Islands tend to have romantic pasts, but none more so than Norfolk. It's here, in this tiny isle, where a single ring sealed the bonds of forbidden love for history's famous Bounty mutineers, leading to an incredible fusion of cultures. Haven't yet heard the tale? Prepare to fall in love with the romance and sheer beauty of Norfolk Island.
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It's a story best heard in the company of your own loved one; how the mutineers, whose descendants settled on Norfolk Island in 1856, had just one ring between them when they landed on Pitcairn Island in 1790. One by one, they used this ring to wed their Tahitian sweethearts. The ring married the next generation, too, then vanished until 1941, when it was dug up in a Pitcairn veggie patch and brought to Norfolk Island Museum for a well-earned retirement. You can still see it today in the museum's atmospheric 1825 Pier Store building, but if you prefer to get to know the romance of modern-day Norfolk, there's also plenty to discover.
The island's natural gifts are the main drawcard, of course, creating a spellbinding setting for a couples' escape. Rugged coastline, secluded beaches, vast blue ocean surrounds, green palm-filled oases, and pine-clad hilltops – it all comes together in Norfolk to enchant anyone who visits.
Life here has a soothing rhythm and the pace slows as you step out of the small airport into Norfolk's 3,455 hectares of pristine landscape. The best place to first survey your island playground is Mount Bates, the highest point at 319 metres above sea level, in Norfolk Island National Park. From here, you can gaze out at a rare 360-degree view of the horizon. Encircled by blue and intoxicated by the pure ocean air, many have made this their proposal place. It's not hard to see why.
The island's position in the Pacific (1,400 km east of Australia and with the nearest land 767km to the north in New Caledonia) seems made for gazing at sea, sky and – best of all – ocean sunsets. If you're east coast-dwellers back on the mainland, there are few opportunities at home to see the sun sink to the surf. But on Norfolk, at Puppy's Point on the west coast, it's a nightly spectacle. Our advice? Join locals for a cliff-top fish fry, or choose a night when there's just you two and the breathtaking view. It's the simple things in life.
Even at high season (November to February), the island never feels crowded – just 1,700 people live here. Needless to say, beyond the central township of Burnt Pines and its pretty cafes, galleries and stores, there's more than enough lush forest, golden beach and dramatic cliff-top for everyone to enjoy.
If you're looking to mix a back-to-nature experience with fabulous dining and luxurious accommodation, you won't be disappointed. There are around 25 different dining options on Norfolk, each run by passionate locals and serving delicious cuisine. An absolute must-visit, the award-winning Dino's at Bumboras offers exquisite fare made from the freshest island-grown produce and straight-from-the-ocean seafood. A converted island homestead constructed of Norfolk Island Pine and convict-cut sandstone, this beloved spot is set on a lush half-acre garden and is filled with eclectic treasures and intimate nooks – perfect for an unforgettable dining experience.
Consider yourselves wine-lovers? Whether you're true connoisseurs or just enjoy a tipple every now and again, make your way to Two Chimneys Winery. Norfolk's first and only winery, it's perfect for enjoying a platter of local delights and taking in gorgeous vineyard views, wine in-hand. Also cherished for their generous country-style platters, The Hilli Goat is where you can sample delectable morsels, wander through the edible gardens and meet the farm's cheeky residents.
If you're holing up in one of Norfolk's self-catering properties (and you really should), a private chef can keep dinner plans simple with a super-private romantic feast. Inviting couples to do just that, Tintoela features two secluded cottages and a grand homestead, each with their own fully equipped kitchen. Also with sumptuous touches like fireplaces, window seats, massage services and the use of a premium five-seater car for exploring the island, the three-acre retreat provides all the essentials for a spectacular escape. Then again, with a setting so rich with natural beauty, you're pretty much guaranteed a sensational experience wherever you stay.
Chat to Norfolk's locals – more than a third of whom are descended from the Bounty mutineers – and you'll discover romance still brings many to these shores. And there's so much to be won over by: the beauty, the serenity, the privacy, the rich history and the edible delights. Go to Norfolk for all of these, but most of all go there together, for love.
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