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Best Places to Visit in Norfolk Island, Top Attractions
If you’re thinking of making a visit to Norfolk Island, congratulations for stumbling upon one of the top unknown travel destinations in Australia! Norfolk Island is so close to New Zealand, New Caledonia and other south pacific islands that many don’t even know that it’s part of Australian territory and most have no idea about its incredible past. Spoiler, it wasn’t just a convict settlement! If you’re interested in history, culture, food, shopping or nature, you’re in luck. There are so many things to do on Norfolk Island it really is an ideal holiday destination for everyone. The best bit? If you’re Australian, you don’t even need a passport to explore this incredibly diverse island which feels like a totally different country! Take a tour of the historic sites, hike to the top of a mountain in the national park, taste the fresh local produce and see rare birds in their natural habitats. In this post, I’ve shared all the best of the Norfolk Island Tourism on offer as well as helping you out with all the practical information like how to get to, where to stay and how to get around Norfolk Island. Located 1,412 km east of mainland Australia and taking up just 35 km squared, Norfolk is about as remote as you can get whilst still being in Australian territory. When the British colonised the island in 1788, unlike Australia, Norfolk Island was uninhabited. Its unique natural resources which couldn’t be found on the mainland of Australian made it an area of interest to Captain Cook and this saw it become Australia’s first convict penal colony. Quite soon its isolation which brought the need to transport goods such a huge distance from the mainland became too much of a financial burden. By 1813 the island was completely abandoned and remained empty for the next 12 years. In 1824, the very isolation that was previously seen as a burden made the island attractive as a convict penal colony designated for the worst of the worst criminals sentenced to life in Australia. By 1855 Britain stopped sending criminals to Australia and the remaining convicts on Norfolk Island were transferred to Port Arthur in Tasmania. Just one year later the population on local Pitcairn Island became too big to sustain so a group of 194 people immigrated to Norfolk Island, colonising it for the final time. Something that’s interesting about the final settlers on Norfolk Island is that they are the descends of both Tahitians and the British crew of HMS Bounty who settled there after the great mutiny on the bounty led by Fletcher Christian. These settlers created their own language known as Norfolk which is a blend of Tahitian and 18th century English. Norfolk is still spoken between some of the natives today however English is now very much the most used language.
#1- Fletcher Christian's Mutiny Cyclorama
Fletcher Christian’s Mutiny Cyclorama is one of the most popular attractions in Norfolk Island. The place is constantly impressing visitors and offers an ideal way to know the history of the Bounty story. You will discover how the world’s most famous maritime mutiny created the Pitcairn community and, subsequently descendants moving to Norfolk Island. Gallery Guava, a wonderful art gallery, is situated at the Cyclorama complex and shows various artworks by popular artists. Visitors can stroll inside a circular panoramic painting and enjoy the unique 3D effect with immense artwork and a realistic perspective.
#2- The Hilli Goat Tour
The Hilli Goat is located at the spectacular cliff-top near Anson Bay. Take a short relaxing stroll around the edible gardens to interact and feed the amazing “hilli” goats and learn the history of the family farm and Hilli Goat business. At the Hilli Goat, fresh fruits and vegetables are grown with love. You will be shown the cheese process in the cheese shed. If you visit Norfolk Island, you should never miss this tour.
#3- The local art gallery
The Local Art Gallery offers original artworks, memento postcards and canvas prints. You will find some amazing artwork displayed on the walls of the gallery depicting local Norfolk Island scenes. Buying some beautiful artwork pieces can be an ideal souvenir during your wonderful holiday on Norfolk Island.
#4- Queen Victoria’s garden
The garden was built in memory of Queen Victoria. It is definitely worth a visit when you want to make your holiday on Norfolk Island more interesting. Situated next to the Hilli restaurant and the Fletchers Mutiny Cyclorama, visitors are welcomed to stroll through the gardens any time.
#5- Crystal Pool
It is located at Point Ross on the southwestern end of the island. Views from here are amazing. It can be your favorite destination if you love adventurous and fearless acts. You can reach these naturally formed rock pools only by a rope that takes you down a dirt track. Before going to Crystal Pool, it is important to ask at the Visitor Information Centre or your accommodation hosts for weather conditions and tide times. It is definitely not suggested for the elderly and cowardly.
#6- All Saints Church and Archeological Museum
It is truly a beautiful building with great history. You will love the peace and silence in this historic monument. The museum was built in just seven months with incredible architecture that will leave you speechless. Your holiday on Norfolk Island will be incomplete if you don’t visit this museum. Beautifully constructed and delightfully cool, this is a great place to relax and enjoy history. The church is still in use.
#7- National Park and Botanical Garden
This is the most spectacular botanical garden where you will love watching a diverse collection of flora and birds. A beautiful walk through the national park will offer breathtaking views. The Norfolk Island Botanic Garden has the Discovery Centre, where viewers can learn more about the incredible range of plants and animals found on Norfolk Island.
#8- Captain Cook’s Monument
It is a beautiful destination with breathtaking scenery and incredible view. The park around the monument has picnic tables and BBQs, making it a perfect spot to visit on Norfolk Island. When you plan to visit Norfolk Island keep this place in your list of popular destinations. It’s a place of picturesque beauty and rich history. A must-visit place for your picnic and become even more beautiful with a perfect setting as the sun descends.
#9- Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area
When you travel to Norfolk Island, you must visit Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area to enjoy Georgian architecture. This is a fascinating place, well-preserved buildings, fascinating ruins and past brutalities. When you wander around these areas, you will see the past as it has come alive, particularly with a local guide giving you a rundown on past events. There are several museums which can all be visited with just one pass. You will enjoy the beautiful views across the sea. Anyone interested will truly find this a real treat. Whether you self-explore or do an island tour, Kingston is a must to see.
#10- Emily Bay Lagoon
It is a tropical beach with spotless sand and blue water, and you can see fish darting very clearly. This is one of Norfolk Island’s most popular swimming beaches. The reef-sheltered waters of this beach is perfect for a paddle. If you love adventure, swim out to the pontoon and relax in the sun before plunging back into the bay. Furthermore, the snorkeling here is quite exceptional. During low tide, you can swim out to the reef where neon-bright fish weave around the coral. If you’d rather stay dry, hop on the glass-bottomed boat, which makes everyday trips out to the teeming reef. It’s home to over 60 individual marine species, and that’s not including the anemones and corals.
#11- Norfolk Island Cemetery
The cemetery backs onto a quiet and relaxing beach and cliff. It’s a peaceful spot for a thoughtful stroll. Some of the headstones are captivating, dating back to the early 1800s settlers, military folk and convicts, some who were executed. When you visit this place, you will also be reminded of the many Pitcairn Island descendants from the Mutiny on the Bounty story, through several rows of headstones from the Nobbs, Evans, Quintal, McCoy and Christian families. There is so much more to a wander around this cemetery – one of the oldest in Australia.
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