In just a couple of hours from Sydney or Brisbane you can be in this loveliest of Pacific islands. Here’s what to see and do when you get there.
There are two ways to experience this beautiful beach: via an easy-access picnic area and lookout from above, or with a more adventurous winding path down to the secluded sliver of golden sands below. Either way, Anson Bay is a gorgeous spot you’ll absolutely want to see.
Don’t be confused: There’s Kingston, the capital of Norfolk Island, and then there’s the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area (KAVHA). This is where you want to go for a brilliant lesson in NI history. All four periods of Norfolk Island settlement are represented in this 250-hectare site – the pre-European Polynesian settlement, two separate periods of convict habitation and the present-day community, which was formed when a group of Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the Bounty mutineers, resettled here in 1856.
Once you’ve been to World Heritage Kingston and had a crash course in the island’s history, a visit to the cemetery will have even more of an impact. The stories some of the headstones tell are fascinating, harrowing and enlightening, and you could spend hours here. A guided tour is recommended.
The cemetery is just around a headland from Emily Bay, the safest swimming spot on the island thanks to a reef that protects the lovely clear waters. It’s also a great spot for snorkelling, and a pontoon in the bay provides a handy spot if you need a rest.
Golf lovers will not want to miss playing a round on this beautiful 9-hole course overlooking the South Pacific Ocean. It’s also one of the only golf courses in the world located within a World Heritage Site. The amazing views and heritage are matched by the atmosphere – this is one of the friendliest and most social clubs you’re likely to encounter – and the price. Here, green fees for an entire week are just $80.
Built in 1880 by the (Anglican) Melanesian Mission as a memorial to Bishop Patterson who was killed by natives in the Solomon Islands in 1871, the beautiful St Barnabas Chapel has a roof modelled on a ship’s hull, and incredible stained-glass windows, one of which is attributed to artists William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones.
The (just about) 360° panoramic views from Norfolk Island’s second-highest mountain, Mount Pitt, are spectacular, looking across to Philip Island from a height of 320m above sea level. Even better, the lookout at the summit it accessible by car.
With yellowfin tuna, kingfish and wahoo caught regularly in the waters off NI, a fishing charter trip is a no-brainer for lovers of this pastime. The fishing is amazing, but even if you have no interest in casting a line it’s a great excuse for a day on pristine waters, getting a different view of the island.
The first vines were planted at this boutique winery in 2003. Today, you can enjoy a drop (or two) at the lovely homestead in what remains Norfolk Island’s first and only winery.
Captain Cook Lookout
Do not miss a trip to this spot, where Captain James Cook landed on October 10, 1774, on his second voyage around the world. His word for NI? ‘Paradise’.
Norfolk Island Botanic Gardens
A lovely place to see some of the island’s unique plants and wildlife, like Norfolk Island Pines (which can reach a height of 57m) and Norfolk Island Green Parrots – an endangered species found nowhere else in the world.
The Norfolk Island Green Parrot isn’t the only bird that twitchers will go mad for – thanks to its location in the middle of nowhere, the island is home to all sorts of birds that you won’t normally see on the mainland.
The Hilli Goat Cheese Tour
A tour of a boutique goat cheese farm that sits on the clifftop at Anson Bay, a platter of goat’s cheese and edible delights, and hanging out with some cute goats – what’s not to love?
The Colleen McCullough Home Tour
The author of The Thorn Birds and 23 other books lived on NI for almost 36 years. One-hour tours of Colleen McCullough’s magnificent home will give you a rare insight into the life of a literary icon.
A three-course dinner, served in three different Norfolk Island family homes. What a fab way to meet the locals and enjoy a delicious, fun night out.
There are no streetlights on the island, so the view you’ll get of stars at night is out of this world (pun intended).
This is the place to come for fresh fruit and veg, home-cooked treats, arts and crafts, jewellery, souvenirs and locally grown coffee from the coffee van. And to catch up on the latest gossip if you’re a local!
Island Fish Feast
It’s the most glam picnic on the island: The freshest of fish and other delights served on a clifftop overlooking Anson Bay, with entertainment by Tahitian-style dancers afterwards.
Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama
This award-winning painting depicts key points in the island’s history, bringing it to life in a 360-degree panoramic mural.
Moreton Bay Fig Trees
Opposite the Hundred Acres Reserve you’ll find the ancient Moreton Bay fig trees on Headstone Road, believed to be more than 200 years old.