I’ve been inside Egyptian Pyramids, atop skyscrapers in New York, underground in Vietnam war tunnels…and one of my favourite ever holidays was to Norfolk Island. Have you even heard of it? Not many people have. It’s a tiny paradise off the coast of Australia, almost parallel to Brisbane.
What makes it so wonderful you ask? In short, everything! Its breathtaking beauty, the friendly locals (human and bovine), the fascinating convict history – it’s all so charming. I went without expectations and was blown away by everything Norfolk Island had to offer.
You’ll get your first glimpse of Emily Bay as you fly in, so make sure you sit on the left side of the plane to get the best view. The water colour is like you see in glossy travel magazines. The famous pine trees have a calming effect as they fill the landscape. You can snorkel with the local fish and turtles right off the beach. Or if you prefer a drier view, the Glaas Bohtham Boet tours are tremendous fun. Just watch out for the herds of cows wandering roadside on your drive to get to the Bay – they have right of way.
If you’re not too scared, the Kingston area where Emily Bay is, comes alive at night. There are regular ghost and cemetery tours through the convict ruins where you can see how the convicts lived and hear their stories of hardship. I can’t say I saw anything spooky, but it was interesting to learn the history of the island and a bit of fun none the less.
On the west side of the island, Anson Bay is a true hidden gem. The view from the cliff top is stunning and the entrance to get down to the bottom is a secret to be revealed by the locals. The walk down was steep and winding for about 20-30 minutes (including photo stops), but quite manageable. Once at the beach, I could sit and watch the waves roll in under the sun all day – and I would have if I wasn’t so hungry from the walk down! Heed my warning and take a picnic lunch with you.
And I can’t forget the Norfolk wave! A little two finger wave from the steering wheel to every car you pass. At first you forget and feel awful, but it soon becomes a habit. So much so, that when you return home you keep doing it without thinking, and I’ll be honest, it gets you some strange looks! It also made me a little sad to realise we don’t have that same friendliness on the mainland.
But I think the best part about Norfolk Island is how easy it was to holiday there. It’s only a 2.5 hour flight from Sydney, from anywhere on the island you’re never more than a 15-20 minute drive from the main town, you can eat out or self-cater as much as you like and with no mobile reception, you can really switch off.
What’s not to love?