Nature Abounds on Norfolk Island
Whether you are a serious tramper or twitcher or just someone who loves fresh air and great views, little Norfolk Island will surprise you with what it has to offer. Just 34.6 square kilometres, Norfolk and its off shore islands are the volcanic remnants of a land mass four times the current size. Around 182 native plant species provide the habitat for eight endemic bird species, while thousands of migratory sea birds make Norfolk their temporary home each year.
As you fly into Norfolk, its turquoise bays, soaring cliff tops, green hills and valleys appear to arise from the immensity of the Pacific ocean. You will want to start exploring as soon as you land. A quick trip to the lookout at the top of Mt Pitt, will give you a bird’s eye view of the whole island and help you get oriented. Some of the best walking trails through the National Park start from this point.
In addition to the National Park with its sub-tropical rain forest, coastal walks and Botanic Garden, there are also Forestry Reserves all around the coast, offering breathtaking vistas and birdwatching opportunities. Wandering through the Hundred Acre Reserve during breeding season is an experience for all of the senses with tree, rock and ground nesting birds by the hundreds.
You have to make a temporary departure from Norfolk to enjoy one of the truly spectacular experiences on offer. This is a guided trek of Phillip Island, just six kilometres to the south. Another seabird rookery, Phillip Island is a text book example of the best and worst of human impact on an environment. Its barren ridges attest to the ravages of exotic species, while its wooded valleys are testament to the wonders of reafforestation.
And after a glorious day exploring the natural wonders of hill, forest, bay or wetland, there is a surprising array of excellent restaurants to choose from, offering delicious paddock to plate eating experiences. Or if the muscles are a little tender after all that exercise, choose one of the many relaxing massage treatments available or enjoy a soak in glorious Emily Bay.
Norfolk Island may be a World Heritage Site for its extensive convict settlement, but its spectacular natural beauty, clean air and water and fascinating native habitat, make it equally attractive for those seeking a natural paradise. You can find lots of information about the park from its website including excellent walking track and plant identification brochures.