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norfolk island

I’d become a vegetarian if bacon grew on trees. It doesn’t. So I’m not. This means when I go on a holiday, it includes copious amounts of physical exertion to offset my full-cream mayonnaise consumption. I love brisk walking. What’s better than walking? Walking uphill. Meet Norfolk Island — a mere two-hour flight from Sydney.

A hilly little island, Norfolk is ideal for a walking holiday. But others enjoy kayaking, surfing, cycling, snorkelling, tennis or squash. There’s no shortage of ways to stay fit on Norfolk, which is just as well —because food and booze are dirt cheap. The more you eat and drink, the more you save — so extra exercise is required

norfolk island

Image: Lydia Thorpe, NI Tourism

Bring your walking shoes…
A quarter of Norfolk Island is national parks and botanic gardens with well-maintained and signposted walking trails, where you can see Jurassic tree ferns and stately Norfolk Island pines. You may even spot the elusive green parrot, only found on Norfolk Island. Walks among the convict ruins (Norfolk was once a brutal penal colony for recidivist convicts) at sunset are also stunning.

If you’re after something a little more challenging, the Phillip Island trek is a must. This uninhabited island is a 30-minute boat ride from Kingston Pier. A park guide will lead you on a trek the top to enjoy volcanic landscapes and thousands of seabirds on their great migrations.

…And your swimming costume
There’s no shortage of wonderful places to take a dip on Norfolk. Emily and Slaughter Bay (despite the name) are great spots for swimming and snorkelling. On low tide, you can walk the reef. Or, for a better workout, swim ‘the channel’, which takes you from one beach to the other.

Image: Lydia Thorpe, NI Tourism

Norfolk is open to swell from all angles, but mostly from the south. The island offers excellent surf breaks, with swells rolling in over the island’s coral reefs. The most consistent reef break offering barrelling lefts and peaks is in Slaughter Bay. Psst! There’s zero crime on Norfolk so you can leave their boards and wetsuits on the grass and they’ll still be there the next day.

It’s great for paddle-lovers too
You can kayak amongst Norfolk’s own Twelve Apostles and high rock arches, around massive rock stacks rising sheer from the ocean, past the blowhole and towering basalt cliffs that resemble organ pipes, then stop at the Chord (a crystal-clear rock pool) to enjoy snorkelling among the coral and fish life. 

But if all this exercise isn’t enough to shed that double brie you had with the shiraz the night before, you could always do what mutineer, Captain William Bligh, did and simply row a 1000 miles to Batavia.


Where to stay We stayed at COAST, a collection of private cottages, apartments and beach houses set on 30 acres of gardens. The property features fully self-contained accommodation and offers complimentary use of pushbikes, snorkelling gear, fishing rods, golf clubs, tennis racquets and the saltwater swimming pool.

Getting there Air New Zealand flies directly to Norfolk Island each week. We found the airline punches above its weight, as economy is more like ‘premium economy’ with its comfy wide seats. We upgraded to the ‘works package’ with meals and free movies and killer NZ wines.

Insider tips

– To learn the layers of the island’s history at the four Norfolk Island Kingston museums, we recommend you purchase the Museum Pass. It’s only twenty-five bucks you access to all four museums.

– On our first day,  we used local guide Rick Kleiner of Personal Island Tours to show us around the joint. Rick offers personal tours of the island, tailor-made to your interest, unveiling the island’s rich and fascinating history.

– Visit the Saturday Farmers markets from 7.30am – 10.30am. It’s an interesting insight into how the islanders live.

Written by Dorian Mode

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