Norfolk Island is an island in Melanesia, administered by Australia. It is 1,600 km (1,000 mi) east of Sydney and Brisbane and 1,000 km (620 mi) northwest of Auckland. It's a great destination for relaxation, with a range of accommodation and dining, beautiful vistas, complex history and tropical reefs. It also holds a deep convict history, with the convict sites part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are two settlements on the island:
- 1 Kingston — the historic settlement, convict ruins, beaches and the territorial capital.
- 2 Burnt Pine — the commercial centre. Shopping and dining.
Although the distance between Burnt Pine and Kingston may look walkable on the map, it is a steep road with no footpath or lighting. A car is recommended.
There are other small settlements on the island, and residences and attractions are distributed throughout.
The first known settlers in Norfolk Island were East Polynesians, but it seems that they had already departed before Captain Cook found the island. He named it after Lady Norfolk during his second voyage around the world and observed the presence of the tall Norfolk pine (Araucaria heterophylla), which he thought would be suitable for ship's masts, and patches of flax, that were presumed to be useful for sails. They weren't.
The first European settlement was established by the British in 1788, a few months after the founded their first settlement in New South Wales. Some of the most capable men and women were sent from Sydney to the island, to exploit what Cook had observed. It was also hoped they could provide a source of food and other supplies to the struggling settlers in Sydney town. None of these hopes were realised; instead, the colonists on Norfolk Island struggled to feed themselves. When the island was evacuated, nearly all man-made structures were destroyed.
The second settlement was from 1825 to 1855. This time, the settlement had a purely punitive function. Whereas the first settlement was made up of free settlers, convicts and military, men and women, the second settlement was all male, and all convicts and military. Many of the military left their wives and children in Sydney while they served their time on Norfolk. Over 2,000 convicts were housed on the island, more than the total present-day population. Substantial structures were built. Eventually the cost of running the colony was no longer justified, the convicts were all transferred to Van Diemens Land, and the colony was evacuated.
The third settlement in 1856 was by former inhabitants of Pitcairn Island. The Pitcairn Islanders were descendants of the Bounty mutineers (Christian, Young, McCoy, Adams, Quintal) and the later Pitcairners (Buffett, Evans and Nobbs). Pitcairn Island was unable to support 200 inhabitants, and Queen Victoria offered them land grants on Norfolk Island with the convicts departing. The administrators of the island from the second settlement stayed long enough to show the Pitcairners how they ran the island, before they left Norfolk. Later influences from the 20th century were from American sealers, and migration from Australians and New Zealanders. Although Norfolk Island had been a self-governing territory of Australia for much of its history, in 2016, the Australian government decided to reduce the island's autonomy. Today, it's somewhat like Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands but instead of WA law applying to the island, NSW law applies. Since January 1, 2022, Queensland has been providing state health and educational services to the island. The decision was and remains controversial, and many islanders have been protesting ever since.
Many of the things to see and do in Norfolk Island relate to the three historic settlements or the current settlement of the mutineers and their descendants.
About a third of the population consist of descendants of the Pitcairn Islanders, with the remaining residents mainly split between people from Australia and New Zealand. The permanent population of the island is about 2,188 (2021). Most residents have spent some time off-island.
Tourism and hospitality is the island's largest industry, comprising around 70% of local businesses. While there are tour groups and programs which are tailored for visitors, you'll also find many locals offering something to tourists like a mural, tour or day trip. You'll find something even it's a farm, the mall, or the island's gym! Agriculture makes up around 6% of the economy, but allows for the island to be largely self-sufficient with fresh foods, meats, and dairy.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
The sub-tropical maritime climate is quite mild. There is no air-conditioning on the island, and very little heating. Temperature ranges are small, with days averaging around 24 °C in summer, and 19 °C in winter. Weather on the island is notoriously unpredictable, so don't be surprised to be caught in short downpours every now and then.
Norfolk Island is in a different time zone from the rest of the eastern states, following UTC+11 (NFT), and does not follow daylight savings. This is the same time zone as Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).
- 1 Visitor Information Centre, Taylors Rd, Burnt Pine (Bicentennial Complex), ☏ , toll-free: 1800 214 603 (Australia), 0800 667 365 (New Zealand), firstname.lastname@example.org. M Tu Th F 10AM–5PM, W 10AM–4PM, Sa Su 10AM–3PM. Apart from just what is there in an ordinary visitor information centre, this visitor information centre also sells numerous local items, ranging from hats to books, to just anything locally crafted.
The main official language of Norfolk Island is English, and all the islanders speak it. However, among themselves they often use Norfuk (Norf'k), a language derived from the English spoken by the Bounty Mutineers and the Tahitian spoken by their wives. Norf'k is not readily comprehensible by speakers of any variety of English, including Australian English — though it's similar to (and, in fact, sometimes considered to be the same language as) Pitkern, spoken on the Pitcairn Islands by fellow descendants of the Bounty Mutineers.
