, kingfish and tuna. And with no fishing ramps, boats are lowered into the water by crane, adding to the charm of a fishing expedition on Norfolk. Book a fishing charter with an experienced guide for a great day out.
Even if you decide not to head out on a charter, be sure to stop by Kingston Pier when the boats return. You may get to witness sharks feeding on fish scraps as the fishermen fillet their catch, which you can buy straight from them for your night’s dinner.
If you’d prefer to spend the day in the water, the island offers world class diving and snorkelling with marine life like nowhere else. The crystal clear waters of Emily Bay and Slaughter Bay are perfect for snorkelling, with a fringing reef just metres from shore. If you’re a certified diver, head out with Norfolk Island Diving to see incredible sites such as Johnny’s Stone, Duncombe Bay and Liar Straight.
Another option for the day is to join an awe inspiring sea kayaking tour. View the rugged coastline as the seabirds soar above you before stopping off at the remote Crystal Pool for a spot of snorkelling. These tours operate on demand and are weather dependent, so chat to the friendly team in the Visitor Information Centre to book.
For dinner tonight, book in at Bailey’s.
Day 4: Back to nature (“kam lukorn” come and have a look)
The natural beauty of the island is absolutely breathtaking with rugged coastline, rolling green hills, and the majestic Norfolk Island Pines. Today you'll spend your time taking it all in.
Get an early start to witness a beautiful sunrise. One vantage point is from the top of Flagstaff walkway, located in Kingston. There are over 200 steps to the top, but it is well worth it! Afterwards, enjoy a delicious breakfast at the popular Olive Café in the village before driving to Captain Cook Monument and Lookout on the northern side. From here you can see the offshore natural rock formations such as Elephant Rock and Bird Rock. Walk along the coastal ‘Bridle walking track’, keeping an eye out for the rare green parrot, Pacific robin and other birds endemic to the island.
Another reserve that offers a peaceful walking track through pines and white oaks is Hundred Acres Reserve on Headstone Road. This loop track takes you on a boardwalk to the cliff top and is the perfect location to observe seabirds.
If you’re an experienced hiker with a good level of fitness, consider joining a guided trek to the outer Phillip Island, which sits about a 20-minute boat ride from the Kingston Pier. Protected by National Parks, Phillip Island is home to many migrating seabirds and a vibrant volcanic landscape.
Wind down from your day with a bottle of wine and picnic dinner at Puppies Point cliff top, which is an ideal spot to watch the sunset. You can book a picnic platter with Platters by Paige, or head over to nearby Sunset Bar for drinks and nibbles with friendly owners Les and Pip. Be sure to stay out after the sun has gone down to witness the spectacular starry night sky. You will soon realise why the island is an Australian Gold Level Dark Sky Town.
Day 5: A bit of history and culture (“Fainet” Find it)
The entire island hums with rich history and culture. It is all around you. Start in Kingston, where you will find one of 11 sites that make up the Australian Convict Sites UNESCO World Heritage Property. This unique site is known for its outstanding Georgian buildings and ruins. There’s no entry fee and the interpretive signs make for easy self-guiding. There are also four museums in Kingston, and the best way to see them is with a Museum Pass that gives you unlimited access and two guided tours. Not to be missed is the Sirius museum, dedicated to the HMS Sirius flagship of the First Fleet, wrecked on the Kingston reef in 1790. The pass also gives you access to the Research Centre.
For lunch, head to Hilli Restaurant to enjoy locally caught seafood and fresh produce in the calming garden setting. After your meal, continue your historical explorations of the island by learning about the Pitcairn period of settlement. Next door to Hilli you will find the award-winning Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama, a 360 degree mural that depicts the story of the Pitcairn Islanders who came to Norfolk Island in 1856 after the famous Mutiny on the Bounty.
Tonight, if you dare, arrange a Lantern Lit Ghost Tour through the convict cemetery and ruins. Locals will tell you that Norfolk is one of the most haunted places in the world, and its historic buildings and cemetery will leave you with chills.
Day 6: Follow the food trail (“Wettles” Food)
Norfolk Island food culture focuses on produce that is grown locally and seasonally, allowing for unbeatable freshness and vibrant flavours. Most locals grow their own vegetables, and often share their bounty in roadside Honesty Boxes. Look out for these stalls dotted around the island (you can get a map at the Visitor’s Information Centre). If you take some fresh produce for a meal at home, just pop your money in the box to pay for your selection.
Today, experience some of the unique foodie offerings on the island first-hand. Start by joining a tour of the only goat farm on the island, the Hilli Goat. You’ll get to meet the adorable herd, hear about the cheesemaking process, get to taste the cheese and enjoy a lunch platter at the family home with incredible views over the cliffs. While you’re here, stop into Cottage Pottery for beautiful handmade pottery, art and jewellery.
If you’re on the island on Wednesday or Sunday, be sure to indulge in a decadent Forrester Court High Tea luncheon with magnificent views over Cascade Bay.
For dinner tonight, book into the popular island fish fry for a chance to taste fresh fish in crispy batter alongside traditional dishes like ‘Pilhi’ (a banana slice) and coconut dessert pie. Dessert is always served with cream, referred to as Norfolk gravy. The evening includes Tahitian dancing entertainment by the Baunti Byuutis.
DAY 7: Me time (“Gut a hilli” feeling lazy)
While there’s so much to see and do on Norfolk Island, it’s also the perfect escape from the demands of your daily life. You feel the relaxed vibes and laid back attitude the moment you arrive here, so spend the day embracing the lifestyle.
What I like most about visiting the island is you can detach yourself from life as much as you want to or meet some of the friendliest people in the Pacific who’ll take you in like a long lost family.
Begin the day with a yoga session in town, or take in the sunrise on a morning walk around the beach at Kingston, past the Golf Club and along Quality Row. If the weather is fine, enjoy a final swim out to the pontoon in Emily Bay lagoon.
Back in town, fuel up with a healthy breakfast and coffee at Prinke Eco Store, opposite the Visitor Information Centre. You can pass some time browsing the shops in town, including Aatuti Art near the Golden Orb Café and Bookshop. You are likely to find a piece of art you never knew you needed.
In the afternoon, treat yourself to a soothing pamper at Serenity Day Spa, or Island Skin & Beauty, before heading out to Two Chimneys Winery. Here you can relax on the beautiful veranda overlooking the vineyard while tasting a range of excellent wines. Two Chimneys also offers lunch platters, so you can extend your stay over a glass (or bottle) of wine as you enjoy an incredible selection of cheese, meats and spreads.
Dinner tonight should be at Bounty Bar & Grill on Ferny Lane, famous for their local steaks and beef ribs.