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Norfolk Island Travel Guide: Explore the Hidden Gem in the Pacific Ocean

11 November 2021

Limited to 400 tourists per night, Norfolk Island is a must-visit travel destination for those globetrotters who are yearning for a crowd-free getaway and want to explore the most secluded corners of our planet. This place will welcome you with gorgeous beaches to relax or enjoy watersports, dense forests dotted with lush tree ferns and soaring pines, farmers’ markets with organic seasonal produce, and amiable locals always happy to stop by for a chat. 

To help you plan your journey and enjoy this mind-blowing nature to the fullest, we’ve come up with a list of the most breathtaking things to do on Norfolk Island. Pristine beaches, unique wildlife, exciting tours, and delicious food—your vacation will be anything but boring!

Welcome to Norfolk Island!

Spoiler alert: this travel destination is more than a typical tropical island with luxurious resorts, white-sand beaches, and fruity cocktails. It’s an island of cordial locals leaving their houses open and speaking their own language (a mix of English and Tahitian), cows wandering freely on the roads, and iconic bird species like sacred kingfishers and Norfolk robins. 

Located 1600 kilometers (995 miles) northeast of Sydney, this sub-tropical island is Australia’s external territory. Norfolk Island is renowned for its diverse flora and fauna, dense forests, and picturesque hiking trails. Whether you are a solo traveler, plan a family trip, or want to organize a romantic getaway, on Norfolk Island, everyone will find something to their liking. 

The pleasant spring-like weather makes this island a great destination to visit almost year-round, so the season will depend on what kind of vacation you are looking for. 

January and February are the most delightful months here, with an average temperature of 25°C (77°F), making it an ideal period for swimming and enjoying all kinds of watersports. 

Autumn and spring will delight you with crystal clear skies and a temperature from 17°C to 24°C (63°F-75°F), so it’s the best time to visit Norfolk Island to enjoy a great variety of bird watching tours. The period from June to August might bring rainy weather, along with a temperature from 15°C to 19°C (59°F-66°F), but it’s still a good season to enjoy your crowd-free vacation.

Top 7 Must-Do Things to Fall in Love With Norfolk Island

1. Go swimming and snorkeling at Emily Bay Lagoon

If you are a fan of iconic beaches with white sand and turquoise water, Emily Bay Lagoon will impress you! Thanks to its outer reef and tall pines, you will be away from the wind and heavy ocean waves, making it a wonderful place to swim with kids. This Norfolk beach is also a fantastic spot for snorkeling as here you can observe coral gardens and over 60 colorful fish species like mackerel, yellowfin tuna, trumpeter, and skipjack. 

For those who don’t feel like snorkeling but still want to observe the local marine life, we suggest you take a glass-bottom boat cruise. Once you step aboard Mauatua, a comfortable boat, your experienced guide Don will tell you everything about this beautiful ecosystem and the creatures you might encounter during the tour. 

Don’t forget to bring your camera as the lagoon’s azure waters and lovely surroundings will let you take stunning photos to remember your experience!

2. Encounter the local wildlife in the Norfolk Island National Park

Once you are done observing the marine life, it’s time to explore the island’s unique wildlife and lush greenery. One of the most remarkable places to see on Norfolk Island, this park is full of beautiful hiking trails, magnificent viewpoints, and amazing picnic spots.

Make sure to explore Red Road Track to observe tree ferns and towering pines that can grow up to 60 meters (197 feet). It’s also possible to meet iconic green parrots, the park’s symbol, so keep an eye out for their neon green feathers. This path is 1.7 kilometers (1 mile) long and is perfectly suitable for both pro hikers and newbies. 

There are no endemic mammals here, but in this park, you will find 110+ endangered bird species like silvereyes, morepork owls, and red-tailed tropicbirds. Besides birds, you can spot two native reptile species here: the Lord Howe Island skink and the Lord Howe Island gecko. 

