Can you keep a secret? Norfolk Island has managed to keep a big one for a long time now – however your kids will be the ones to spill the beans within hours of arriving on the island. And if you want a hint (or the answer really!) it’s that Norfolk Island is a brilliant family holiday destination. On Norfolk you’ll find all the elements to keep every generation entertained yet at the same time kick back, re-connect and enjoy being a family on holiday together.
Perhaps the favoured time for family visits is during spring and summer months, and especially after the chaos of Christmas and New Year when everyone is in need of having batteries re-charged. The crystal clear waters of Emily Bay become the hub of the island during these warm days. From an early morning swim on a near deserted beach; through energetic mid-morning leaps off the raft (conveniently moored mid-bay); snorkelling past multi-coloured fish and coral in the afternoon; finally grab a tasty serving of take-away fish and chips to dine alfresco against a picture-perfect sunset.
In truth for parents, Norfolk Island is just plain easy. On your journey down to Emily Bay you won’t find traffic (or even traffic lights!), nor queues or parking problems. Here, you can pull up across the road from the beach and even pass on locking the car such is the safe nature of the island. Often visiting kids end up playing with local kids and many a friendship has been made out on the raft or over sandcastle building. There’s a toy library of spades, buckets and beach toys to borrow from bypassing the need to pack in your luggage – or the car.
The choice of non-beach activities for kids include activity programs at the Norfolk Island Museum, fishing (off the pier or boat fishing charter), numerous rainforest walks in the National Park and Reserves, glass bottom boat rides and for the more adventurous, a trip to nearby Phillip Island or scuba diving. Playing with the ducks and chooks that wander freely in many areas and exploring the green, green valleys of the island’s interior may also make you think you’re on a rural escape.
The Norfolk Islander’s unique culture was born from a descendancy of the famous English mutineers of The Bounty and their Polynesian wives. You’ll find an opportunity for all in the family to enjoy meeting the locals and learning some of the Norf’k language, weaving, carving and cooking on tours such as The Music Valley Experience, Curious Castaways or Norfolk Island Cultural Art and Heritage Tour. Continue this at night on the Island Heritage Dinner, a Fish Fry or Progressive Dinner.
There’s a good choice of daily tours providing the opportunity for individual or age-related preferences to be met. Norfolk’s convict stories are presented with in-depth focus on a choice of convict settlement tours throughout World Heritage listed Kingston; or at night on an entertaining, spot-lit re-enactment on the Sound and Light Tour (just bear in mind that together with a choice of lantern-lit Ghost Tours, these may be a little too frightening for very young ones). Other fun night-time dinners for solving include, Who Killed The Surveyor? and Murder Mystery Dinner.
Norfolk Island has a pristine environment with the freshest of fresh clean and clear air that at night becomes completely star-filled. Most city kids won’t have seen anything quite like it and will get a buzz from learning how to pick out the constellations and spot the dot of satellites moving evenly across the sky. Joining a Night Skies Stargazing tour is equally interesting for both kids and adults.
With the choice of purchasing fresh, locally grown produce, the idea of food miles is converted into food meters on Norfolk and tired taste buds literally come to life. Buy your fresh fish at a local butcher or right off the jetty as the boats come in. There is something deeply pleasing about feeding your family genuinely fresh seasonal produce that tastes like food used to taste before cold-storage became a necessity for mass supply in city centres. Most of Norfolk cafés and restaurants creatively use seasonal produce to make delicious meals for everyday as well as special dining experiences. All clubs and many restaurants have kid’s menus.
Norfolk Island’s accommodation options provide a good choice for extended family holidays where everyone can stay at one property in a self-contained unit or cottage, in holiday homes, or motels with an on-site restaurant and pool. The easiest way to find the perfect accommodation fit for your family is by using the local knowledge and booking power of on-island travel agents.
The chance for a family to wind-down and re-connect seems to come naturally on Norfolk Island. This is a friendly, laid-back place where the cows wandering the roads have right of way and drivers wave to each other as they pass. Norfolk’s magic inevitably weaves its spell on all, from pre-schoolers to sceptical teens, weary mums and dads – and grandparents. It offers the chance to do a lot, or not much at all – but especially to just enjoy being on holiday together. Family memories are ready to be made on Norfolk Island.
The secret of Norfolk Island is out – kids love this place – just as much as their parents!
Image Credit: Robin Nisbet
Article content disclaimer: Article first published in Discover Norfolk, Volume 05 Issue 02, 2022. Please note that details of specific travel, accommodation and touring options may be outdated. References to people, places and businesses, including operating days and times may be have changed. References to Government structure and Government businesses/entities may no longer be applicable. Please check directly with businesses and/or Government websites directly rather than relying on any information contained in this article before you make travel arrangements.