Saturday, 12 March 2016

Norfolk Island

I've never been to Norfolk Island.  It is an Australian territory.  My parents honeymooned there in the early 1950's and I recall seeing some black and white photos.

Once I started researching the island I found some interesting things that I thought it would be good to share with you.

As you can see Norfolk Island sits out in the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia.  It is remote and small (just under 35 square kilometres).  You can fly there directly from Auckland on Air New Zealand but there is only 1 flight a week so short stays don't work.  It is only a 2 hour flight.

Norfolk Island was named by the redoubtable Captain James Cook after the Duchess of Norfolk.

Like other parts of Australia early English settlement involved convicts.  Because of its remoteness some of the worst dudes were sent there.

Later about 200 people from Pitcairn Island (of Mutiny on the Bounty fame) moved to Norfolk Island.

During WWII there was an important airbase there.

The major settlement on the island is called Burnt Pine – it is the commercial hub with the government being bsed in the capital, Kingston.  Just over 2000 people live on the island.  They speak English as well as a local dialect Norfuk which is a blend of early English and Tahitian (they came via Pitcairn).  These residents do not pay any income tax – so the island is a bit of a tax haven.

The most famous resident was the author Colleen McCullough who wrote The Thorn Birds as well as many other books.  She unfortunately died in January 2015.

For reasons which are unclear to me Norfolk Island is one of the few non US territories to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Climate wise it is temperate – never getting really hot or cold.  The warm months are between November and March – similar to New Zealand.

The Norfolk Island Pine is featured on the flag.

I'm a bit tempted to book a quiet week there in the not too distant future.  There seems to be quite a range of accommodation available.

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