3. Take a bird watching tour through the rainforest 

Norfolk Island is full of unique bird species you won’t find anywhere else. Wandering around the island with Margaret on her informative Green-Eyes Bird Tour, you will travel through the rainforest, explore splendid coastal areas, and climb spectacular clifftops to spot 25+ bird species. 

Remember that your tour will start at 8 AM as it’s crucial to encounter as many birds as possible. At first, you will meet Margaret for a cup of tea and she will tell you about the local wildlife, the island’s history, and bird species. Then, you will go through the rainforest and the national park. It will be a good idea to get a pair of binoculars in order to not disturb our feathered friends. 

Finally, Margaret will take you to her property to grab a bite to eat and observe the colony of masked gannets nesting there. These large seabirds with white bodies and black tails and wings will definitely impress you!

4. Visit the farmers’ markets to mingle with the locals

It’s time to savor Norfolk food, buy some souvenirs, and get to know the islanders a bit better. Come to the Rawson Hall car park on Saturday morning and treat yourself to fresh fish, cheese, locally-grown fruit, herbs, and vegetables. It’s a must-visit place on Norfolk Island if you want to mingle with the locals and learn as much as possible about their daily routine. 

If you are into arts and crafts, head to the Bicentennial Complex on Sunday morning to get some souvenirs and listen to live music. Here you will also find such lip-smacking desserts as guava cheesecakes, tarts, ice cream, and smoothies. Bright vendor stalls, numerous tempting smells from food courts, and the market’s hustle and bustle will create a vivid and memorable atmosphere for you to enjoy! 

5. Take the Hilli Goat Cheese Tour

A true paradise for all animal lovers, the Hilli Goat Cheese Tour will allow you to get detailed info about the cheese-making process, pet adorable goats, and have a delightful lunch while observing the fantastic valley views.

The farm is located on a cliff on Anson Bay, the most scenic place on Norfolk Island. Fantastic beaches, azure water, and tall pines—this place has everything to provide you with a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience! 

At first, you will learn about the farm’s history while petting friendly goats wandering around. Then, you will take a look at the milking shed and your experienced guide will tell you about the secrets of the cheese-making process. Finally, it’s time for the freshest lunch ever: homemade bread, locally-grown vegetables, goat cheese, and fried fish. Don’t miss out on a chance to immerse yourself in this inviting and relaxing atmosphere!

6. Learn the island’s history at the Kingston UNESCO World Heritage Site

Planning your visit to Norfolk Island, stop by the Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) to learn everything about the island’s history and culture. This site was a settlement for British prisoners forced to migrate to eastern Australia during the 18th and 19th centuries. 

You can explore these abandoned government buildings and the ruins of jails by yourself or get the Norfolk Island Museums Pass to visit four great facilities. 

At the Commissariat Store Museum, you will find such inhumane artifacts of the colony’s life as legcuffs and whips. The No. 10 Quality Raw will impress you with the convicts’ quarters, furniture made by prisoners, and gripping stories about their families. The Pier Store Museum will help you learn more about the local language and its origin. The Sirius Museum is home to a British flagship that sank near Norfolk Island in 1790, along with 136 sailors and officers.

7. Hike to Mount Pitt Lookout to stargaze 

You won’t find here any thickly populated cities full of skyscrapers, neon signs, cars, and smog, so observing the ebony-colored night sky of Norfolk Island sprinkled with glimmering stars will become a special experience for any avid traveler. 

Mount Pitt Lookout is one of the best places on Norfolk Island to stargaze at 300 meters (984 feet) above sea level. You will relish the mind-blowing view of vast Norfolk pines and the boundless Pacific ocean. Bring a cozy blanket, some snacks to munch on, and a pair of binoculars, and get ready to spot constellations, stars, and planets in this splendid night sky!

The Wonders of Norfolk Island Are Waiting to Be Discovered! 

We are sure that Norfolk Island’s diverse flora and fauna, picturesque hiking trails, and fantastic beaches will enchant you right away! It’s time to pack your backpack and embark on the upcoming journey with Ragnar to get a special travel experience you deserve.

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