There are books to purchase on the local Norf'k language. Most are for readers with only a casual interest, but if you are interested in scholarship on the language, Speak Norfolk Today by Alice Inez Buffett is the best source. There are audio CDs of songs written in Norf'k.
- 1 Norfolk Island Airport (NLK IATA), Taylors Rd. Norfolk Island has a single airport in the south-west of the island. Burnt Pine, the island's commercial centre, is immediately to the east, and you can walk there from the terminal. There is a cafe in the airport that is opened for departing flights. It serves hot and cold food, sandwiches and coffee. There is free (albeit unreliable) Wi-Fi available in the airport terminal. The ubiquitous Norfolk Telecom Wi-Fi is also available if you have a card.
Qantas operate direct flights from Brisbane every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and direct flights from Sydney once a week. All flights from $300 one-way. (Nov 2021) Air Chathams offer flights to Norfolk Island every Wednesday from Auckland from NZ$570 one way, 2 hr 20 min (Aug 2021).
3 or 4 cruise ships per year call at Norfolk Island. The local shipping agent, Transam Argosy lists details of cruise ships calling at Norfolk Island on their local website and in local newspapers; also Norfolk Online News has the schedule. All passengers are tendered ashore, weather permitting. If you are tendered into Kingston, and only have a few hours on the island, you shouldn't be in a rush to get to Burnt Pine — unless you are desperate for a good cappuccino. Kingston is the unique and picturesque part of the island. Spend your time walking along the coast to Emily Bay and the cemetery. Call into the Golf Club, and give the queues for the shuttle bus a miss.
There is no regular passenger service to Norfolk Island by sea, but there is a regular freighter service, which you might be able to travel with.
Visa and immigration control
Norfolk Island is part of Australia, so you must meet the visa requirements for Australia to visit. Travel between mainland Australia and Norfolk Island is domestic travel, but flights leave from the international terminals in Sydney and Brisbane.
Because you'll be traveling through the International terminal, consider extra time to pass through immigration and customs and you must have a passport or other photo identification. You can't use the automatic gates and you must queue to see a person. If you have a passport, it's probably easiest to take it with you. If you don't then make sure you have suitable government-issued photo identification.
You are entitled to duty-free goods in line with your normal Australia allowances. Typically, duty-free liquor is cheaper on Norfolk than in Sydney or Brisbane. If you want to take advantage of duty-free allowances, you will need a passport.
There are quarantine restrictions on the movement of many items of food, including meat and fresh fruit, between the island and the mainland. You must declare all food products, plant material (including wooden articles) and animal products you bring. You can bring commercially sealed packaged foods, but you cannot bring fresh fruit, vegetables, plants, seeds, or meats without a commercial permit (which tourists are unlikely to obtain). Details on commercial permits and what's allowed can be found on the Australian Government Department of Agriculture site, and on the Norfolk Island Tourism FAQ page. The restrictions are not the same in both directions.
There is no public transport system on Norfolk Island. The hilly terrain and distance between attractions make getting around on foot impractical for most visitors. Independent travellers tend to rent a car. There are a variety of tours available daily.
It costs about $50 a day to rent a car and $20 a day for a scooter. It is usual when booking accommodation or a package that a rental car can be included in the tariff. Basic insurance is sometimes included, but excess reduction, petrol and additional drivers can be extra. You can pick up a car from the tourist information for a single day for $90 with insurance and petrol all included - if you just feel like a day-trip around the island.
Driving is on the left, with a speed limit outside Burnt Pine of 50 km/h and inside Burnt Pine of 40 km/h (30 km/h in the school zone). When driving outside of the town, remember that cows and other animals have right of way. Also remember to watch out for the "Norfolk Wave", a wave (ranging from a raised index finger off the steering wheel through to an enthusiastic movement of the arm) used by all locals to greet all passing traffic and pedestrians.
Like everything on the island, planning ahead is a good idea. If they aren't expecting any business you can find the rental car places reducing their already short trading hours.
- 2 Aloha Rent-a-Car, 2 Tevarua Ln, ☏ . From $50 per day.
- 3 Borry's Rental Cars, Taylors Road, Burnt Pine, ☏ , email@example.com. Daily 8:30AM-4:30PM. From $40 per day.
- 4 Eldoo Hire Cars, 33 New Cascade Rd, Burnt Pine, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. From $50 per day.
- 5 Simons Water Rental Cars, Taylors Road, Burnt Pine, ☏ , email@example.com. From $40 per day, $5 with a child's seat.
There is a taxi/ride-hailing service operating on the island.
- Norfolk Island Kased Kabs (Kased means mischievous in Norf'k), ☏ . Contact Rossco or Gae on when on the island. They have a mini-van and can pick you up anywhere. All trips $10 one-way.
