Don't Miss Places In Norfolk Island
At first impression, it is quite difficult to accept that the vibrant Norfolk Island have a dim past. Yet throughout the nineteenth century, the now-serene Australian retreat used to be an island colony for convicted and exiled criminals who had been declared a menace to society. Today, the preserved ruins of the old penal colony has earned the UNESCO World Heritage status and valued for its historical importance and significance to the island. You can still visit the settlement's remaining parts, a spooky yet lovely gathering that incorporates a prison, a cemetery, lumber manufacturing site, and salt house.
These are the top ten not to be missed places in the Norfolk Island.
Spend an amazing holiday at the coast of Australia that holds the best snorkeling and diving places, enormous coral reef, fine sandy beaches, and a stunning panorama of the sea. At Emily Bay, every corner holds a breathtaking attraction (land and water) that entices every visitor to explore and keep coming back for more. There are diving spots too that will appeal to beginners and professionals.
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Snorkel gears and diving equipments are made available for rent by the tour operators around here for an hourly rate. The protected reef offers clear visibility making the dive site one of the most popular diving attractions that is constantly checked by professional divers and marine life enthusiasts. This first rate spot also have fine dining places and clean picnic grill areas. The picnic facility gets filled by people, but on ordinary weekdays, the place is not that crowded and there is plenty of time to relax and enjoy the water and the entire site in peace.
The bay is within the proximity of the top mostly visited places along Burnt Pine like; the World Heritage Area and some government houses, museums and religious structures. The bay is also ideal for families with kids. Children will have a great time discovering its rich marine wild life as they are allowed to snorkel too with a guide at the shallow parts of the beach.
Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama
Be delighted and amused by an interesting artwork that leaves the best impression about the island. A visit to the center and a glimpse to the painting called the Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama is the best way to understand the history of the Norfolk Island and the story behind the Mutiny of the Bounty, a huge ship from London that docked on its waters in 1856. It is vividly translated and relived through a painting commissioned on two local Norfolk artists by Ms. Marie Christian Bailey. The place is very informative and you can also check out the other interesting paintings on its adjacent gallery. Aside from being surrounded by beautiful gardens, there is a chic café inside the area.
Taking pictures is not allowed and the staff would advice every visitor to purchase a book that has a clear postcard shot and explanation of the whole attraction. Going to every detail of the painting and connecting the story attached to it always strike a sentimental chord in anyone’s heart. It depicts in a series of artwork the struggle and sacrifices the people will do for the love of their country. The image of the ship, the treacherous storm, the pained look on the faces of the people and the children and how Norfolk first came to existence is what makes this artwork truly unique. There is no admission fee but you need to leave any type of camera at their depository custodian. Include this site on the top of your itinerary when on a tour of the Norfolk Island.
Old Kingston Town
To enjoy this place ensure that you can devote a whole day to visit and understand the historical importance of the Old Kingston Town. Take the hiking trail and climb up to the peak of the Flagstaff Hill. Stand at the viewing platform that is aptly called the Queen Elizabeth Lookout Point and marvel at the beautiful views as far as your eyes can see from this angle. There are a lot of structures and ruin sites to check around here. The restaurant at the Royal Engineers Building offers great food and freshly cooked local dishes that you will find hard not to try. There are lots of museum sites to visit that discuss information about the Sirius and Pitcairn Island.
This museum tour can extend up to the street called the Quality Row. There are about 3- 4 historical museums that this quaint island have. If you buy a tourism board “multi-day museum” pass, you can join any tag –along tour groups that will make your visit a learning and educational experience at the same time. A cemetery tour and a chance to play golf at the nearby course are also included on their packages. The Museum Cafe additionally has a collection of books about the penal colony ruins and different things of enthusiasm at Norfolk.
Captain Cook’s Monument
This is a must see attraction when in the Norfolk Island. You can walk or drive to reach this spot, have a family picnic on its set of benches and tables while admiring the idyllic nature views in the background. The Captain Cook’s Monument has a huge park at the top and viewing platforms to have a good vantage point and better appreciation of the ocean.
It has complete facilities (BBQ grill areas, tables, benches, toilets, drinking water, washing area, etc.) to make your stay comfortable. Although the site is located in the outskirts of the town and requires time to travel and effort to reach the historical landmark of Captain Cook’s arrival in the island in 1774, it is worth every minute of staying to understand and absorb the importance of this place to the people of Norfolk. There are information panels that show the story of the 6 large rocks (Cathedral Rock and 5 other rocks that lie on the ocean) as well as complete details that most history books forget to mention, but you will learn so much about here.
This point is also a favorite breeding area of nesting birds because of its lush trees and thick vegetation. Low ceiling houses and the basic life of the friendly people from here also add character to the place. Almost anyone you meet is glad to see tourists and answers any queries about travel tips in a polite manner.
