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Five Things First Time Travellers To Norfolk Island Should Know
- Australians don't need a passport to enter Norfolk Island. If you're from another country you'll need a multiple entry visa to Australia. This is because the island shares immigration with its larger neighbour.
- There is no public transport on the island. While it's small enough to walk its circumference, it's easy enough to rent a car or a bicycle. Car hire starts at AUD 45 a day and AUD 15 to AUD 20 for a scooter or bicycle.
- English is the official language of Norfolk Island. While all the islanders speak it, they often use the Norfolk dialect amongst themselves. The language is a mix of Bounty mutineer English and Tahitian which originated on Pitcairn in the 1790s.
- There is limited internet coverage on the island, and it's not free. If you don't want to unplug for a few days, you can get online for AUD 5 an hour with much slower download speeds than Australia.
- The island doesn't cater for a variety of diets. While vegetarians won't have a hard time finding food at restaurants, vegans will struggle to find suitable options. There is also no Kosher or Halal meals as there isn't a Jewish or Muslim presence on the island.
Best Time To Visit Norfolk Island
With a wonderful subtropical climate, the best time to visit Norfolk Island is all year round.
But if you want picturesque days without the threat of rain, book your flights to Norfolk during the dry season. From September to March the hot summer weather reaches highs of 25°C, perfect for taking a dip in the ocean.
During winter, you'll still be able to enjoy water activities if you can handle the colder waters, but you'll need to pack some warmer layers. Temperatures drop to 14°C at night and hover around 19°C during the day. April to August is also the wettest time of year, and it's not uncommon for flights to be cancelled if the weather is bad.
With Norfolk Island not as popular as nearby New Zealand or Fiji, you don't need to worry too much about overcrowding or high rates. Prices for accommodation stay the same throughout the year, and you could always disappear into the tranquil wilderness if you need a break from humanity.
Norfolk Island Towns
Due to its small size, there are no cities on Norfolk Island. Instead, it's home to two large towns.
Kingston is the capital of the Australian South Pacific Territory. It was the second settlement on the island and is full of Norfolk history.
Visit the Kingston and Arthur Vale Historic Area while in town. It's one of eleven sites that make up the Australian Convict Sites and is recognised by UNESCO for its rarity, historical significance and social value.
About 3 km south of Kingston is the town of Burnt Pine. It's the commercial hub and the largest settlement on the island.
Burnt Pine is also the gateway to the region. It's the closest town to Norfolk Island Airport, and travel to other parts involves passing through this bustling region.
Use your stop here to stock up on supplies, visit the quaint cafes and as a base for exploring the nearby national park.
Top Attractions in Norfolk Island
The Norfolk Island National Park
Covering 10% of the island, Norfolk Island National Park offers nature lovers an abundance of activities.
There are beautiful hiking trails that wind through the lush vegetation and the island's coastal fringe. A short drive to the summit of Mt Pitt will reward you with spectacular panoramic views. Visit the Captain Cook monument and take a walk under the tallest tree ferns in the world.
For bird lovers, keep a lookout for the rare green parrots that were rescued from the brink of extinction. The park also has a variety of other endemic birds such as the Norfolk Island boobook owl and the Sacred kingfisher.
Emily Bay is one of Australia's top beaches. Its crystal clear waters and sandy white beaches attract sun worshipers from around the world.
The lagoon is protected from the wind and the rough seas, making it ideal for sunbathing and snorkelling.
The reef near the beach is full of colourful coral and fish. But if you don't fancy getting into the water, you can take a glass bottom boat tour around the bay.
Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area
The Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area is one of the most fascinating spots on the island.
It's the only site in Australia and shows evidence of early Polynesian settlement and forms part of Australia's UNESCO convict sites.
Entrance to the heritage area is free, with only the four museums charging a small AUD 25 fee for unlimited access. Join a guided tour to learn more about the conditions endured at this former convict settlement. Follow the walking trails and visit the ruins of the jails and a human-powered crank mill.
But don't only visit this site during the day. Come back to KAVHA in the evening to witness the buildings and ruins all lit up.
Standing at 320m above sea level, Mount Pitt is the most accessible spot for a 360° view of the whole island.
The best part is that you don't even need to hike a steep trail to appreciate its beauty. Just hop in your car and follow the road up to the summit. On a good day, you'll even be able to see the nearby Phillip and Nepean, Norfolk's two uninhabited satellite islands.
Pack a meal and enjoy the magical sunsets and sunrises or take the short walk to Norfolk's highest peak - Mount Bates.
Just 15 minutes from Burnt Pine lies one of Norfolk Island's most beautiful and remote beaches. Located at the bottom of a cliff face, Anson Bay's rugged coastline and turquoise waters await.
While it's not as easy to access like Emily Bay, it's well worth it if you want to escape the crowds. After you conquer the walk down, the entire beach will be yours to explore.
It's also a great spot for surfing, but it's not ideal for swimming. The shore drops off quickly, and you could find yourself in deep water if you're not careful.
Major International Airports in Norfolk Island
- Norfolk Island Airport