Monday, December 18, 2006

Norfolk Island

Crew change this time took us unusually to Norfolk Island. Having done absolutely zero prior research on my destination I really didn't know what to expect. Discovered in 1774 by Captain Cook on his second voyage Norfolk Island was used as a penal colony in its early days. Nowadays Norfolk Islands main industry is tourism and only the ruins remain of it's painful past.

It's easy to see why the Islands 1700 odd residents love their home so much. To my surprise there is only a 1% income tax here making it a international tax haven. Cows have right of way on the Islands roads which maximum speed limit is 50 kph and there is no law against drink driving. There is no such thing as unemployment and people who do not wish to push their own weight are deported (so it is said!). There are no mobile phones on the island and all local calls made on land lines are free.

On landing we realised that we had a pretty unique opportunity to explore the place. We elected to hire bikes and set off immediately for Mt Bates the highest point on the island. Norfolk is only 8km by 5km in size so Mt Bates offered a special look at the whole island including Phillip Island to the south. Getting up the hill by bike was a challenge in itself but going down was a blast through the rugged tracks of the national park.

Lucky enough to survive the experience we rode on down to Kingston the capital of Norfolk. Nowadays Kingston is not much other than a couple of official government buildings and the ruins left of the Prison Settlement.

The 2nd settlement of Norfolk was used as a penal collony for repeat offenders who withstood some of the most heinous conditions of the time. Normally the cells here not bigger than 5ft by 6ft fit 3 prinoners. If i wasn't scurvy or dissentry that killed them, they killed each other just so they could then recieve the death penalty and end their suffering. Bit similar to being trapped on a seismic boat I suppose?

Like life on the island, number plates don't really get that complicated!

With the ride almost over we relaxed down at the Kingston golf course with a few well timed jars. Noble notions of a quick round of golf early the next morning were quashed with the festivities later in the night. If you ever get to spend some more time here then it's recommended you get some fishing done as it is meant to be fantastic. There are also reefs to dive or snorkel if the weather is permitting. Another favourite pastime of the locals is surfing and you can pick your side of the island depending on prevailing winds. Don't forget the mountain bike riding!
Thanks Norfolk Island.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

out of sight but not out of mind.
lovely island. from m.kelly. uk.

5:14 AM  

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