If there is a place on our planet with the right to be called paradise, then it has to be Norfolk Island. Nestled in the middle of the South Pacific, this lone volcanic patch in a million square kilometres of untamed ocean is home to one of the most isolated communities on earth. This, combined with its great historical significance, is one of the main reasons why Norfolk Island is a must-see destination. You can also find great accommodation at Norfolk Island on a budget. However, if you are thinking of touring this island, you may get overwhelmed by the number of great places you can visit and the places you can stay. Below is a rundown of the top twenty things to do on Norfolk Island.
This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Its sparkling clear water is separated from the rest of the ocean and waves by a reef. Thus, it is the safest spot on the island for you to go swimming in the vicinity of high waves. In fact, it is safe enough for you to bring children and enjoy swimming at any time of the day. Besides, it’s only a couple of kilometres from the best accommodation on Norfolk Island, including Hideaway Retreat.
St. Barnabas Chapel
History is one of the best things that Norfolk Island has to offer and St. Barnabas Chapel is full of it. This beautiful church has a rich history. It was the mother church of the Church of England mission in Melanesia in the 19th and early 20th century and it is still used for regular church services today. Thus, this is a great place for you to not only enjoy history but also experience inner peace.
Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama
This is also an attraction with a huge historical significance. Here, you can learn a lot about the history of the people of Norfolk Island and how their ancestors arrived on the island, via a large 360 degree mural hand painted by two Norfolk Island artists. You will also have an opportunity to learn about their connection with the Mutiny on the Bounty.
Norfolk Island Cemetery
This is a place that could be sad and still interesting at the same time. If you take time to meander through the cemetery, you will realise that each tombstone carries great stories about the souls buried there, including stories about their demise. The cemetery faces the ocean and you can enjoy the tranquillity of the site as you read about the fallen pioneers.
Mount Pitt is the second highest point on Norfolk Island and the only spot to get a 360 degree view of the entire Island. You can hire a car to get to the summit quickly. It’s most interesting during the sunset and it is a great place to capture some really beautiful photos. You can also take a short 10 minute walk to Mt Bates which is the highest point on the island by 5 metres.
Built in 1839, this has been the main entry point to the island when arriving by sea since that time. You can enjoy watching the waves and boats coming in and out. All the sea cargo delivered to the island comes in via this pier unless sea conditions are unfavourable, in which case they are brought in through Cascade Pier instead. If you are lucky enough to be here when a container ship arrives, you can enjoy watching expert seamen manoeuvring the lighter boats in order to offload the cargo.
Norfolk Island Museum, Kingston
Touring this museum will surely be worth your time and money. Here, you will learn a great deal of the island’s history. You will access detailed historical artefacts of the convict years and other periods as well. These exciting historical buildings can easily be toured on foot.
National Park & Botanic Garden
Norfolk Island is a small island, and obviously, this national park is relatively small. However, it is a great opportunity to see some rare, unique, and endangered species of plants. The pathways are properly marked, and you can enjoy your nature walk without the fear of getting lost.
Pitcairn Settlers Village
This is a village with great historical importance. You can enjoy the original Bailey gardens and homesteads. Some of the amazing attractions here include the out-buildings, dairy, a museum, an ex-New Zealand army hut full of wartime memories and much more.
Queen Victoria’s Garden
These are thriving botanical gardens dedicated to the memories of Queen Victoria, from whom the Pitcairn Islanders got the island back in 1856. The garden is on the property of the late Marie Bailey, next to the Fletcher’s Mutiny cyclorama.
This is a great place to enjoy swimming. Reached via a steep track with ropes to assist you on your way up and down, it is not for the faint hearted. The pools are only accessible on the lower tides. For the best experience, you should go when there is minimal swell as well. The high rock edges provide a platform from which you can jump into the deepest pool. It is advisable that you should only do this if you are a good swimmer and under the guidance of a person with local knowledge about the pool and tides.
Captain Cook’s Monument
This is a historical site on which Captain Cook landed during his second voyage around the world. It is one of the greatest attractions found within Norfolk Island National Park. It offers great cliff top areas and coastal walking tracks. It is also a great place to take photographs.
Puppy’s Point is a beautiful grassy area located on a cliff with a great scenic view. There are picnic tables and having dinner there with your family as you watch the sunset can be quite magical. It is also a great place to take scenic photographs.
An idyllic, secluded beach, accessible via a zig zag track, Anson Bay is the perfect spot to soak up some rays and have a refreshing dip in the ocean. You can swim here although the surf can get a little large at times and it does get deep quite quickly. Make a day of it and take a picnic and if you stay till just after dusk, you will encounter the mutton birds coming in to nest on your walk back up the track – or adjust as you deem needed.
The Ferny Lane Theatre
This is a wonderful community entertainment centre that was converted to a theatre from a shop. It is a cultural attraction popular for great historical plays, school plays, and even recent movies. The theatre has comfortable armchairs and you can enjoy a great movie experience as you take a glass of wine or beer if you want to. During winter you will be offered with a blanket to cover your legs.
More commonly known as Bumboras Beach or “Bumbies” to the locals, Cresswell Bay is located on the edge of Bumbora Reserve. This is a secluded bay and you have to drive for a short distance to get there. Boardwalks will give you access to the beach. It offers a great scenic view, and it is very quiet, making it an ideal destination for a romantic getaway. If you venture down on the lower tides, you will find a myriad of rock pools to investigate or cool off in.
Norfolk Island Golf Course
Whether you play golf regularly or once in a blue moon, this is a must-see destination if you are planning a holiday to Norfolk Island. Even if you don’t play golf, you can enjoy your drink as you watch others play on the beautiful lawns near the ocean.
Despite its ominous name, of which no one is 100% certain of its origins, Slaughter Bay is the best place to go snorkeling on the island. It runs parallel to the reef and you drive past it to reach Emily Bay. On the lower tides you can walk straight in and start seeing coral and an array of different colourful aquatic life before you are even waist deep. It is the second most southern beach in the world that provides such exquisite and abundant coral reefs and if you’re lucky enough, you may catch a glimpse of a sea turtle or two.
Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area
This is an interesting historical site especially for those who would like to learn the history of Norfolk Island and its people. It is characterised by a green area with well-maintained museums, ruins, and bookshop. Each artefact comes with loads of information that is quite exciting and nostalgic.
Hundred Acres Reserve
Hundred Acre Reserve is a great attraction for those who enjoy nature walks. There are a variety of different bird species that nest and inhabit this reserve. At certain times of the year you can encounter the Shearwaters and their chicks nesting on the ground near the cliffs. Be very careful of the muttonbird holes, they are everywhere, but you are unlikely to catch a glimpse of this bird unless you head down at dark. If you are looking for a peaceful, beautiful picnic site in Norfolk Island, then the Hundred Acres Reserve is one of the best options.