In most industries, people take annual leave and can’t wait to completely switch off from the tasks they perform during their work day. I’m unfortunate enough that from time to time that I don’t get to switch off during my annual leave by choosing to travel to Lord Howe Island or Norfolk Island. 2018 will be no different as my wife and I have decided to take our kids to Norfolk again.
Our last family holiday to Norfolk was December 2016 and we had such a tremendous time our children, now 10 & 7 have hassled us ever since to go back! This time we’ll be returning with our new addition, little 7-month-old Jonnie so things may not go quite as smooth as our previous visit! We will also be joined by some close friends who have 2 young children, work extremely hard and crave a relaxing yet interesting holiday – pretty sure my children convinced them Norfolk would be the ideal getaway!
Like most children, ours love a good holiday and whilst Norfolk doesn’t offer theme parks, kids clubs & large shopping centres that are common attractions for families, it certainly ticks all the boxes when it comes to kids having a more ‘natural holiday’…..and that’s what my wife & I would like our children to experience as often as possible, so they always feel some sort of connection to mother nature.
Below I have listed a handful of activities that my children experienced on our last visit & have no doubt we’ll be revisiting most of these in 2018. No particular pecking order.
One of the most beautiful & safe swimming lagoons you can imagine. 2 visits each day, a morning swimming for an hour or two shortly after breakfast & another hour or so before sunset. On most occasions, the afternoon swim involved an esky & a picnic basket. Sensational end to a fun-filled day.
(Kingston & Arthurs Vale Historic Area) – This World Heritage listed site is recognised as being among the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts. It is one of eleven sites that make up the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. The site is well known for its picturesque character, outstanding Georgian buildings and evocative ruins. Entry to the area is free and the kids thoroughly enjoyed exploring the ruins whilst learning the stories of Norfolk Island’s history…….What, the convicts didn’t even have DVD players!
Feeding the sharks! –
On Norfolk, the locals refer to fishing as ‘catching’ as they always return with a good haul. When the fisherman returns to Kingston Pier they clean their catch and throw the scraps to the numerous sharks circling for a snack. Outside an aquarium, this was as closest my kids have been to sharks and they were thrilled when the locals offered them to join in by tossing some fish remains to the peckish sharks.
Hilli Goat Farm –
My wife is definitely a foodie, I love food & we all love animals so what better place for our family to visit. The farm is located in the stunning Anson Bay you will be shown around by third generation farmer Emily Ryves & learn the history of the property and gain an insight into their unique way of living.
You start with an introduction to some very cheeky goats before wandering through the Edible Gardens. Emily explains the milking and cheese making process before making your way to the verandah of their island home where you will enjoy the breathtaking view whilst indulging in a delicious Hilli Goat style Platter of freshly made Goats Cheese and edible delights that have been freshly picked from their backyard – you’ll experience the Paddock to Plate way of life or “The Norfolk Way’
Unfortunately on our last visit, Emily was officially on annual leave, however, she was kind enough to invite us up to the property to meet the goats, watch the milking and explain the cheese making process. This was really interesting and the kids got right in amongst the goats and had a great time. It’s definitely on the list for our next visit as I’m dying to try the platter that so many visitors rave about!
Fish & chips at Anson Bay –
We dropped into the Fish & Chook shop to grab some hot chips and freshly caught trumpeter (fish) before driving out to Anson Bay lookout for ‘lunch with a view’. What a magnificent outlook! The idea was the kids would be full of energy to walk from the picnic area down to the bay, however, after eating too many chips they decided it would be a better idea to rest for a while and save their energy for jumping off the pontoon during their planned afternoon swim at Emily Bay. If going to Anson Bay make sure you stop to have a look at the impressive Moreton Bay Fig Trees that line New Farm Road at Rocky Point Reserve.
The Norfolk Island toy shop –
No family escapes a holiday on the island without spending at least an hour in either the Toy Shop at the Bounty Centre or the smaller version at the entry to Walk in The Wild. Due to the one rainy afternoon we encountered, I was lucky enough to visit them both. The smaller has complimentary mini golf outside which myself and the kids really enjoyed but apparently, I kept cheating so I had to buy the ice creams.
An evening at the Jolly Roger Restaurant –
Is a must, the perfect night out for the whole family. The restaurant is all pirate inside & out. Good food & great music – compliments of the very accomplished owner Matt Zarb who is often joined on stage by other talented on island musicians. A tremendous night out for anyone visiting the island.
A morning bushwalk –
There is plenty of fantastic walking to be done on Norfolk and no doubt the national park has to be up there with the best of it, offering some of the island’s most stunning scenery and many easily accessible vantage points. Make sure you stop at Captain Cook Monument, the view of the northern coastline from here is magnificent. Apart from a great lookout, it’s also the perfect spot for a picnic lunch with tables, BBQ & toilets. You can access Captain Cook Monument from Duncombe Bay Road if you’d prefer to drive.
The walks in the national park aren’t overly strenuous so the kids put in a couple of hours before they earnt yet another visit to Emily Bay.
Throughout the week we did various other walks, ate plenty of great meals, met plenty of friendly locals, a bit of shopping and plenty of fun adventures but the most important thing was that we succeeded to achieve the quality family time we were yearning which I believe is the catalyst for our children’s desire to visit Norfolk Island again.
Wanting a family holiday of your own but not quite sure where to start, make a quick enquiry….you will be glad you did!