You can also hire bicycles, but you'd want to like hill-climbing.
- 6 Norfolk Land and Sea, Taylors Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M Tu Th F 11AM-4PM, W 11AM-1PM, Sa 9AM-12:30PM. Outdoor store that also does hire gear snorkeling, fishing and biking. From $20 a day for a non-electric bike.
History and Kingston ruins
- See also: Australian Convict Sites
The 1 Australian Convict Sites are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. You can wander through many of the ruins at your leisure. They mostly date from the second settlement, and many have plaques that describe their function and history. The two jails, the hospital, and the salt house are just some of the structures that you are free to explore. Some of the buildings house museums that charge admission.
The other part of Kingston is the houses of Quality Row. These were built for use by the military officers of the penal settlement, and were then used as residences by the Pitcairn settlers after the closure of the penal settlement. Most of these old houses are restored to some degree, with one even functioning as a church with regular worship services.
- 2 Cemetery, Kingston. There is also a cemetery with graves dating back to the earliest penal times, right through to more recent deaths. There is a weekly tour run by the museums.
- 3 Government House, Quality Row, Kingston. Selected W 1–3:30PM. Once a month, the Government House is open to the public. All proceeds go to local charities. Check Website for details. $15.
There are four museums in Kingston. You can buy a combined pass to all four for $35. They are all open M-Sa from 11AM until 3PM with the exception of the Pier Store that's also open Sundays. On weekdays and Saturdays at 9:30AM you can join a tag-along guide, who will show you through two of the four museums. Alternating by day. Meet at the REO.
- 4 Commissariat Store, Quality Row, Kingston (Basement of the All Saints church.), ☏ , email@example.com. M–Sa 11AM–3PM. Archeological artefacts from the four settlements. $10.
- 5 HMS Sirius Museum, Bounty St, Kingston, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Sa 11AM–3PM. The Sirius was wrecked off the reef at Kingston under the command of Hunter. Artifacts remaining in the 1980s were brought to the surface and are on display here. Highlights are the cannon and anchor. There are also some pebbles from England used as ballast. This is a unique display of items from the flagship of the First Fleet that sailed to New South Wales, and it a integral part of the British colonial history of the revion. $10.
- 6 No. 10 Quality Row, Quality Row, Kingston (Beside the Old Military Barracks), ☏ , email@example.com. M–Sa 11AM–3PM. Restored home one of the army officers from the second settlement. This house was also occupied by the Pitcairners but has been restored to how it was during the second settlement. $10.
- 7 Pier Store, Pier St, Kingston (by the pier in Kingston), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM–3PM. The Pier Store was the original store building for the second settlement, but abandoned after it was flooded. The displays in the museum today show the history of the Bounty and the mutiny on the lower floor. European settlement of Norfolk on the upper floor. $10.
Norfolk is a beautiful island, and some of the vistas are simply breathtaking. Take some time to explore the island's bays and headlands, and don't forget your camera.
- 8 Anson Bay, Anson Bay Rd (between the two turn-offs of Bullocks Hut Rd). One of the most scenic locations on the island. The reserve on the clifftop offers great views down to the turquoise bay below. The track down to the beach starts by the carpark entrance. The tour companies offer barbecue breakfast at this location, and you can see why. If you choose to do a barbecue lunch you should have the place to yourself. There are strong rips at the beach and swimming isn't recommended.
- 9 Captain Cook's Lookout, Duncombe Bay Rd. The most spectacular views of the coastline with rock formations and birdlife around a few small islets. You can see down to the point where Captain Cook stepped ashore on his second voyage around the world. This is where the Bridle track starts. It's a very well maintained site with a lookout, boardwalk and toilets.
- 10 Flagstaff Hill, Pier St, Kingston (to the right of the Museum sites). take the steps from near the surgeon's residence in Kingston to the too of the hill where the shipping flags were raised. Great views over Kingston and Arthur's Vale.
- 11 Mount Pitt, Mount Pitt Rd, 2899. You can drive to the top of the second tallest peak. There is a viewpoint which is clear on a sunny day and picnic facilities.
- 12 Queen Elizabeth Lookout, Rooty Hill Rd, Kingston. This small but yet stunning lookout has some views of the world heritage Kingston.
- Colleen McCullough's Home, The Roundabout, Burnt Pine (default starting point), ☏ , email@example.com. Tu, W, Th 9:30AM & 3:30PM. Colleen McCullough was a well known Australian novelist, known for the books "The Thornbirds" and "Morgan’s Run" who called the island home for 36 years before passing in 2015. Baunti Tours is the tour company has the rights to open her and her husbands home "Out Yenna" to visitors. $55.
