To get to Norfolk Island, you’ll most likely fly in as even anchorages cannot be relied on in all weather conditions. Going on a road trip to Norfolk Island can be a fantastic adventure, taking short day trips on this 8 x 5 kilometre island! Getting out for hikes, awesome walks, picnics and water adventures is recommended to gather the rich identity of this Southern Pacific with its stunning landscapes, historical sites, and a unique culture.
The island’s permanent inhabitants number under 2,000. As descendants of British mutineers on Her Majesty’s naval ship The Bounty over 200 years ago, today maintain culture, traditions and sustainable tourism.
Here’s a suggested itinerary that’s changeable for weather conditions or your mood for a road trip on Norfolk Island:
Arrive Norfolk Island
Day 1: Fly into Norfolk Island Airport.
Pick up your rental car or if you have prior arrangements relating to your stay, collect your vehicle. Begin your roadtrip around Norfolk Island!
Check into your accommodation. Then visit the Norfolk Island Visitor Information Centre to get maps and information. Then for the rest of the day, head to the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA): Explore Kingston, part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Australian Convict Sites. As a living heritage site, KAVHA continues to contribute to the Norfolk Island community. Relatively well preserved Georgian buildings and evocative ruins adorn this site with the first Settlement (1788-1814) and the 2nd Settlement (1825-1855) visible. The worst prisoners from New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) were sent here to suffer ‘extremist punishment short of death’. Conditions were harsh and inhumane, inciting many murders and mutinies. Entry to this area is free and you can take a self-guided tour around historic military and government buildings and the ruins of old gaols. Or, enter the Norfolk Island Kingston Museum to gain deeper insights into the islands colourful past. Norfolk Island Museums Pass allows you to save money on your tickets and visit all four of the island’s excellent museums as well as take part in two guided tours. Tickets can be bought at Royal Engineers Office or often referred to as the Kingston Information Centre.
From the REO, head up Rooty Hill Road to Queen Elizabeth Lookout for views across to Phillip and Nepean islands. It’s a short drive up to the lookout but if you are thinking of walking there, it’s a steep and long trek! We recommend the short drive from Burnt Pine to Quality Row, then a short drive up Rooty Hill Road to the lookout. Queen Elizabeth Lookout offers a cracking view of the elegant Georgian buildings on Quality Row where, during the island’s 19th-century penal colony, a few fortunate residents lived. You’ll also spot from this view a rather glorious gold course.
If golfing is your thing, or you’d like it to be, or simply want to visit the 19th hole, it has a unique Georgian clubhouse with grass that stretches down to the beach-fringed Pacific Ocean, with Nepean and Phillip Islands offshore as backdrops. Cost for a round is moderate and clubs can be hired.
Time left or fancy a swim or a snorkel in the ocean? Head to Emily Bay, one of Norfolk Island’s best swimming beaches with an offshore pontoon, known locally as ‘the raft’, from where you can jump into the water. Snorkel out to the reef to enjoy the frolic of over 60 marine species and around the corals beneath the surface. But is this is not you, catch a glass-bottomed boat, which makes daily trips out to the teeming reef. You could easily spend a whole day/s out discovering the underwater wonder of Norfolk Island.
Day 2: Explore the North Coast
Wake up to another glorious day of discovery at Anson Bay and surrounds. Head north to Anson Bay for stunning coastal views. Inclined to be quite private, Anson Bay is like Lombard Street in San Fran, only it isn’t an urban zig zag road, rather a trail that snakes down to the sea and sand below, while admiring the once more, spectacular views. Pack your picnic or forage at one of the Islands organic produce from the nearby roadside ”honesty boxes”. Pack swimming gear, and the usual protections against the elements.
Drive around to Captain Cook’s Monument: a humble stone obelisk roughly marks the spot, where Captain Cook landed on Norfolk Island during his second round-the-world voyage in 1774. From here you’ll see Norfolk pines dotted on indented cliffs and the South Pacific Ocean crashing . into shore. Many land, water and seabirds call Norfolk home so birdwatchers are in for a treat with gulls, terns, skimmers, black noddies and red-tailed tropic birds observed
Look out for formations such Bird Rock, Elephant Rock and Green Pool Stone. For hikers, try the Bridle Track (1.7-kilometre one-way), downhill from the monument. Don’t forget to take water, hat and walking shoes! This track also joins many other tracks – visit Norfolk Island National Park.
In Norfolk Islands Botanic Gardens and Cascade Reserve you’ll discover endemic plants on your stroll through 5.5 hectares of lush vegetation located on Mission Road, less than a 5-minute drive from Burnt Pine. Tired of picnics? Keep it interesting by poking around in honesty boxes for a treat or local organic produce.
