Norfolk Island, a unique culture with a colonial past

Norfolk Island a tiny island located between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia, in the South Pacific Ocean – about  1,000 miles northeast of Sydney and 600 miles north of Auckland.

The Island, one of Australia’s external territories, caters to couples and families. As well, low-cost holiday packages make Norfolk Island a great affordable honeymoon destination.

The island is considered by some to be one of the world’s most beautiful islands, and as a result the island is enjoying record-numbers of visitors.


Archeologists have found evidence that the island was inhabited from about 1200A.D. to 1600A.D. – in the form of remains of a house at Emily Bay and parts of canoes and stone axes also found on the island. There is no consensus as to why the inhabitants left the island.

Captain Cook discovered the island in 1774, when he landed on the uninhabited island.

The island was one of the United Kingdom’s first settlements in the Pacific. The island was a penal colony, first started in 1788 and closed in 1814, when the last ship “Kangaroo” moved the remaining settlers and convicts from the island, leaving just wild pigs and goats behind.

In 1856, new settlers arrived on the island from Pitcairn Island (descendants from the Bounty mutineers) and brought with them their culture and language. The settlers stayed on the island and developed the island’s agriculture and fishing industries.

Natural environment

Norfolk Island is a small volcanic island that is 5 miles by 3 miles and rests on average 107 meters above sea level.  The island is covered by virgin rainforest, as well as some of the world’s largest tree ferns. The island boasts beautiful beaches, and is surrounded by coral reefs.

Norfolk Island neighbours two smaller islands, Nepean and Phillips Islands, and the three islands together form the Norfolk Ridge.

The island’s flag features the Norfolk Island pine tree, a beautiful evergreen that dots the island.

Activities (Nature and Wildlife Interest)

Norfolk Island boasts a huge number of activities for its small island size!:

  • Swimming and snorkeling: The sheltered Emily Bay lagoon provides ample opportunities for relaxed swimming and snorkeling off-the-beach
  • Diving and fishing:  An abundance of fish lives in the waters surrounding Norfolk Island. Numerous companies provide charter fishing tours and scuba diving trips
  • Kayaking, surfing
  • Golfing: Enjoy one of the world’s most scenic golf courses
  • Picnic-ing, horseback riding, cycling, and walking: horseback riding or cycling can be arranged along the island’s country lanes, so that riders can view the island’s great evergreen vistas
  • Birdwatching in the National Park
  • Historical tours: Visitors can tour the island’s remnants from its days as a penal colony, or drive along Kingston’s Quality Row to see Australia’s largest concentration of Georgian architecture
  • Cultural tours: The settlers from Pitcairn Island brought with them their unique culture and language (and Tahitian families), which can still be experienced – in the forms of dancing, singing, and their cuisine. Head to a restaurant on the island to try the fried fish, banana dumplings, and Hihi periwinkle pie. Listen for the sound of Norf’k, a language blend of old seafaring English and Tahitian.
  • Culinary experiences: Sample local beer, wine, and chocolates; tour a working coffee plantation; or tuck into a famous Cliffside fish fry
  • Shopping: Norfolk Island is a tax-free haven, resulting in the opening of over 70 low-tax shops around the island.


The number of accommodation options on the island is increasing, particularly in the case of luxury accommodations. To match that, many trendy new restaurants and cafes have been opening up.

Accommodation options include:

  • All Seasons Norfolk Island Colonial Hotel: Norfolk Island’s premier resort hotel, with colonial architecture, Annabelle’s Restaurant, and a swimming pool; the resort can accommodate up to 180 guests for conferences
  • Forrester Court Clifftop Cottages: Cottages afford beautiful views from their perches on top of the cliff
  • Shiralee Executive Cottages: These self-contained and spacious cottages are located in Burnt Pine amidst a tropical garden
  • Trade Winds Country Cottages: These one-, two-, and three-bedroom self-contained cottages are ideal for families
  • Lavendula Garden Cottage: Located just 10 minutes from the historical Kingston and nearby beach area, and just three minutes from the centre of town
  • Islander Lodge Holiday Apartments: These apartments overlook the historical Kingston area and Emily Bay, and are considered to have among the best views on the island

Getting There

Norfolk Island can be reached by direct flights. Departure cities include Brisbane, Sydney,  Melbourne, and Newcastle.

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