- 13 Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama, Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Norfolk Island (cnr of Mulberry Lane), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M-W, F-Su 10AM-3PM. Over 16 months between 2001-2, local artists, including artists related to the mutineers, created a 360° painting showing the Bounty mutiny, the long voyage away from Pitcairn Island and the eventual third settlement of the island. The gift shop, Gallery Guava, includes trinkets and gifts made by local and traveling artists. $15, Child: $5.
- 14 Hands Up For Democracy Park (Norf'k Ailen Salan f' Demohkrasi), Taylors Rd, Burnt Pine, ☏ , email@example.com. Norfolk Islanders controversially lost their self-governance in 2016 and was handed to be integrated to New South Wales after period of instability. In protest, over 60% of the islanders are working together to restore the right to self-determination and re-building of the sustainability as a Self-Governing Territory. This protest on piece of vacant land, shows many hands painted green on wooden plates, to show the names of those who want self-governance returned. Free.
- 15 Ferny Lane Theatre (Theatre & Cinema), Douglas Dr, Burnt Pine 2899, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A local amateur theater which also shows movies. Call or check their Facebook page for more showings & times.
- Trial of the 15, Douglas Dr, Burnt Pine 2899 (Ferny Lane Theatre (see above)). W 4:45PM. A court room drama which tells the story of Norfolk Island's convict past by featuring 15 historical testimonies. Play is put on by local actors. $39.
- 16 Island Fish Fry (Puppy's Point). Tu Th 5PM. With local Polynesian entertainment. $140.
- 1 Norfolk Island National Park, Mount Pitt Rd 2899, ☏ . The National Park has a number of walks and gardens to check out, including:
- 2 Botanic Garden, Mount Pitt Rd, ☏ . Daily 9AM–3PM. There are several marked walks through the Botanic Gardens, from a wheelchair/stroller friendly walk on the upper levels to a rainforest walk all the way into the gully.
- 3 Bridle Track. Starting from Captain Cook's monument, this walk follows the cliff edge and rainforest along the coast. Short diversions to the viewpoints over Bird Rock. Allow a couple of hours for this one.
- 4 Mount Pitt to Mount Bates (Summit Track). Starting from the top of Mount Pitt, this well-developed walk goes follows the ridge line for about 1 km to the top of island's highest point. It's marked as an easy trail, but you'll want full mobility to climb the last stretch to the top of Mount Bates.
- 5 Charter Marine Tours on Phillip Island, ☏ , email@example.com. Starts 7:30AM. Looking south from Kingston, Philip Island is 6 km from Norfolk, and only accessible by boat. Historically used as a hunting ground, in recent decades it's been a regeneration spot for many endangered species. For this reason, access to the Island is limited, but doable. David Bigg does tours. Contact him directly once you get to Norfolk Island. $180 per person (4 people minimum).
- 6 Stawberry Fields Hedge Maze, ☏ . A large hedge maze with a smaller simpler one alongside in a garden. $5, Children $2.
- 7 Bumbora Reserve walk. Easy boardwalk leading to a beautiful bay.
- 8 Hundred Acres walk. An amazing sight as seabirds nest and dodge around Rocky Point. Also large Moreton Bay Figs.
- 9 Cricket (Kingston Common Field). Kingston also boasts the oldest cricket pitch in the Southern Hemisphere — and one which is still used regularly by the islanders.
- 10 Norfolk Island Golf Club, Kingston, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. With a clubhouse housed in a converted Quality Row house, this 9-hole course is famous for having the largest water hazard on earth — the Pacific Ocean, a real risk of taking any balls sliced off the fourth tee. There are frequent competitions for locals and tourists alike, and players of all abilities are welcome to pay the nominal fees to hire clubs and have a social round. Although there are 9-holes there are 18 tees, with the fairways criss-crossing the course. An 18-hole game will involve playing to each hole twice along a fairway. The clubhouse also servers drinks and meals. Check website for rates.
- 11 Squash (Norfolk Island Leagues Club), 17 Ferny Ln, Kingston, email@example.com. Two glass-backed squash courts are available to use. Email for availability and price.
- 12 Swim or Snorkel at Emily Bay Lagoon, Bay St, Kingston, ☏ . Emily Bay is a beach south of the island. Because of the sheltered reefed lagoon, it's safe for swimming, and offers a social location for locals. The Bay and neighbouring Slaughter Bay also offer easy snorkelling off the beach with coral formations and tropical fish. There are sea snakes to see also. Avoid the reef cutting to the left of Emily Bay by the lone pine. Norfolk Land and Sea in Burnt Pine has Snorkel hire for a cost (see Get around for details).
- Glass Bottom Boating (Christians Glass Bottom Boat Cruise), Bay St, Kingston (Emily Bay), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M–F 9:30AM or 2:30PM (depending on tides). The glass-bottom boat trips leave from Emily Bay and travel out to the reef edge. Either turn up at the right time down the bay, or book in advance at one of the tour offices in Burnt Pine. If you are confident in the water, and the tides are good, you can swim out as far as the boat goes. $60.
