When you think of Australian islands, the first to come to mind is likely Tasmania. As big as it is, and as close as it is to the Australian mainland, it’s hard to miss. It also retains an air of mystery and excitement on its own, as admittedly many other areas of Australia do. However, it’s often forgotten that the Commonwealth of Australia – which is itself one big island – if you stop and think about it has over 8,000 islands total within its maritime borders. A great many end up being overlooked by those planning a holiday Down Under.
It’s a bit much to expect to visit all 8,222 Australian islands in one’s lifetime. There are just too many to choose from, so from that vast array you must discriminate a bit. If a holiday to Australia is in your future, and island hopping is on the itinerary – as it should be – it would behove you to have an idea of which islands are available to see depending on the states you’ll end up visiting. Pick up a guidebook to see just how much of Australia there is to discover, and you might be overwhelmed with choices.
If the eastern Australian states of Queensland, New South Wales or Victoria are where you’re headed, then one overlooked Australian island you might want to take a peek at 877 miles to the east of the mainland is Norfolk Island. A largely self-governing external territory of the Commonwealth of Australia, Norfolk Island has the best of both worlds – mainland Australian hospitality and its own island charm.
What to See and Do on Norfolk Island
Replete with cliffs, pine trees, and beautiful beaches to enjoy the sights and sounds of the South Pacific, and within close proximity to other small islands, Norfolk Island affords visitors a chance to get away from it all while remaining in Australia itself. As if the views weren’t enough in themselves, the weather is also a draw, as Norfolk Island’s mild climate ensures year-round enjoyment (though rain will occasionally make an appearance). Norfolk Island is also a bit of a birder’s paradise, with slender-billed white-eyes, eponymous gerygones, parakeets, and other tropical birds.
Where to Stay
Not as overrun with development as other areas in Australia, most accommodation on Norfolk Island is less about high-rise hotels, more about getting back in touch with your surroundings. Norfolk Island hotels present visitors with the opportunity to enjoy both the age-old blessings of nature and modern comforts. Ocean views are easily acquired, though if you prefer mountains and valleys, you’re sure to find a place to stay where you’ll be close to them. In addition, many hotels are within walking distance of restaurants and tax-free shopping areas.
The next time you’re planning a visit to Australia, keep Norfolk Island in mind. It is a bit of a trek for the more casual traveller, but for the island hopping enthusiast, its locale and charms make it a must-see destination.