Norfolk Island is closer to New Zealand and New Caledonia than it is to Sydney, but it’s one of Australia’s external territories, with a large degree of self-governance and its own language. Travelers taking cheap flights to Norfolk Island will receive a warm welcome from the islanders. Tourism is of great importance to this island.
It wasn’t always so. The island has a history that stretches back to penal settlement days – a fact that has been recognized by the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations. Eleven Australian Convict Sites including Kingston and Arthurs Vale were inscribed by the UN as World Heritage sites in 2010. Norfolk Island is also home to descendants of the rebellious Bounty crew and their Tahitian partners.
Norfolk Island’s lush landscape and deep blue waters are made for adventurers. Norfolk Island National Park covers about 10 per cent of the island and includes two smaller islands south of NI – Nepean Island and Phillip Island. There are several hiking trails through the park, some through Norfolk pine and rainforest, and a Botanic Gardens.
Surfing, scuba diving, golf (there’s a nine-hole golf course in Kingston), horse-riding and fishing are other activities. To provide fuel for these activities, there is a wonderful selection of restaurants that serve the bounty of the island.
Norfolk Island has a subtropical climate. Temperatures are mild, never hotter than 82 degrees or cooler than 50 degrees. Cyclones can whip up between January and May.
Norfolk Island’s mild climate with little seasonal variation and evenly distributed rainfall means that there is no bad time to take cheap flights. In general, the peak tourist season runs from November to February. Holidays include Bounty Day on June 8, the anniversary of the arrival of the Pitcairn Island people, Foundation Day on March 6 and Show day, the second Monday in October.
Norfolk Island does not have a clearly defined low tourist season.
There’s a taxi service on Norfolk Island but no public transport. Renting a car is the way to get around. If driving, give way to the cows.
Norfolk Island doesn’t levy Australian Government taxes and duties and is a great shopping destination. Burnt Pine is the place to find the leading shops. It’s much cheaper than the mainland.
The Norfolk Island Museum complex in Kingston is worth a visit. The exhibits tell the story of the convict settlements and the Bounty.
Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama on Queen Elizabeth Avenue is fascinating. It’s a 360-degree panoramic painting, a series of scenes telling the story of the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian partners. Walking around this massive painting is a unique experience. It’s open seven days (Monday to Saturday 9am–5pm, Sunday 10am–3pm, and entry is via the Gallery Guava).
There is a great selection of tours to take around Norfolk Island such as a Convict Settlement Tour, which takes in the historic Georgian settlement of Kingston Walk, the cemetery and Quality Row, ruins of the New Gaol, Pier Store, Boat Shed and Crank Mill. There’s also a Night as a Convict Dinner, which is highly rated by lots of visitors. Guests dress as a convict (supplied by the tour operator) and join the Commandant for an evening of feasting, singing and dancing.