- 13 Tennis (Cheryl Tennis Club), Queen Elizabeth Ave (Next to Governor's Lodge Resort), ☏ , email@example.com. Contact for rates & availability.
Public holidays & events
All public holidays from New South Wales are celebrated here as well, including Anzac Day, Queen's Birthday and Christmas. However, three extra public holidays are celebrated here as well.
- Foundation Day (6 March). Celebrates the arrival of Philip Gidley King on 6 March 1788 with a party settlers, military and convicts of Norfolk's first settlement. Very much a historical day on the island; many visitors who are researching their family heritage visiting during this time. See morning reenactments at Kingston.
- Bounty Day (8 June). This public holiday celebrates the arrival of the Bounty descendants on Norfolk. The village atmosphere comes most alive this day, with re-enactments, parades, community picnic and special services.
- Thanksgiving (4th Wednesday in November). Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on Norfolk, due to the influence of the American sealers and whalers on the island. This makes it the only place in Australia to celebrate this holiday. Special services and a food festival is run during this week.
Exchange rates for Australian dollars
As of 23 February 2023:
Exchange rates fluctuate. Current rates for these and other currencies are available from XE.com
Norfolk Island only uses the Australian dollar. You'll have great difficulty using other currency on the island. The banks will convert currency during business hours. There is a single ATM on the island at the Commonwealth Bank in Burnt Pine. Given this level of redundancy, you shouldn't let your cash supply dwindle too far. Almost all shops and restaurants on the island accept credit cards, but you'll find an occasional one that is cash only.
The main street of Burnt Pine is lined on both sides with shops selling local arts and crafts, shoes and clothes, toys and books. There are some bargains to be had, especially on shoes.
A number of shops are described as "department stores", which can seem rather quaint to visitors from big cities, as these shops are often no larger than the others. The difference lies in the slightly wider range of merchandise available. One of the true delights of shopping on Norfolk Island is that in many shops you simply have no idea what will be for sale.
- 1 Saturday Morning Farmers' Market (Bicentennial complex), Taylors Rd, Burnt Pine (next to the tourist information centre), ☏ . Sa 7:30–9:30AM. Local vegetables in season. Preserves and jams. Some baked goods. Usually only a handful of stalls that can be covered in 30 minutes or so.
- 2 Sunday Arts & Craft Market (Bicentennial Complex), Taylors Rd, Burnt Pine (next to the tourist information centre), firstname.lastname@example.org. Su 8:30–11AM. By far the more interesting and diverse market of the two weekend markets. In fact you'll probably find the handful of stalls that are at the Saturday market back for the Sunday market. Prices are comparable to those found in the shops, but some retailers choose only to sell at the market. Expect to find local souvenirs, local produce, baked goods, coffee.
Locally produced items are for sale on Norfolk Island, homemade preserves being a particular specialty. Other local specialties include novelty soaps, homemade make-up and quality artwork. There is also a wide range of fictional and non-fictional books on Norfolk and the South Pacific in general available at most shops. The island's bookshop is The Golden Orb (see Eat), which contains a section devoted to Norfolk and South Pacific literature.
The ubiquitous Norfolk Island pine is turned into woodwork items, and also into key rings, magnets and other trinkets. Norfolk pine products are normally quite safe to import to Australia or New Zealand, but always make it known to the seller where you're intending to take the product you've just bought, since it never hurts to be sure.
Many specialty shops have limited opening hours. Most of these shops don't open until 10 or 11AM and start closing around 3PM. Many are closed Saturday afternoons and Sunday.
- 3 Aatuti Art, Taylors Rd (opposite The Olive), ☏ , email@example.com. M-F 10AM-5PM. Artist and owner Sue Pearson presents her Pitcairn ancestry with locally sourced and Taihian products. She also makes her own homewares with customary tapa (bark cloth) printing techniques.
- Cottage Pottery and Art Gallery, ☏ . M-F 9AM-5PM. Pottery and art inspired by the Island's flora and fauna.
- 4 Niow, Taylors Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Local Jewellery and fashion store.
- 5 Norfolk Art, Shop 2 102a Taylors Road, Burnt Pine, ☏ . M Tu Th F 9AM-4PM, W Sa 9AM-12.30PM. Vibrant artworks and prints done by the local meteorologist Adam Jauczius.
- 6 Wildwood, Stockyard Rd, ☏ . W–Sa 1–4PM. Local woodturner who uses exclusively Norfolk Island pine. Range includes magnets to clocks wine holders. Keep in mind customs when returning. $8–55.
Burnt Pine also has all of Norfolk's service industries. Three fuel stations, a few mini-markets and a supermarket. Supplies can occasionally run low of certain items until the next ships arrives to restock.
