For the rest of our lives we all now have a neat line delineating life before and after the arrival of Covid-19. The impact of this horrid virus has of course been felt world-wide, including on our beautiful little island in the South Pacific. We are very thankful that an early shut-down of the island to all but residents and essential personnel resulted in no cases occurring in 2020.
Of course as an island dependent on tourism we felt the economic impact. Have no doubt that as travel re-commences, visitors are being welcomed back to Norfolk Island with wide open arms! In other social ways however we fared well as our naturally strong sense of community and connection to each other meant that during lock-down times we knew without being asked who to drop off supplies to or make that extra phone call to. No-one was left to cope on their own as ‘tek care of awus sullen’ (looking out for each other) is a way of life here, it’s just what we’ve always done.
Across Australia there has been a lot of chat on social and other media that many felt a sense of nostalgia during lock-down enjoying the slower pace with time to do things like baking, crafts, playing games and just being with family. Many don’t want life to go back to ‘normal’ but instead desire to hang on to a quality of life that frantic-paced pre-virus life had lost. Long before any of us had ever heard of Covid-19, many of our visitors experienced a feeling of ‘coming home’ perhaps to a way of life they knew from years ago with a relaxed pace, a sense of quiet, genuine friendliness and attention to life customs and community. On Norfolk there has always existed a safe place to gently ‘reconnect’ with yourself, loved ones or friends. Perhaps now the rest of the world is trying to catch up!
As domestic Australian travel begins to open up there really couldn’t be a better choice than Norfolk Island for a holiday that offers what we’ve always had: a safe, clean, unspoilt community and destination you can really trust. There are of course many reasons for choosing a Norfolk Island holiday depending on whether you need a family holiday, romantic get-away for two, a destination for your local group or the ease of a fully escorted trip.
The beauty of Norfolk is that you can choose to do as much or as little as you’d like. Our pristine environment can be explored via swimming, reef snorkelling, rainforest walks or simply sipping your favoured drink from a vantage cliff-top as the sun sets over the water. There are also a number of guided tours and activities offering extra experiences such as Themed Dinners, Deep Sea Fishing or Breakfast Bushwalks.
For such a small island surrounded by the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, it is amazing how many big history stories have crossed over our little ‘Rock’. Did you know that Norfolk is the most western point of Polynesian settlement in the Pacific with an archaeological site dating 1300-1500AD? World Heritage listed Kingston immerses you into the history of turbulent convict years that began just six weeks after the January 1788 settlement of Sydney, confirming Norfolk’s important role in the new Colony. Kingston was also the place of arrival of the Pitcairn Islanders in 1856 and has been a continual place of work, play and governance ever since. Today’s vibrant Norf’k culture borne out of the infamous ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ is evidenced all over the island. Museums, tours and do-it-yourself exploring will open up our local culture and fantastic history.
Over recent years Norfolk Island has also begun to be appreciated for features it always naturally possessed, yet had remained hidden to most travellers, including being appreciated as a fresh, seasonal ‘foodie’ haven. We have a varied number of daily and evening cafés, clubs and restaurants creating meals from local fresh produce – you really will eat today’s catch of fish with vegetables that were pulled from the ground the day before. Islanders have always relied on using local produce, so all we know is fresh and seasonal, and food miles are counted here in metres. It really is worth the wait to eat food in the season it was meant to be grown with no cold-storage in between the time of being picked and served on your plate. Your taste buds will definitely realise the difference.
Deciding where you’d like to stay on a short, or longer Norfolk Island holiday, there’s a wide range of options. Choose from motel, apartment or stand-alone cottages for modest to top-end budgets together with your favoured view (sea or valley) and relaxation options (pool, spa, Jacuzzi, sauna, tennis court etc.). If you prefer to have all your meals cooked for you there are on-site restaurant options, or make your own in self-contained apartments or houses. Have a think about whether you prefer the convenience of being centrally located, or the extra peace and quiet gained from a short drive out of town.
Whether you visit Norfolk as a sole traveller, with a partner, family or friends, or as part of an organised (or your own) group trip, using the knowledge available from local travel agents, tour operators and visitor information services is a must. ‘Meeting the locals’ really is part of a Norfolk Island experience, and you can do this even before you travel. Local travel agents can help you navigate through your accommodation and tour choices, plus you’ll find insurance and domestic connections can all be organised by the one consultant. Ask about current Hot Deals and Specials.
Despite all of the things that Coronavirus has taken from us and the heart-break it has brought so many people, its important to try and find something positive from this time in our lives. One thing Coronavirus has presented us is the time to think about what’s really important in life, and of course a bit of extra time to spend dreaming and considering our next holiday. The Norfolk Island community certainly believes that Norfolk Island is the answer to your holiday dreams – we’ve always been here, just waiting to be discovered and appreciated for being ourselves. From the airlines to local operators, everyone has worked tirelessly to ensure precautions and measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of visitors and workers alike, and make sure Norfolk Island is your perfect over-the-seas domestic destination.
Image Credit: Robin Nisbet