Try a Long Weekend on Norfolk Island

A long weekend on Norfolk Island offers an island getaway from hectic life to a less complicated and extremely beautiful Norfolk Island holiday.

Rugged cliffs and rolling green hills studded with trademark Norfolk pine trees are the first sign that the Air New Zealand flight is about to land on the eight by five-kilometre speck in the South Pacific Ocean for your Norfolk Island getaway.

There are a few things you need to know about a holiday on Norfolk Island straight up. This international destination still part of Australia. It is an island where cows have the right of way and where a friendly wave to everyone you pass is mandatory. It's also a place where people are better known by their nicknames and crime is scarce.

Although the island is popular with older travellers, there is much for active visitors to enjoy. The overriding serenity, golden beaches, Norfolk Island weather and scenic landscape are a perfect antidote to the stresses of mainland life. The friendly folk at Norfolk Island Tourism is where you can book accommodation, plus they have lots of things to do in Norfolk for a long weekend.

Here is how I spent four days on Norfolk Island

FOUR DAY LONG WEEKEND ON NORFOLK ISLAND

DAY ONE

The two-hour flight from Brisbane does not need a passport yet leaves from the international airport to arrive at this Australian territory 1000km from the coastline. Passengers walk across the tarmac to process through Australian Border Control and Customs, but it is a relaxed and friendly welcome.

You'll arrive mid-afternoon, just in time pick up a hire car at the airport (I had a red mini moke) and have a look around the island before you settle in at your accommodation. A trip up Mt Pitt for the 360-degree view is a must.

I stayed at Ocean Breeze Cottages which perch on a ridge overlooking the ocean. Yes, there is an ocean breeze which wafts through the comfortable villa-style dwelling. It has a full kitchen (plenty of space to cook up the fresh produce of Norfolk Island) a spacious lounge area with a covered verandah and ensuite bathroom.

DINNER

Book ahead for dinner within the atmospheric wood lined walls of Dino's at Bumboras which is filled with an eclectic mix of art and chandeliers. Dino's restaurant is one of the best of the island and an excellent place to sample local cuisine such as Tahitian fish salad. Their menu is filled with fresh local produce and some traditional local dishes to try. Say hello to their corgi who roams outside the restaurant. She is a cutie!

DAY TWO OF YOUR LONG WEEKEND ON NORFOLK ISLAND

MORNING

Pop into the Golden Orb bookshop and Café for breakfast. The bookshop is excellent to browse. I came away with a book filled with traditional Norfolk Island recipes.

The Sunday arts and craft markets are just opposite the café and operate from 8.30am to 10.30am. Try the local bananas.

For an insight into Norfolk Island's history, put a stop at the Fletcher's Mutiny Cyclorama and Guava art gallery on Queen Elizabeth Avenue. Created by talented artists, this 360-degree mural really gives visitors the feeling that they are witnessing the 1789 Bounty mutiny.

AFTERNOON

Pack your swimming for the next stop, the World Heritage Listed area of Kingston which dates to 1788. This is a must do for your Norfolk Island holiday.

It's a peaceful place where cows wander the roads grazing on the bright green grass and historic homes line Quality Row. Government House leads the way towards the island's golf club and a graveyard filled with sad tales of young lives cut short.

The gently curved sand beach of Emily Bay is the best swimming spot on the island. Its waters are protected from the sea by a reef which makes for pretty viewing from a glass-bottomed boat. You can also hire snorkels and flippers and walk out from the beach at Slaughter Bay at low tide for a glimpse at the magical underwater world.

The Kingston Pier, convict buildings, museum and ruins tell the story of ages past when times were hard, and life was very different.

DINNER

Try another local favourite, Hilli's restaurant for your evening meal where you can taste the local pork.

NORFOLK ISLAND GETAWAY DAY 3

MORNING

Head to the Olive Café in the Village for Norfolk Island holiday breakfast for what I think the best coffee on the island.

Book yourself on a tour through one of Norfolk Island's more recent famous residents, novelist Colleen McCullough. Her home is home is an eye-opening browse.

Tours of her house started after her death in 2015 and give visitors an insight into her eccentric world of antique Chinese silk panels, French gilt chairs, over the top wallpapered rooms and an overfilled fern conservatory.

You'll see the now vintage IBM typewriter where she wrote many of her 25 novels and photos of her well-loved cat George. If you haven't read The Thorn Birds, which sold more than 33 million copies and was turned into television mini-series, there's a chance to pick up a copy in the gift shop at the end.

AFTERNOON

After lunch, it is time for some exercise. Try Island sightseeing on two wheels with a tour on an electric bike from Norfolk Island Fitness. Even the toughest hills are easy to handle with level five electric power under your seat.

A visit to the cellar door at Roderick and Noelene Buffett McAlpine's Two Chimney Winery is worthwhile not only for the fine wines but also the delicious vineyard platters. Created from the best fresh daily produce from Nolene's family garden, these artistic platters look as good as they taste.

Enjoy the sunset with a short drive to Puppies Point and home-grown picnic platter from Picnics in Paradise.

DINNER

Progressive Dinners are held as a tour every Monday and Wednesday. A bus takes guests to three island homes for a three-course meal where the hosts tell the stories of their lineage and island life.

You'll hear tall tales and true about what happened to mutineer Fletcher Christian along with how to make a living island style.

Born from a tumultuous history of convict brutality, Tahitian sojourns and resettled mutineers, the island's community has a solid grasp of its heritage and proudly speaks the local Norfolk language. Many residents trace their lineage back through generations of Adams, Christians, Buffets and a few other family names living on subdivided sections of their original land grants.

DAY FOUR – YOUR NORFOLK ISLAND HOLIDAY IS ALMOST OVER!

The flight home leaves after midday, so there's still time to do some exploring. Norfolk's coastline demands to be travelled, and a hire car allows you to do that at your own pace.

Norfolk Island's pristine environment and isolation mean much of the food eaten on the island is also grown here. You'll find roadside stalls a handy place to buy preserves and produce or the Saturday and Sunday Markets held near the Visitor Information Centre. Pick up some of the excellent local beef at Slick & Sons just near the airport and don't miss the chance try the local Hilli Goat Cheese.

GETTING THERE

Air New Zealand operates direct flights to Norfolk Island from Sydney (Monday, Friday) and flights to Norfolk Island from Brisbane (Tuesday, Saturday).

Tempted to visit? As they say on Norfolk, see yourley morla! (See you tomorrow).

Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled as a guest of Norfolk Island Tourism Bureau and Air New Zealand.


EAT DRINK AND BE KERRY - Try a Long Weekend on Norfolk Island

Locals call it the Norfolk bug
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