- 7 Foodland, Taylors Rd (in Norfolk Mall), ☏ . Daily 8AM–6PM. While it's the island's biggest supermarket, it's still quite small.
- 8 P & R Groceries, Taylors Rd, ☏ . Daily 6:30AM–9PM. Groceries and Bakery, also doubles as Post Office.
- 9 Slick and Sons, 22 Douglas Drive (Across the road from the airport), ☏ . M–F 8:30AM–5PM, Sa 8AM–1PM, Closed Sundays & Public Holidays. A butcher & deli which also stocks fresh produce and upmarket groceries.
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Budget||less than $12|
Norfolk Island, unsurprisingly, is famous for its seafood, which is generally caught fresh by most of the restaurants on the island. The local trumpeter is commonly available. There is a wide range of other food available on the island.
Vegetarians are catered for by most restaurants, with most having at least one dish on the menu. Vegans have few options, and may need to self-cater. Kosher and Halal meals are impossible to find. Travelers with food allergies may be catered for at some restaurants. Gluten-free food is widely available.
As with everything on Norfolk Island, some advance planning is necessary to avoid going hungry. Cafes and restaurants serving lunch generally close between 2PM and 3PM in the afternoon - and their kitchens may close before that. Bookings are not necessary for breakfast and lunch. Dinner usually starts at 5:30PM and is finished by 8PM. Bookings are necessary in all restaurants and hotel restaurants. You don't need to book for the club bistros, but they also observe the same opening hours. After 9PM even the mini-marts will be closed. Numbers are limited by capacity. An available table won't guarantee a meal without a booking. Booking a day in advance is usually sufficient.
- Have a BBQ. There are wood barbecues and picnic tables scattered all over the island. You'll never have a problem finding one if you are in a reserve or at Kingston.
- Self-cater. The Norfolk Mall has a supermarket, bakery and a butcher. While many products are flown in from mainland Australia or New Zealand, local produce sold here represents the cheapest self-catering option on the island. The range is limited, but potatoes, sweet-potatoes, bananas, figs and avocados are all grown locally and are relatively cheap in season. There are some other locations to help you self-cater – see Supplies in the Buy section.
- 1 Hot Krust Bakery (in Norfolk Mall), ☏ . Daily 8AM–6PM. A bakery in the mall. Bread rolls, quiches and sweets. Get in quick, as their range goes by the afternoon.
- 2 Castaway Restaurant & Bar, Taylors Rd, ☏ , email@example.com. W F 5PM–late, Sa–M 5:30PM–late. serves a variety of pizzas on W & F which you must call and pre-book. There's a seasonal menu over the weekend.
- 3 Golden Orb Bookshop Cafe, Taylors Rd, ☏ . Tu–Su 7AM–3:30PM. Cafe open for breakfast and lunch. Also doubles as a bookstore which sells local books & gifts.
- 4 High Tide Kitchen, 51B Taylors Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 7:30AM–8PM. Everything from locally produced salads, burgers & wraps, to fish & chips. Also serves coffee & cake. One of the only places to serve fresh and hot food throughout the afternoon and dinner. Burger and chips + drink $24.
- 5 The Olive Cafe, The Village Pl, Burnt Pine. Daily 6:30AM–3PM. Early opener for breakfast and lunch. The Olive has forsaken the 1970s feel of some other establishments, for a modern vibe. With lacquered pine furniture, freshly baked muffins, full lunches, and Campos coffee. Full breakfast $18.
- 6 Barney Duffy's Charcoal Grill, Taylors Rd, ☏ , email@example.com. Daily 5:30PM–late. Duffy's bills itself as "Norfolk's Best Steakhouse". While the competition for this title is not particularly strong, the steaks are of a very high standard indeed. Fare here is of the steakhouse variety, with various fish dishes available as well. The restaurant is named for the famous convict Barney Duffy and plays up on this link
- 7 Dino's at Bumboras, 89 Bumboras Rd, Kingston (the other side of the airport to most accommodation), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Th F Sa 5:30PM–late. This is probably the nicest restaurant on the island, it is a high-quality Italian restaurant in a quirky homestyle setting. Book early, as it is not open every night of the week and the tables go very quickly. $40 main.
- 8 Hilli's Restaurant, Queen Elizabeth Ave, ☏ , email@example.com. Daily 10AM–10PM. Upscale dining in a garden setting. More convenient to most accommodation and Burnt Pine than Dinos. dinner $40/main; lunch $20/main.
- Progressive Dinner Tour, The Roundabout, Burnt Pine, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M W leaves 6PM sharp. You can take a local progressive dinner tour at the homes of various islanders in order to experience various specialties based on traditional Polynesian dishes. Booking essential with tour booking agencies in Burnt Pine. $84.
- 1 Black Anchor Bar, 90A Taylors Rd, ☏ , email@example.com. Th–Su 5PM–late.
