Norfolk Island is a true hidden gem and a nice place to visit all year around. The mild weather makes it an especially nice place as if it was Spring the whole year. We’ve prepared the best things to do in Norfolk Island for any traveler who is planning a visit.
Norfolk Island is usually overlooked by travelers. Oftentimes only older people visit the island while it has so much to offer for all travelers. The main source of income for the island is tourism and it welcomes visitors young and old.
There is even a weird saying about Norfolk Island. They say that people who visit Norfolk Island are “newlyweds or nearly-deads”. That’s one way to put it and it shows the usual clienté that travel to the island.
In reality, young families and couples would also enjoy a visit to the island. Although it’s not a typical beach holiday destination there is plenty of things to do in Norfolk Island to make a holiday memorable.
Need some convincing? Is Norfolk Island worth visiting?
Where is Norfolk Island?
Norfolk Island is part of the Australian external territories. It’s located north of New Zealand in the Sub-Tropical area. It’s actually between New Caledonia and New Zealand.
The island is pretty remote with neither of its neighbors being particularly close. It also has a unique climate which makes the weather usually mild and rainy. It feels almost like it’s always Spring on Norfolk Island. Are we allowed to call Norfolk Island the Madeira of Australia?
How to visit Norfolk Island?
You can visit Norfolk Island by flying. From mainland Australia, it’s around 2 hours and 30 minutes. It’s even closer when flying from New Zealand.
The flight schedule is usually corresponding to the expected tourist traffic. During the Australian Summer, you have 3 or even more scheduled flights a week while in the off-season it drops to 1 or 2 flights per week.
20 Things to do in Norfolk Island
Now that we’ve covered the basics it’s time to take a look at all the best things to do in Norfolk Island. Whether you are an active type of traveler or someone who is looking to relax you’ll find plenty of fun on the island.
What we absolutely love in this place is the scenery. Wherever you go, whatever you do on Norfolk Island, you are always surrounded by beautiful nature. Parts of the island go mostly untouched by humans and it really shows as you are exploring.
1. Swim or snorkel at one of the beaches
Although you should not expect temperatures in the high 30 celsius degrees you can still have nice weather for the beach.
Whenever the weather is good enough we recommend that you take a trip to one of the beaches on Norfolk Island.
Emily Bay is the best for enjoying a quiet time in the water. It is sheltered by the coral reef so it has calm and shallow waters. Take a swim and enjoy the scenery of the island in the background.
If you have a snorkeling kit this beach is also a prime place to do some snorkeling. Explore the rich underwater life of Norfolk Island.
2. Explore untouched nature inside the Norfolk Island National Park
The local National Park takes up a big part of the island itself. It’s untouched nature that you can explore via multiple walking trails.
It’s one of our favorite things to do in Norfolk Island as it’s rare to get so close to such beautiful natural environments.
Of course, the crown jewel of the National Park is the lookout at the top of Mt. Pitt. You can see almost all of the island from this lookout point.
You have multiple trails and walks to choose from ranging from easy to moderate. We have to mention that going all the way to the top is considered a moderate hike.
For full info on the hikes (and trails in the botanic garden) check out the official map from the Australian government.
3. Stroll through the botanic garden of Norfolk Island
Looking for even more nature to explore? Then the botanic garden is just the right place for you. Spanning over an impressive 5.5. hectares you can explore plants that are endemic to Norfolk Island.
This is a unique chance to learn more about the local wildlife and to spend time withing beautiful plants and flowers.
The Botanic Garden is part of the National Park. We highly recommend that you visit both the park and the garden as they are awesome places to explore. Whether you do it on one day or on separate days, well, we’ll leave that up to you.
4. Learn about history at the UNESCO World Heritage Site
There is an extensive UNESCO World Heritage Site on Norfolk Island. The town of Kingston makes up most of the World Heritage Site and it’s the perfect place to learn about the island’s history.
First up you must know that Kingston is actually the second oldest town in Australia. That’s an achievement in itself.
Then we encourage you to take a walk among the remains of the town to get closer to the origins of the island.
Hiking up Flagstaff hill is the perfect ending to your visit to the World Heritage Site. It gives a nice overlook of the area you have covered and you can sit down to appreciate the island around you.
If you really want to connect with the locals you can take a quiet stroll through the cemetery as well.
5. Visit the museums of Norfolk Island
Norfolk Island has some awesome museums where you can learn even more about the island itself. For only $35 you can get a museum pass which will let you visit all the museums on the island.
It’s an awesome deal. One of the best things to do in Norfolk Island is to learn about the local history and there is just no better way to do this than visiting the museums.
Most of them are small but well equipped. They display artifacts and one of them is even dedicated to a shipwreck.
6. Explore the lookout points on the rugged coastline
The other best things to do in Norfolk Island is explore nature. The coastline is rocky and has dramatic drops.
Although this means there are only a few beaches on the island it does make for quite an impressive scenery. Luckily, the locals know this.
There are many natural lookout points scattered around the island’s shore. You can hike to them and enjoy amazing views.
One of our favorite lookouts is Bird Rock Lookout. It overlooks the quite uniquely shaped bird rock. It’s a great place to sit down and enjoy the scenery.
Another good lookout point to visit is Puppys Point. It’s one of the best places to watch the sunset on the island. And this leads us nicely to our next point.
7. Enjoy a beautiful sunset
Due to the unique location of Norfolk Island, the sunsets are always natural spectacles here. It would be a shame to visit the island without catching the sunset at least once.
