Norfolk Island is an interesting place. I don’t know exactly what to write about it because it is kind of baffling to me. I had always heard that it was essentially a vacation place for old people, mainly Aussies and Kiwis, who could catch direct flights and enjoy a low key beach vacation while still keeping the country feel. I have to say that’s pretty accurate. On my flight to Norfolk Island, I was easily the youngest person on the plane and I’d say the next youngest was about 65-no joke. My plane home had some grandchildren to mix it up a bit but 90% were still retirees. That aside, on the island there are some young people, the natives, if you will. It seems like a very incestuous island as you might imagine and hanging out at the local watering hole, I met many of them who were fascinated by me and why I was there. However, it was them who fascinated me.
I stayed at a place called Hibiscus which has some 6 small properties on Norfolk Island. Mine was the Crown and was fine. A little overpriced but what in Australia isn’t overpriced. I didn’t spend much time there because I was limited on time. At night I headed straight to Leagues, which is the only bar that was open on a Saturday night and where they show AFL an Rugby. Inside I met some really interesting people. All of whom live and have lived on Norfolk most or all of their lives. It was funny listening to them jibe at each other.
One guy, whose name I forget was really funny and a good guy to talk to. He seemed like the most popular guy on the island and a bachelor at 42. All the local girls seemed to want to chat with him. One of the girls’ brothers married a girl that he used to sleep with or something and they were all giving her grief about it. She then turned around and started giving shit to the other people who slept with so and so and so on. You can see how this goes when there are only 1500 people or so on the island and your sample size of young people is very very small. It was highly entertaining to me and made me happy that the island that I live on has a few more people!
I was there during a country music festival of sorts. Well it was supposed to start the next day so all the preparations were being done. The radio, of which there is one station, kept giving brutal details of all things country and played nonstop country music. In my rental car, that’s all there was to listen to, I don’t carry CD’s. But it was funny.
Touring around the island was easy; it’s only 3 by 5 miles and is easily navigable. The main highlights are the best beach called Emily Bay (top photo and above) which was nice but nothing too awesome. The best thing about the beaches is the pine tree backdrops. That’s the whole island in general. It’s like a big pine forest with some rolling hills and beaches. The steep cliff drops are nice at the higher elevations as well.
There is one World Heritage Site on the island, the remains of an old prison camp called Kingston (above) which is right near Emily Bay. It is OK at best and not worthy of the classification. It makes for some decent photos with the water as the backdrop but that’s about it. I had also seen all the old prison stuff at Port Arthur on Tasmania so maybe that skewed my judgment a bit. Again, that can be a problem when you see so many things and places.
There is a cool monument to Captain Cook and the highest point on the island gives nice panoramic views of the island and the two rock islands right off shore a kilometer away or so. Queen Elizabeth visited the island in the mid 1970’s and there is a nice lookout point named after her that overlooks the bay and the Rugby pitch below which was having a tournament when I was there. It was fun to watch the little kids play.
So as you can probably tell from my blasé kind of write up on Norfolk, it was just that to me, blasé. A nice island yes, but there wasn’t much to do or even to really keep my interest. The history of the prison and that they are direct descendents from the HMS Bounty mutineers is cool but not like if I was on Pitcairn Island or something like that. So I am happy with my time on Norfolk but probably won’t be going back anytime soon, at least before I turn 65 or so!