Guide to Norfolk Island
Norfolk Island is a quiet paradise, often overlooked yet unforgettable once found. Discover for yourself why visitors return time and time again.
By Lee Atkinson
UNESCO World Heritage convict buildings, breathtaking scenery and a unique culture with an intriguing past combine to make Norfolk Island, located roughly halfway between Australia and New Zealand, one of Australia's most fascinating destinations. Settled by descendants of mutineers who speak a mix of Tahitian and 18th century English, it's a friendly place where waving to everyone you pass is mandatory, cows have right of way and everyone knows everyone else. It's the only place in the world where the telephone book lists people under their nicknames, such as Drill, Bing, Diddles and Spud. No wonder the locals reckon it’s "Da Bass Side Orn Earth" (the best place on Earth).
- Explore one of the best preserved convict settlements in the Southern Hemisphere
- Swim in the iconic Emily Bay and snorkel over coral and friendly fish
- Explore nature in the National Parks and Botanical Gardens
How to get there
Things to do and top attractions on Norfolk Island
Swim in calm, clear water
Anson Bay is one of the most stunning and secluded beaches on the island. Emily Bay Lagoon is a gloriously curved crescent of golden sand, backed by an expanse of grass and shaded by majestic Norfolk Pines. This Marine Park lagoon is protected by a reef and has perfectly clear water, hardly any waves, and is full of coral and colourful fish, which makes it ideal for swimming and snorkelling.
Explore the World Heritage convict site
When James Cook arrived in 1774, Norfolk Island was first settled as a convict colony. In 1855, Queen Victoria gave the island to the descendants of one of the most famous naval mutinies in modern history: the mutiny on the Bounty, led by Fletcher Christian. Wander around the beautiful stone buildings of Kingston built during the convict settlement, visit the convict cemetery, or explore the four incredible museums. Fascinating by day, Kingston really shines at night with ghost tours and live shows. The historical site is also a perfect platform for star gazing. With little light pollution and one of the darkest skies on Earth, the island is even recognised as an Australian Gold Level Dark Sky Town.
Play World Heritage golf
Play a round of seriously scenic golf on the world’s only golf course in a World Heritage site. Set within the Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area, the nine-hole, 18-tee course offers stunning views from every hole, including the notorious fourth and thirteenth, where the green is tucked into a rock face. Even the clubhouse is historic: built in 1843, in convict times it was the home of the stipendiary magistrate. Bookings are essential.
Hike through picturesque pine
Norfolk Island is small, but much of the island is covered in national park, rolling green hills and towering Norfolk Island pine trees. Head to the protected national park on the northern edge of the island and explore the eight kilometres (4.9 miles) of walking tracks. Stand on top of Mt Pitt for panoramic views of the picturesque surrounds.