Located on the west coast of Norfolk Island near Anson Bay, Puppy’s Point is sunset territory, with people gathering here for sundowners at dusk. Keeping a keen eye on the sun on the horizon, you’ll love seeing the myriad of colours nature throws at you as it’s time for twilight. Around here you can explore Point Hunter and Puppy’s Point for its dramatic cliffs and coastal scenery. Only minutes away is the South Coast, but why not save it for another day, and discover instead the experience of paddock-to-plate dining at Bounty Bar & Grill, located at 14 Ferny Lane, Burnt Pine.
Day 3: Discover the South Coast
Located on the corner of Anson Bay Road and Headstone Road, a 5-minute drive from Burnt Pine is St. Barnabas Chapel. A beautifully crafted historic church built by missionaries who built it complete with mother-of-pearl inlays, stained-glass windows and a ship-like vaulted timber ceiling. Interested in delving deeper into its history? Check for tours at the Visitor Information Centre and go with a guide. Wander through the small cemetery beside the chapel in the Melanesian Mission Memorial Garden to gain a sense of the past.
Slaughter Bay is one of historical significance. It was on this reef that the HMS Sirius – the flagship of the First Fleet – was wrecked in 1790.
You can find out more about the fate of the HMS Sirius and some of the retrieved items salvaged from the wreck at the nearby Sirius Museum. Meantime, if you’re a snorkeler, you are in for a pearler of a day. Low tide is the best time to go and under the sea where the coral reef and its colourful finned residents provide wonder and awe to last a lifetime. Generally speaking, the reef protects the waters from dangerous swells and currents.
Day 4: Adventure Day
Today we suggest a couple of variations. All for adventurers of varying scales.
Phillip Island is six kilometres south from Norfolk Island, and forms part of Norfolk Island National Park and is a birdwatchers paradise. It’s aw-inspiring landscape with hues of orange, reds, yellows and purples follows a century of erosion and degradation that has exposed a dazzling array of coloured soils. Not for the faint hearted, accessing the the island requires an exhilarating climb on rope ladders followed by a trek over steep inclines! Access to the island is weather-dependant and an experienced guide is required at all times. It is also home to a number of rare
and endangered plants, all of which are thriving under the protection and management of Parks Australia. The island is free from feral predators but has an abundance of plants, birds, reptiles and invertebrates. A visit here is for the very adventurous types with strict instructions for visitors. Make sure you follow the advice at Phillip Island guide.
Play a round of golf at Norfolk Island Golf Club – a heritage-listed golf course with stunning ocean view.
Join a Glass Bottom Boat tour discovering incredible coral gardens, over 100 species of fish, vast marine life and their habitats, all topped with friendly cheerful Norfolk humour by the Bounty descendant guides. Call the tour guides, Donald: 54016 or George: 52794 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or book at Pinetree Tours Office.
More beaches and reserves to explore include Bumbora Beach, Ball Bay Reserve, Two Chimneys Reserve, Norfolk Island Memorial Park, Cascade Reserve, Lions Park, Bounty Square, Pop’s Corner, Norfolk Island Botanic Gardens, Point Ross Reserve. Walk to Cockpit Reserve and view the stunning waterfall from the Boardwalk, and discover beautiful rock pools at Bumboras. The Two Chimney’s Reserve is home to “Two Chimneys Wines”. Two Chimneys Wines is the first and only winery in Norfolk Island. Established by Rod and Noelene McAlpine in 2006, it has a homestead, a tasting room with wood fire and wide, covered verandas, and a vineyard with eight varieties of grape. The vineyard enjoys a soft maritime climate and volcanic basalt soils.
Day 5: Relaxation and Shopping
Art Galleries: Explore local art galleries showcasing Norfolk’s unique artistic talent such as:
- Cottage Pottery. The Norfolk Island Cottage Pottery and Art Gallery is a family owned business that creates beautiful pottery, art, jewellery and fabric products.
- Aatuti Art. Art Gallery with locally made giftware.
- Gallery Guava.
- Norfolk Art.
- Tutankhamun’s Tomb.
Burnt Pine retail therapy: Spend the day in Burnt Pine, the main shopping area, and relax. See Travellarks’ Things to do around Norfolk Island for suggestions.
Local Cuisine: Try local dishes at one of Norfolk Island’s restaurants. See Travellarks’ Things to do around Norfolk Island for suggestions.
For walkers who on the roam to discover more a variety of walks – nothing is very far but you can join up trails and tracks by looking here Norfolk Island Walks.
Tips for stays on Norfolk Island:
- No fruit, vegetables or food of any kind is to be taken ashore by passengers.
- Norfolk Island is small, so it’s easy to explore at a leisurely pace.
- Pick up souvenirs or books on Norfolk Island’s history at the former Royal Engineers Office (REO) beside the Kingston Pier at the Museum Shop.
- Check for local events or festivals happening during your visit.
- Respect the island’s natural and historical sites.
- Plan for outdoor activities and bring appropriate clothing, gear, sun protection and natural insect repellent. Do not take additional
- packaging and rubbish that is left on the island.
- Remember to check for any travel restrictions or updates before your trip, as circumstances can change. Enjoy your road trip to Norfolk Island!