Why Norfolk Island is perfect for a romantic getaway
Well, this peaceful retreat has everything you and your partner could possibly desire, whether it’s delicious local food and drink, luxury accommodation or exciting sightseeing opportunities and attractions.
Measuring just 8km by 5km, Norfolk Island is within three hours flight of Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland, meaning you can enjoy a short break and still experience some of the island’s most appealing features.
Boasting a fascinating history, pristine vistas and fantastic hospitality, you’ll return from your Norfolk Island romantic getaway with a lifetime’s worth of memories and an eagerness to come back!
First, a Norfolk Island history lesson
Part of Norfolk Island’s undeniable uniqueness is tied up in its history, with its inhabitants almost entirely descended from HMS Bounty mutineers from the late 1700s.
While English is the primary language, the Norfolk Islanders also speak Norfolk – a language that has survived the centuries from the earliest settlers.
This is just a small sample of Norfolk Island’s fascinating background, with various museums and galleries available for couples who want to learn more.
A must-see is the intriguing Bounty Folk Museum – a private collection consisting of hours worth of convict-era artefacts and souvenirs spread across a maze of rooms.
The Pitcairn Settlers Village allows you to see the original Bailey homestead and gardens, giving you a glimpse of the inhabitant’s proud history through a museum, an ex-New Zealand Army hut and the oldest working forge in the Pacific.
Where is Norfolk Island?
If you’re not familiar with Norfolk Island’s location, it is situated off the East Coast of Australia. It is approximately in line with Byron Bay in terms of latitude and is positioned around 1400km east of the Australian coast, between New Zealand and New Caledonia. Lord Howe Island, on the other hand, is only 900 km away from Norfolk Island but is closer to the Australian mainland.
How to get to Norfolk Island
If you’re planning a trip to Norfolk Island, there are a few things you should know. Norfolk Island is an Australian Territory located in the Pacific Ocean. While passports are recommended, they are not compulsory for entry. You can simply use your Australian driver’s license as a form of identification.
In terms of flights, Qantas offers three flights per week to Norfolk Island from both Sydney and Brisbane. The flights are operated on a large Boeing 737 and the duration of the flight is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes. So, getting to Norfolk Island is relatively convenient and doesn’t require a long travel time.
Wining & dining on Norfolk Island
Enjoying a candlelit dinner for two is likely to be high on your list of priorities if you are on a couple’s vacation, and the island can certainly deliver.
Bailey’s Restaurant at the Governor’s Lodge is a firm favourite, featuring an a la carte menu brimming with contemporary cuisine and using only the freshest local produce.
A selection of Australasian wines is available, so sit back in this beautifully restored 1900s homestead and share some treasured moments with your loved one.
For a further sneak peak into the island’s penal colony history, why not visit Barney Duffy’s Charcoal Grill? The restaurant’s namesake was an escaped convict who dodged the law for seven years by hiding in a huge Norfolk Island pine, before being finally caught.
Patrons to the grill are not only able to indulge in sumptuous steaks, but they can also hear Duffy’s story lovingly retold by the restaurant’s owner or staff.
Things to do & see on Norfolk Island
Once you’ve had your fill of local culture, you and your partner will no doubt want to experience the best sightseeing opportunities and attractions Norfolk Island has to offer. Here are some of the best things to do and see on your Norfolk Island Romantic Getaway.
Snorkel and Swim At Emily Bay
If you’re looking for a beautiful spot to swim and snorkel, Emily Bay in Norfolk Island is the perfect destination. The bay is protected by a coral reef, which keeps the water calm and ideal for snorkeling. Don’t forget to bring your flippers and snorkels to fully explore the vibrant marine life beneath the clear waters. The coral and fish in Emily Bay are just as impressive as those found in popular snorkeling destinations like Fiji and Vanuatu.
Visit the World Heritage Site KAVHA
The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA), also known as Kingston, is a World Heritage site located on Norfolk Island. It is a significant heritage site in Australia, showcasing the history of Polynesian, convict, and Pitcairn Islander cultures. KAVHA holds great importance to the Norfolk Island community and continues to contribute to its life, identity, and culture. As one of the best-preserved examples of large-scale convict transportation and colonial expansion, KAVHA represents the presence and labor of convicts during that time. It is one of the eleven sites that collectively form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property.
Norfolk Island cemetery
Located near the Golf Club and offering a breathtaking view of the ocean, the Norfolk Island cemetery is a place of intrigue and fascination. Each grave tells a unique story, providing detailed descriptions of how each individual met their fate. Among the notable residents of this cemetery is Colleen McCullough, the renowned author of “The Thorn Birds.” Visiting this cemetery is not just a morbid curiosity, but a chance to reflect on the lives and legacies of those who have passed.
Visit the Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama
Make sure to visit the Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama on Norfolk Island. This unique attraction features a panoramic painting that brings to life the famous Mutiny on the Bounty story. As you step into the circular building, you’ll be immersed in a visual and sound experience that will leave you in awe. Don’t miss out on this breathtaking depiction of the island’s history.
Norfolk Island National Park and Botanic Gardens
Walk hand-in-hand at the Norfolk Island National Park and Botanic Gardens, where you can visit an aviary that houses the island’s green parrots – an endangered species found nowhere else in the world.
Accommodation Norfolk Island
Having explored everything Norfolk Island has to offer, no romantic getaway would be complete without the best in the island’s accommodation to return to. Here are some of our favourite picks for couples.
For those seeking ultimate privacy, Endeavour Lodge offers a secluded retreat. These luxurious apartments, available in one, two, and three-bedroom options, are situated on a clifftop, providing breathtaking views. Relax on your private and spacious verandah, where you can witness stunning sunsets. The interior is adorned with native pine timber furnishings, giving it a cozy and rustic feel reminiscent of a ski lodge. With such magnificent views, it’s hard to find anything to complain about at Endeavour Lodge.
Watermill Beach House Estate
Watermill Beach House Estate is a charming cottage located in the historic World Heritage area of Kingston. Originally built in the early 1900s, the cottage has been transformed into a stunning beach retreat. Inside, guests will find luxurious furnishings and modern comforts that were unimaginable to the early settlers of the area. Surrounding the estate is a nine-hectare Norfolk Pine forest, filled with hidden valleys and creeks. Just beyond the convict stone fence, visitors can explore Kingston’s magnificent Georgian homes and museums, which house priceless treasures. Additionally, nearby attractions include Government House, a convict cemetery, and a golf course situated on a World Heritage Site. All of this is complemented by the breathtaking beauty of Emily Bay, one of Australia’s most stunning beaches.
Experience your own castaway adventure at Castaway Retreat, a luxurious island paradise owned and operated by Sarah and Tony Watts. Originally built in the 1970s by Sarah’s grandfather, Ken Prentice, this Norfolk accommodation has a rich history and is highly regarded as one of the island’s most beloved places to stay. Whether you prefer hotel-style rooms or self-contained apartments, each of the 20 accommodations offers stylish and contemporary designs with beautiful garden views. Enjoy the convenience of an onsite restaurant and bar, as well as a covered deck that overlooks the picturesque Burnt Pine valley. Come and live out your Tom Hanks fantasy at Castaway Retreat, where relaxation and tranquility await.
Timezone & currency
Norfolk Island operates on Australian currency and has a Commonwealth Bank branch and ATM for convenience. To stay connected, visitors can obtain a local sim card for the phone network and mobile data, or utilise the wi-fi hotspots available in town or at their accommodation. It’s important to note that Norfolk Island is one hour ahead of Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) and observes daylight saving time.