So what are the best places to watch the sunset on Norfolk Island? Here’s the list:
- Puppys Point
- Beautiful lookout point
- Anson Bay
- Natural beach with amazing sunsets. Mind your step on the way back when it’s dark
8. Discover the island on a bike
Almost all travelers rent a car when visiting the island. It is understandable as there is no local public transport and taxis are rather limited.
Car is the easiest way to get around, however, it’s not the only way you should consider. You may rent a bike for one or two days to explore some of the relaxed parts of the island.
The air is clear and the scenery is beautiful. Just the perfect place for some biking. Do note that the terrain is quite hilly. It’s best to rent electric bikes.
9. Sample the amazing local cuisine
One of the things we absolutely love about Norfolk Island is the local cuisine. As the island is quite isolated from the rest of the world, they produce most of their vegetables and meat.
This means that eating in the local restaurants will be a real farm-to-table experience. What fancy new restaurants only dream of in the US is a day-to-day reality on this small Australian island.
This also comes with the side effect that most restaurants operate with a seasonal menu. Not everything is available all the time so they have to change up the menu to match current produce.
10. Watch ships unloading their cargo
Regardless of the isolation the island still needs supplies. Most of the supplies are coming in via cargo ships.
However, there is a strict rule here: big ships can’t anchor within a 1-kilometer radius of the island. This means they can’t simply anchor into the local port and unload all the cargo.
Rather, small ships will go back and forth the island and the cargo ship transporting all the goods onto the island. Sometimes they even transport cars.
The whole thing is quite a unique spectacle on Norfolk Island. If you manage to catch such an unloading it’s a fun thing to watch.
11. Pet some goats at the Hilli Goat Farm
Are you an animal lover? Then don’t skip this fun things to do in Norfolk Island! The Hilli Goat farm is a local cheese producer that you can visit.
Explore their garden and learn about the day-to-day living on the island. You can what type of vegetables the locals grow and how they prepare them.
After that, you can meet the goats. You can even watch the process of milking the goats if you are interested.
Then you will learn about the process of making goat cheese and after that, our favorite part. You will be able to sample some of the goat cheeses the farm produces.
12. Visit the Strawberry Fields & Hedge Maze
A great family activity on the island is a visit to the Strawberry Fields and Maze. It’s a small maze to discover. You can wander the paths of the maze and try to find the exit together.
Inside there are also some funny signs and decorations to discover including a notice that you must definitely read once you find it.
The activity uses a pay-what-you-want system.
13. Go birdwatching
Birdwatching is a popular activity on the island. The great thing is that you don’t need to be a bird enthusiast to go birdwatching on Norfolk Island. You just have to keep an open eye, or if you wish join an arranged tour.
In fact, if you keep looking you will probably meet the Green Parrot inside the National Park. This parrot is one of the rarest birds in the world and is currently an endangered animal.
If you want some guidance we recommend the Green Eyes Bird Tour which is led by Margaret Christian. Margaret is the most renowned bird expert on the island. The tour takes around half a day and she will help you find and spot the most famous and the rarest birds in the area.
14. Catch some fish while enjoying the scenery
We deliberately didn’t write go fishing as a things to do in Norfolk Island. Why not? Well, as the locals would say it’s not really fishing in Norfolk Island. It should be called catching here.
This area of the world does not suffer from overfishing and the isolated nature of the island means the underwater wildlife is mostly undisrupted.
The result is an active and rather huge fish population. Cast your line into the water and you are surely looking at a nice catch.
15. Go stargazing and marvel at the clear night skies
Isolation also means no light pollution. The few houses that are on the island pose no threat to a nice night sky over the island.
If you are someone who loves to stargaze then you will be amazed by the sky during the night. It has some of the clearest views of the stars around us. It’s mind-blowing to look up during the night on Norfolk Island.
16. Check out the cyclorama
Those who want to watch a picturesque reimagination of Norfolk Island’s history will love the local cyclorama. It’s called Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama and it’s one of the few remaining cycloramas in the world.
What is a cyclorama? In short, it’s a circular painting that will give the observer a 360-degree view if standing in the middle. It’s supposed to immerse the viewer into the landscape as if they were part of the events depicted in the painting.
17. Taste the local wines at Two Chimneys Winery
Local produce doesn’t end with food. There is even a winery for you to try. Visit the Two Chimneys Winery to get a sample of locally produced wines. It’s a fun visit.
18. Try the local beers at Norfolk Island Brewing
Is wine not your thing? Then you can try beers instead. The Norfolk Island Brewing company makes craft beers for the locals to enjoy. Join them one night and sample what they have on tap.
19. Tour Phillip Island
Although Phillip Island is only six kilometers south of Norfolk Island, it is a very different place in contrast to the lush green hills and sunny beaches.
Harsh, unforgiving, and alien The Norfolk Island National Park includes this 190-hectare island. Indeed, Phillip Island has acquired the moniker “Uluru of the South Pacific” thanks to its wind-worn contours and deep reds, purples, and yellows.
You can visit Philipp Island only if you are accompanied by a Norfolk local. The best way to organize a tour is to ask the visitor center for current options.
20. Try to join the festivities throughout the year
Finally, we recommend that you try to visit the island when there are local festivities going on. There are multiple dates you can choose from and joining in these activities is a nice way to meet the people of the island.
The official event calendar has all the dates you are looking for. These fun little events include things like a ukelele festival, or a model airplane flying event.