- Burnt Pine clubs — The RSL club, Bowling Club and Leagues Club (see Squash entry in Do) are all in the main street of Burnt Pine and all welcome visitors.
- 4 Norfolk Island Liquors P/L, Cascade Rd, ☏ . Free sampling is available M Tu Th F from 2–5PM. The local distillery is found on Cascade Road and produces various liqueurs and spirits. Also on the same premises is Cascade Soft Drinks P/L, who manufacture produce a range of traditional soft drinks with old fashioned flavours, ranging from orange and lime flavours to pineapple and plum cola varieties.
- 5 Two Chimneys Wines, Two Chimneys Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. The island's winery produces wines from their own vineyards, and imports wines from New South Wales under their label. They offer two reds, five whites, a sparkling wine, and a tawny port. You can sample their wine by appointment at their cellar door on Two Chimneys Road or at Hilli's and Norfolk Blue.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Budget||less than $140|
|Mid-range||$140 - $200|
There is a myriad of options for accommodation, ranging from basic one- or two-person rooms through to resort-style establishments with restaurants attached hosting seafood buffets. The commercial hub of the island, Burnt Pine, has a number of well-situated guesthouses central to most shops, while accommodation elsewhere is designed to capitalize on views and proximity to nature.
- 1 Anson Bay Lodge, 86 Bullocks Hut Rd, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: 10AM. Three remote cottages, but close to Anson Bay, with a small kitchenette. $105 for singles, $150 for couples,.
- 2 Cascade Garden Apartments, New Cascade Rd, ☏ , email@example.com. Set in almost one acre of grounds, the extensive and colourful gardens feature hibiscus, kentia palms and Norfolk pines. From $100.
- 3 Daydreamer Apartments, 30 Grassy Rd, ☏ . 3½ star rated motel with fruit trees on property. Modest discount on car rentals provided. From $120.
- 4 Norfolk Island Holiday Homes, Taylors Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A collection of 11 self-catered properties spread out in various private locations across the island. Good for groups (3-8 people). They offer a discounted hire car for additional $40 per day. $95-215.
- 5 Fletcher Christian Apartments, Taylors Rd, ☏ , email@example.com. 3½-star AAA rated. Rooms serviced daily. Centrally located in spacious, park-like grounds of subtropical landscaping. Shops, cafes, restaurants, clubs and visitor facilities are all within short walking distance. From $185.
- 6 Governor's Lodge Resort Hotel, Queen Elizabeth Ave, ☏ . Individual cabins with some shared amenities such as a guest laundry, pool and BBQ. From $194.
- 7 Hibiscus Crown Apartments, 75 New Cascade Rd (just past the police station and library), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 10AM. Self-catered apartments; cook up something with your rented kitchen or take your provided picnic set and head off to a local BBQ spot. From $170.
- 8 Hideaway Retreat, Code George Hunn Nobbs Rd, Kingston, ☏ . Comfortable and affordable self-contained accommodation property, nestled in amongst sub-tropical rainforest. $165.
- 9 Paradise Hotel & Resort, Queen Elizabeth Ave (cnr of Shortridge Rd), ☏ , email@example.com. The property is among sub-tropical gardens, with a swimming pool. A mini-van can take you into Burnt Pine. Single from $140, Double from $200.
- 10 Seaview Norfolk Island, Taylors Rd, ☏ . This complex can fit up to 40 people, with a pool and a BBQ. From $140.
- 11 South Pacific Resort, 118 Taylors Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: noon, check-out: 10AM. The largest hotel on the island. From $170.
- 12 Aloha Apartments, 51A Taylors Rd, ☏ , email@example.com. Generous apartments close to Burnt Pine town center, with pools, BBQ and shared family room available. From $220.
- 13 Castaway Norfolk Island, Taylors Rd, ☏ . Hotel style and self contained apartments close to Burnt Pine. Friday night is pizza night. from $210.
- 14 Channers On Norfolk, 144 Taylor's Rd, ☏ (in Australia), firstname.lastname@example.org. A self rated 3.5 star property with self-contained cottages. A free half-day tour of the island is included with most packages. $265.
- 15 Cumberland Resort and Spa, 100 Taylors Rd, ☏ . 4-star hotel, central location in tranquil garden setting, within 2 minutes of cafes, restaurants and shops, and 5 minutes from the beach golf, national park and historical area. Heated swim spa pool and sauna, free rental car, airport transfers, cable TV, tennis, etc. Package deals including airline and accommodation specials.
- 16 Endeavour Lodge, 158A Collins Head Rd, ☏ , email@example.com. Self-catering serviced apartments with ocean views from all apartments. Environmentally-friendly property. AAA Tourism 4 Star & Green Star AAA rated. $225 for a 1-bedroom apartment, $495 for a 3-bedroom.
