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Driving in Norfolk Island – How is it?

The Australian Norfolk Island is an exciting place to visit. If you are planning a vacation to the island, chances are you are looking at a car rental. However, you might be wondering about one question. Just how is the driving in Norfolk Island?

Luckily, Norfolk Island is an extremely slow-paced area. People are kind and respectful of each other. These traits make driving in Norfolk Island nice and safe. Generally speaking, it’s an easy place to drive.

In this article, we’ll expand on what driving feels like and dive into some details to make sure you stay safe and you are prepared.

If you haven’t decided to rent a car or not then this article is also great for you to see what you can expect if you end up renting.

Do you need a car for visiting Norfolk Island?

In short: yes. Although the island is small there are over 120 kilometers of road to traverse. This is a bit too much on foot!

There is also the fact that the island was formed by volcanic activity. This makes the scenery amazing but also very hilly. So, while a bike is a great option, you will be going uphills quite a lot which can get tiring quickly.

All things considered, we think that everyone visiting the island should rent a car for the best experience. Now that we have this question out of the way let’s dive into the driving in Norfolk Island.

Norfolk Island Road
Steve Daggar, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Basics of Norfolk Island Driving

The basics of driving on Norfolk Island are pretty much the same as anywhere else in the world. You must adhere to the local traffic rules.

Keep in mind that seatbelts are mandatory and small children can only be transported in suitable child seats inside the car.

Always keep the speed limit. The speed limit on the island is only 50 km/h! Even then there are some areas where this already slow speed limit is reduced further. Remember there is nowhere to hurry on Norfolk Island. Keep to the speed limits.

As for traffic signs you can expect universal signs just like the ones you would see in Australia. This applies to painted road markings as well.

Generally speaking, the roads are good quality and paved. You will have almost no issue traversing the landscape and even though the area is hilly it’s not hard to drive on the roads of Norfolk Island.

There are some unpaved roads you might want to look out for during rain but more on that in the next section.

MORE: Getting Around Norfolk Island

Driving in Norfolk Island Specifics

With the basics now covered let’s dive into some specifics about driving on the island. Keep these extra details in mind and you will have no problem while you are renting a car.

Cow on the Road

Be aware of the livestock!

The slow pace of life on Norfolk Island means that most of the livestock is free to roam the landscape. Whenever you are driving always be on the lookout for animals crossing the road or just chilling in the middle of the road.

While driving around you are most likely to meet a lot of cows so take extra care when passing them. Also, remember that livestock has the right of way on the island.

Apart from cows, you are likely to meet birds like ducks or chickens taking up space on the road.

Rain and unpaved roads are not good together!

There is one important road sign on Norfolk Island that you must always adhere to. It says “Road impassable when wet”. These are reserved for roads that are not paved and are susceptible to heavy mudding after rainfall.

As the weather can be quite unpredictable on Norfolk Island you must always keep an eye out for this sign. If it rained very recently then you definitely don’t want to be anywhere on a road with this sign or you might need some rescuing by a 4×4 vehicle.

Wave to other drivers!

Due to Norfolk Island being incredibly small it has a very small-town vibe. Drivers will give a small wave to each other as they pass.

This is actually called the Norfolk Wave on the island. Whenever you visit and rent a car you can try to learn this gesture and take part in it.

You can observe many people using different techniques for the Norfolk Wave and you will surely develop your own preference as well. Just make sure not to veer off the road while doing the wave.

Enjoy Driving on Norfolk Island!

This is everything you must know about driving in Norfolk Island. If we are honest it’s pretty easy. The roads are nice and the locals are nicer. Speed limits are low and people care for each other.

You will surely need to rent a car when visiting so just make sure that you enjoy your time driving around Norfolk Island and taking in all the beautiful scenery.

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