Norfolk Island is unique amongst Pacific Islands because of its terrain, history and people. The shoreline is rocky and rugged with ocean rollers pounding the cliffs and its rolling green hills are reminiscent of England. Several sandy beaches offer access to the surf and there is a romantic lagoon with a coral reef that offers excellent diving.
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Located about 1,610 kilometres ENE of Sydney, Norfolk Island is volcanic in nature and has a total area of 3,455 hectares, one-third of which is national parks and reserves. There are two smaller islands lying to the south called Nepean and Philip both of which are uninhabited.
CAPITAL AND MAJOR CENTRES
The small township has a population of some 2,000 permanent residents made up of Pitcairn descendants, New Zealanders and Australians. However, there can be up to a thousand visitors on the island even though government legislation had sent a limit to a number allowed at any one time.
Most of the residents are descendants of Fletcher Christian and the Bounty mutineers, a unique mix of English and Tahitians. English is the official language, but the locals also speak Norfolk, a mixture of 18th century west country English with a dash of Tahitian and Gaelic, developed on Pitcairn Island.
Discovered by Captain James Cook in 1774, he liked it so much he named the island in honour of the ninth Duchess of Norfolk. With the foundation of Sydney Cove in 1788, Norfolk became the second oldest British settlement and was set up as a penal colony. By 1810, more than a quarter of the island had been cleared but be4cause it lacked a suitable safe harbour, it was abandoned in 1814 and its convicts sent to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania).
In 1825, Norfolk Island was resettled as a penal colony and became renowned for its brutality. Laboured to establish the colony, building the prison, military barracks, boat sheds, crank mill, salt house and official residences which still stand today beautifully restored. This settlement was finally closed down in 1856.
The current community is made up of descendants of the Bounty who petitioned Queen Victoria when Pitcairn became too small to hold their growing numbers. In 1914, the island was placed under the authority of Australia, and in 1979 it was empowered to elect its own parliament.
Home of the Norfolk pine, the largest of these magnificent trees is 57 metres and has a girth of 11 metres. There is a prolific bird life and in the lagoon and open reefs, there are more than 100 varieties of hard and soft corals. One-third of the island's land mass is parkland, national parks and reserves and there is a specially designed waste disposal area so no harm is done to the eco-system. Nearby at Philip and Nepean islands are large bird sanctuaries that have been left untouched.
You can visit historical Kingston, the tombstones in Kingston's cemetery, Mt. Bates, Mt. Pitt, Emily Bay and the historical chapel of St. Barnabas. There is horse-riding and bushwalking along rugged cliff tops, trails where lemons and mandarins grown wild. Explore the island on a 4WD tour and fish in waters off Philip Island where people have been known to catch four fish on one line. Clear night skies are a stargazer's delight.
WHERE TO STAY
There are 56 accommodation houses which range from small, intimate guesthouses to medium resort style hotels, serviced and unserviced self-contained apartments and cottages.
There is no public transport. Car hire is reasonable and motor scooters and bush bikes are also available for here. Taxis are limited.
FOOD AND ENTERTAINMENT
There are no nightclubs, however some of the hotels have live bands and there are numerous theme nights. There are more than 20 restaurants and nine take-away bars.
Norfolk is a sporting paradise so there is golf, bowls, tennis, fishing, swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, horseriding, bushwalking, play target shooting and windsurfing. Excellent fishing is also available.
Local importers pay a low import duty on goods and there is no sales tax you can pick up bargains on cigarettes, alcohol, jewellery, porcelain, perfume, cameras, cosmetic, knitwear, shoes, electronics and other luxury goods.
The Trading Post, Norfolk Island
Despite its colourful and even blood thirsty history, Norfolk island is now a tranquil haven for diving visitors.
Bounty Divers operate out of Kingston to the semi tropical reefs and bays found around the island. Rocky reefs, caves and arches complement hard coral reefs and walls.
Sydney Bay is a short stroll from Kingston with ample opportunities to snorkel or dive with the myriad colourful reef fish flitting about the vibrant coral gardens. Boat dives to the offshore reefs and rocky outcrops reward the scuba diver with convoluted reefs coated with hard corals and swirling schools of reef fish.
Huge grouper, masses of schooling kingfish, molten flows of silver trevally and curtains of big eyes filling every cave are all common sights around historic Norfolk Island.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
|CLIMATE||Sub-tropical. Winter averages 19 degrees C. Summer averages 24 degrees C.|
|CLOTHING||Casual clothing, good walking shoes. Warmer clothes need for winter evenings.|
|ELECTRICITY||240 volts AC 60 cycles.|
|TIME ZONE||GMT +11.5 hours or AEST + 1.5 hours.|
|VISAS AND HEALTH||
A 30 day permit granted on arrival. A 25 dollar departure fee is payable on leaving. Children under 16 years of age are exempt. International businesses need a multiple Australian visa and Australian visitors require either a valid passport or certificate of identity.
THE COLONIAL OF NORFOLK ISLAND
The Colonial is a charming resort featuring, as its name suggests, colonial architecture and decor. Nestled in beautifully landscaped grounds, handy to Norfolk Island's tax free shopping centre, it is the perfect place to stay during your sojourn to this unique part of the South Pacific.
Accommodation at The Colonial is in a range of rooms all of which of a modern conveniences including ceiling fans, colour TV, direct dial telephone, clock/radio, refrigerator and coffee/tea making facility. Children up to 12 yeas of age stay free and there is a guest laundry. The Colonial of Norfolk is home to one of the island's finest restaurants, Annabells, as well as a cocktail bar, and a coffee sho for light snacks. Regular theme nights offer varied cuisine, and the hotel's conference and function facilities can cater for up to 150 guests.
Other amenities that will enhance your stay on Norfolk Island include the swimming pool, barbecue areas, tour information, a lobby shop, postal service, and more. The colonial of Norfolk provides all the little comforts of home, leaving you free to enjoy the traditions and hospitality of this historic piece of the Pacific.
The Colonial of Norfolk Island
For More Information Contact:
NORFOLK ISLAND VISITORS INFORMATION CENTRE