- 17 Forrester Court Clifftop Accommodation, 59 i Matts Ground Rd, ☏ (ext. 1), firstname.lastname@example.org. The only AAA 5-star-rated property on the island. A number of inclusions such as breakfast, Grass Tennis Court and a Library. Child minding is also available, and an option for dining with a personal chef. From $460 per night.
- 18 Islander Lodge Apartments, 2899 Middlegate Rd, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Secluded in Kingston, the apartments look over the historic site and Phillip Island. Self-catering is encouraged. From $200.
- 19 Poinciana Cottages, Lot 4 10 Douglas Dr, ☏ , email@example.com. On the edge of town; rated four stars by AAA rating. $230.
If you have work rights in Australia, you may be able to find seasonable work in hospitality on the island.
Crime on Norfolk Island is very low, though not unknown. Most islanders leave their houses and cars unlocked with windows down. Always remember to exercise common sense when doing this, though, as most criminals are opportunists and it is not unknown for criminals to take "working vacations" too.
Emily Bay and Slaughter Bay in Kingston are the only safe locations to swim on Norfolk as they are protected by a natural coral reef. All other bays are not patrolled and have unpredictable conditions. A Norfolk tradition is that of the "Seventh Wave", the unpredictable rising in wave height which can sweep unwary swimmers out to sea.
Tap water is safe to drink from the tap, but bottled and filtered water are also available. Two Drips is the local bottled water.
Hospital & GPs
Norfolk Island has its own hospital and ambulance service, and it is now incorporated into the Australian health system. International visitors should ensure that they have sufficient insurance, as a medical evacuation (medivac) to the mainland comes at a very high cost. A required medivac to the mainland would be covered by Australian Medicare for Australian citizens.
- 7 Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service (NIHRACS), 2 Grassy Rd, Burnt Pine, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Hospital: 24 hours, GP clinic: M–F 8:30AM–5PM. This is the only hospital on the island. There is also a GP clinic, which appointments can be bulk billed for Medicare card holders.
- In an emergency call 000 immediately.
- Norfolk Mall Pharmacy, Taylors Rd. M–Su 8AM–6PM.
- 8 Prouds Gallery Pharmacy, Taylors Rd, ☏ , email@example.com. M–F 10AM–1PM, Sa 10AM–noon. This pharmacy also functions as a gallery & souvenirs store.
Some islanders are descended from the Bounty mutineers, so some information has a certain spin to align with the local mythology. If you're looking for a lighthearted way to engage with the story, you can lead with whether Marlon Brando or Mel Gibson was the better Fletcher Christian in the 1962 and 1984 movies. Everyone has seen both movies.
There are convict ruins dotted around the island, and you're generally free to wander where you want. These are a valuable part of Australia's history, so don't climb them or touch the ruins and artifacts.
The island mobile telephone network is really only useful for phone calls, and that's the common way to communicate on island. All phone numbers are five digits (the local part) and those beginning with a '5' are mobile numbers: +672 3 5xxxx. Your smartphone won't seem so smart with a local SIM card, but it's very useful for bookings for tours and restaurants. There have been some recent improvements such as the introduction of NBN Satellite and 4G networks in some areas of the island.
There are two local data providers:
- Norfolk Telecom. Norfolk Telecom operates a network of Wi-Fi hotspots that have extensive coverage of tourist areas, restaurants and accommodation. You can pick up top-up cards to access this for $10 for 1GB.
- 9 Norfolk Island Data Services, Taylors Rd, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. This service operates a 4G network for residents, but also provide SIM cards and 4G dongles for short term stays. As of Dec 2019, the 4G network is only good for Kingston and Burnt Pine. They also operate an internet cafe.
Australian networks Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have roaming agreements, but only useful for phone calls. Check your provider, as roaming can be expensive. No other overseas networks roam on Norfolk Island.
Only a few hotels offer their own Wi-Fi service. Most cafes and accommodation have the Norfolk Telecom Wi-Fi. Free cafe Wi-Fi is not available anywhere.
The Norfolk Islander is a community paper which issues on Saturdays. You can find it in some cafes, newsagents & petrol stations.
Radio and TV stations
- Radio Norfolk 89.9FM. broadcasts local news and variety programs as well as syndicated shows from Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
- Pines FM 99.9 is a community radio station specialising in rock. Three ABC Radio stations are also transmitted to the island via satellite relay.
The island has satellite television, with the same free-to-air channels as regional areas of NSW. Some hotels have Foxtel.
Churches on the island include 10 All Saints Church Kingston (Church of England). , 11 Uniting Church. , 12 St Philip Howard’s Catholic Church. , 13 Seventh-day Adventist Church. , Jehovah's Witness, and a Community Church. There is also a Baha'i house of worship. Contact the Visitors Information Centre (see Understand) for up-to-date service times.
If you're on a cruise, or decided to stop over on your ship, Pitcairn Islands are a great next stop to continue following the history.