Remote Norfolk Island has an interesting, albeit somewhat brutal, history but what else is there to do on the island? Actually there is a lot to keep visitors occupied. Here are a few things to start with.
Historic Kingston was once the primary settlement on Norfolk Island and is home to the ruins of the second penal settlement that was on the island. You can wander around the ruins of the prison, hospital, crankmill and several stores. Seeing these buildings made me really glad I had never been a patient in the hospital. Other buildings have been restored and one is now used by the local government, while one of the officers’ houses is open to the public.
|Kingston ruins, Norfolk Island|
Explore the graveyard
Eerie as this may sound a walk around the cemetery on Norfolk Island is very interesting. The older graves are the ones nearer the sea and the headstones often tell the story of how the deceased died and details of those they left behind. Combined with the dates, these stories provide a lot of information about what life was like on the island back then. One headstone exposes a particular episode in the island’s history, when a man was murdered by inmates of the penal settlement. The inmates were put to death and are buried on the seaward side of the cemetery boundary fence, now known as ‘Murderers Mound’.
|Norfolk Island graveyard|
Norfolk Island Museum
Four buildings make up the Norfolk Island Museum, the Pier Store, 10 Quality Row, the Commissariat and the HMS Sirius Museum. The buildings house all sorts of artefacts recovered over the different periods of the island’s history. They include Polynesian glass beads, leg irons, cannon balls, porcelain and items such as the ship’s bell and the anchor from the HMS Sirius that sank off Kingston.
|10 Quality Row, Norfolk Island|
Captain Cook Memorial
This narrow outcrop of the north west coast of the island claims to be the first spot Captain Cook laid eyes on in 1774. Who knows if that is true? The lush grass, coastal trees and peaceful ocean views, however, make it a lovely spot to take advantage of the walking trails along the coast.
|Fantastic coastal views from the Norfolk Island Captain Cook Memorial|
Climb Mount Pitt for the panoramic view
Mount Pitt is one of the highest points on Norfolk Island and rewards those who journey up there with panoramic views of the island. You can walk or drive up through the National Park. I’d suggest driving as the road is very twisty and narrow and, although there is little traffic, it is not very pedestrian-friendly.
|Panoramic views are available from the top of Mount Pitt on Norfolk Island|
Dine under the stars at the Island fish fry
One of the island’s tour companies offers an island fish fry evening where you dine under the stars on fresh fish and other local dishes as the sun sets over Puppy’s Point. There is also an introduction to local culture by way of live entertainment such as music and Tahitian dancing.
|Island fish fry, Norfolk Island|
Visit Anson Bay
A little way north along the coast from Puppy’s Point, and past several fields of cows, is Anson Bay which is a stunning little beach below tall cliffs lined with Norfolk Pine trees. The beach is beautiful and the views from above are stunning.
|Anson Bay, Norfolk Island|
Shopping in Burnt Pine
Burnt Pine is the largest settlement on the island and home to all the shops. Whether it is souvenirs, locally produced artwork, unique fashions or local confectionery, there are plenty of shops to keep shoppers happy.
Make like the cows and roam free! Norfolk Island is small and by simply following the road network you are rewarded with amazing views. If you fancy a more pedestrian route however there are also lots of walking paths, such as through the National Park and around the Captain Cook Memorial. Walking tours are also offered.
|Walkers on Norfolk Island are rewarded with great views|
Feel dwarfed by the enormous and impressive Norfolk Pine trees as you make your way around Norfolk Island’s pristine 9-hole golf course in Kingston. Enjoy the peace and sea views as you work on your handicap.
|Norfolk Island has a 9-hole golf course|
The Pacific waters around Norfolk Island are teeming with fish so fishing charters are popular. Red Throat Emperor and Kingfish are commonly caught and make great eating. I’m not into fishing myself but my partner and his uncles went twice and provided us (family of eight) with enough fish to eat for every meal for the whole week we were on the island!
Kayak the reef
The fringing reef along the coast near Kingston poses a major hazard to shipping but provides kayakers with hours of entertainment. Set out from Emily Bay to familiarise yourself with your craft before hitting less sheltered water.
|Kayaking at Emily Bay, Norfolk Island|
Glass bottom boat tours
If you’d prefer someone else to be in charge of your craft sign up for a glass bottom boat tour and get a bird’s eye view of the reef, without even getting wet.
Have Dinner with locals
To learn more firsthand about life on Norfolk Island, sign up for a progressive dinner. One of the island tour companies will transport you to a few local houses where you have one course with each host and hear about their lives.
Enjoy a show
If you prefer history to be acted out in front of you instead of reading about it in the Museum several shows tell the history of Norfolk Island with the Pitcairners Show, the Mutiny of the Bounty Show and the Sound and Light Show on offer in the evenings.
Have you visited Norfolk Island? What would you add to this list?