Okay, so you're getting ready to head over to Norfolk Island - chances are, you may not have been to this little patch of paradise about halfway between the east coast of Australia and New Zealand. Norfolk Island is a 35sq km ancient volcanic tip within the Norfolk Ridge that extends from New Caledonia to New Zealand. Only the volcanic tops of Norfolk and the neighbouring Philip and Nepean islands break the surface of the Pacific Ocean. Nicknamed the Rock by locals, it is another connection that we have to Uluru!
This forgotten secret in the South Pacific has some quirky and endearing hallmarks that are becoming rare in the homogenisation of the world.
Here are some trivia titbits for you:
As one of the worst penal colonies in Australia's bleak convict history, Norfolk Island is home to many trapped souls tormented by the wrongs perpetrated on them at the hands of the red coats. A building known as 'The Duplex' has been identified as Australia's most haunted house. This building was featured on the television series 'The One' which searched for Australia's best psychic.
There are many stories, told over many generations, about this site. To this day, some locals will never enter this building because of the spooky experiences they've encountered. You'll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the island's ghost whisperers.
Since Norfolk Island proudly has little or no light pollution, and boasts one of the darkest skies on Earth, the island makes an excellent place for deep sky observing and astrophotography. In fact, it has been given a Gold Level rating in the Dark Skies register. Having done many, dozens of skywatches at Uluru and other outback locations, we can say that the stars here are the brightest that we've ever seen. Our skywatch will be hosted by the island's stargazing tour guide, Peter Davies, and you'll have the chance to get a glimpse of the sky's luminaries through his two large telescopes.
NO CREEPY CRAWLIES
You won't find any of the usual deadly suspects. A relief to English backpackers! There are no snakes at all on the island, and no deadly spiders - not a redback on the dunny seat here! In fact, aside from domesticated animals and pets, plenty of feral chickens, birdlife, insects and Polynesian rats, there are no animals due to the isolation.
As descendants of the Bounty Mutineers, this island's inhabitants have a strong and fierce sense of independence. The islanders are fighting for sovereignty, after being taken over by the Australian government in 2016. Prior to that, they had 68 years of independence. You won't find Vanguard and Blackrock multinational business on island - that's right, no McDonalds, Westfields, K-Mart or Woolworths! The businesses here are unique and local. The cultural heritage and unique historical characteristics of the island and its people seem to be slowly eroded by a new world order agenda and it might be time for another mutiny!
The small island has its own language, Norf'k (or Norfuk), estimated to be spoken by 74% of children at the local school. It developed as a means of communication on Pitcairn Island between the English mutineers and their Tahitian wives in 1790 and was brought to Norfolk Island in 1856 when the Pitcairn Islanders relocated. The language even has its own piece of legislation (Norfolk Island Language (Norf’k) Act 2004) to recognise it as an official language of Norfolk Island. It's spoken by an estimated 1,000 people and was listed some years ago by the UN as an endangered language.
Up until recently, there were no roundabouts and no traffic lights on the roads. There are three roundabouts that have been installed recently, giving the locals something to have to learn how to navigate! You'll see kids and dogs riding in the back of trucks, and the top speed on island is 50km/hr -which isn't hard to manage due to all the potholes (and cows.... see next point!).
Cows have right of way! Yes, you read that correctly. Driving through the lush green landscape of Norfolk Island, a leisurely gait of a herd of big-eyed bovines wandering on the road will bring you a gentle reminder that it's good to slow the pace.
The island has an NSW postcode, an Antarctic phone prefix, Queensland Education runs the school and Queensland Health runs the hospital. The Norfolk Island local parliamentary candidate is from the seat of Bean in Canberra (not very local!) and the cops on island are Australian Federal Police. The flights from Sydney and Brisbane are considered domestic, yet they depart from the international terminals. Norf'k language has been classified as an Atlantic Creole language, despite the island's location in the Pacific Ocean. And last, by not least, to connect to the internet, you'll use a New Zealand satellite.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Kingston is officially the capital of Norfolk Island. The town was established on 6 March 1788 by Lieutenant Philip Gidley King and its first 22 settlers including 9 male and 6 female convicts.
French navigator La Pérouse, had met with Gidley King and reported that the island was a place for 'eagles and angels'. Despite that, Gidley King and his small group sailed from Port Jackson on the HMT Supply. Initially, Kingston was known as Sydney Bay and later called the Town of Sydney. At that time, Sydney was called New Albion. Kingston is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area and was planned out in its modern version in the 1830s using a Roman-style grid plan by the Royal Engineers.
There's so much to see and do on Norfolk Island. Don't be put off by it's tiny size - it has a big energy, lots of character and an amazing history. Join us here for the 6th Cosmic Consciousness Conference and make sure to build in several days on either side of the event to get time to explore.
COSMIC CONSCIOUSNESS CONFERENCE 'GATHERING OF THE GUARDIANS'
Governor's Lodge, Norfolk Island 20-23 September 2022