St. Barnabas Church
The St. Barnabas Church is one of the rare churches in Norfolk that proudly highlights the talented artisans and workmanship of their people. The theme of its lovely frescoes and stained glass windows depicts the lives of the saints on this old church that was built and established since 1880. There are a lot more things to like on this church that is shaped and patterned after a ship’s hull. Laid out in a great mix of marble and timber materials, at first glance outside, it looked just like any typical church though its shape and the façade is simply exceptional and already eye catching. The interior is truly marvelous and neatly presented, from the altar, to its dome that conveys its unsurpassed beauty and elegance, up to the organ player that weaves magical and uplifting music during the celebration of the holy mass.
The wooden roof is a wonderful creation of the combined talents that worked hard to establish this church on this town and show a part of the island’s great heritage. The seating capacity is designed in a vertical position that is reminiscent of Britain’s Westminster Abbey. It has a marker plate at the entrance that says it was dedicated in honor of the brave missionaries who died while protecting this island. Don’t forget to visit the humungous Ficus tree that stands across the church. At the back there is a small cemetery that is also worth checking out for its interesting headstone inscriptions.
The Bloody Bridge
Simply past the cemetery, you will come across the attraction called the Bloody Bridge. Make certain to park your car by the roadside and check this bridge even for awhile. This well talked about bridge was created by a prisoner convict as part of slave labor punishment of Major Anderson; a cruel and ruthless Scot that the prisoners nicknamed `potato Joe', for his selfish way of substituting potatoes for bread in the convict's delivered food rations. The peculiar bridge today looks all the more interesting because of the lush green that surrounds it plus the obligatory pauses made by tourists who are curious to know the story behind it. It is evident that the engineers who designed it had an eye for timeless elegance, a refined class that they will not expect from a convicted fellow. Every step of the bridge was built from pure metal that weighs approximately more than 7 kilograms.
All these work were accomplished even if the convicts were being plagued by dysentery, hunger, and indifference. As the story goes, one day these convicts got fed up of being treated badly and attacked their Scottish superior with a metal pick through his brain causing him to die while supervising the slave labor punishment. Aware that they will be all held accountable for his death, they decided to bury the Scot into the wall and kept mum about the incident at that time. When asked by their overseer where the Scot supervisor was, they all reply that he must have fallen into the bay next to the bridge and drown there. After that, something red oozed out from the walls thus earning its current name as the “Bloody Bridge”.
Among the many attractions that compose this small island this is definitely one of the must see places that are hard to miss. The best way to check out the Island Markets is on weekends, when the fresh organic produce from the locals come in huge delivery tucks along with having the chance to mingle with the locals. Inside this well stocked market are the wide selections of food, fruits and vegetables that can only be seen here on this side of Norfolk Island.
Local wares, handicrafts, and other affordable souvenir items are also on display as a means to help the local indigenous tribes who work hard to bring the best to their customers here. There are knitted and quilted items that will surely delight the women and hand woven bags to tickle their fancy for ethnic products using local materials. It is a cooperative effort of more than 30 stall owners with a noble aim of promoting their local products in the international market. And from this part, they indeed succeed in making that happen as the foreigners warmly accept and patronize what they offer and prepare.
Bounty Folk Museum
It is a place that is very historical and holds many memories about the Mutiny of the Bounty. At the Bounty Folk Museum, the wealth of information about the history of Norfolk is well laid out even in such a small space. There are books, pictures, and interesting anecdotes that the curator selflessly shares to everyone who enter and ask how this little island was developed from being a prison colony to a fully developed and habitable country that it is now. There are private collections and handmade posters that are made by the staff to update the latest information that they can provide when asked about its modern history.
The Anson Bay ranks at par with the other famous beaches around this island as it holds the distinction of being the only beach that has treacherous rips due to the design of the bay. This rocky side of Norfolk does not deter tourists from exploring its natural beauty or dive into its waters to find the sunken ruins of World War II Gun placements that were constructed to protect the island from Japanese invasion.
If you look closely at the quality of its landscape during a walking trail, you will still see evidence of volcanic eruption, (magma and lava flow formation) that occurred here from hundred years ago.
The New Gaol Prison
The New Gaol was developed by the government between 1836 and1847 with the point of enforcing strict discipline and slave labor to all the convicted prisoners. It is also designed to isolate each hardened criminal against other group of prisoners to avoid interaction. The pentagonal shaped building housed solitary confinement cells that measures only 6 feet long and 5 feet wide.
Only 3 prisoners are allowed on this cramp and isolated cell. The hard core convicts are delegated into another harsh condition and part of the colony, the underground jail where there is; no sunlight, fresh air, and no sound can even enter driving the prisoner totally crazy after their incarceration. This old prison colony can be seen from the Flagstaff Hill where its orientation and design can be easily figured out. It is now built for tourism purposes only.