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FurryTiles: Watawieh yorlyi? Norfolk Island (‘Norf’k Ailen’) Sept 08 T.R.

FurryTiles: Watawieh yorlyi? Norfolk Island (‘Norf’k Ailen’) Sept 08 T.R.

Sep 9th, 2008, 11:37 PM
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FurryTiles: Watawieh yorlyi? Norfolk Island (‘Norf’k Ailen’) Sept 08 T.R.

Watawieh yorlyi? = Hello and how are you all?

Just back from a wonderful week on Norfolk, steeped in amazing cliff-top views, gorgeous scenery, old convict ruins and the Pitcairn chronicles; rich in history, cowpats and feral chooks – and a lovely laid-back island culture (if you ignore all the upscale international luxuries in clothes, jewellery and perfumes available at the more than 65 duty-free shops) garnished with spontaneous great friendliness and unique charm.

Armed with a printed copy of Fodorite Oliverandharry’s 2006 Trip Report [http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...&tid=34832424] plus a stack of NI research info, our passports, pepper grinder, coffee and Scotch, we set off last Monday with great excitement and expectation of our newest island adventure.

We were not disappointed!

DH had even gone shopping the day before and arrived home victorious – new lazy slip-on leather Colorado walking shoes and cream-coloured cotton slacks he immediately dubbed his Island Pants, later to be renamed more appropriately as his Convict Pants to accessorise his shackles – 10cms of thick, red Island mud glued to the bottom of his new shoes.

Our expectations were met and surpassed many times – our greatest find being Lavendula Cottage, to welcome us ‘home’ after every exploring adventure - a little private oasis in paradise.

I’m hoping to be able to post links to relevant pics in the text, (using tinyurl.com to minimize the link length) which seemed to be appreciated in an earlier TR report on the Europe board. If it’s annoying, just let me know and I’ll discontinue and perhaps post the links with captions at the very end.


Our adventure started off with a Big Bang ... literally. Just as our aircraft was lifting off at Williamtown’s Newcastle Airport, there was a loud bang with major vibrations – followed by a collective passenger intake of breath. Takeoff continued smoothly, however – but after a few minutes I said to DH, we seem to be going round in circles. DH, the seasoned weekly air traveller, advised with great knowledge and conviction that they had to circle to get on the right route. Mmmm, yeah – but like twice?

Sure enough, the Captain then announced that it appeared we had a birdstrike in the right engine followed by a puff of smoke, and we would be returning to the airport But, as the aircraft didn’t have the ability to jettison fuel, we’d be circling Port Stephens for an hour before landing.

I just gave DH ‘The Look’ – any words surplus to requirements.

‘Twas a beautiful sunny morning, so this extra joy flight was almost a bonus together with the free ‘drinks’ that were immediately served as compensation/tranquillizer. I was sitting right over the chook-affected engine and took a few pics of the gore-n-guts slide marks on the engine coping as the bird went for deep frying in the innards. No doubt the reason for the ‘puff of smoke’. DH, in the isle seat, showed it to the FA – and within minutes my camera with pic was taken to the cockpit for Captain and engineer examination. So there was my moment of photography fame! The pics showed it was definitely a birdstrike, [http://tinyurl.com/5eodgp] so it did make it easier for the ground crew to quickly fix after landing [http://tinyurl.com/5nbtja]. All were a wee bit apprehensive as we re-approached the runway – especially as several military aircraft were landing simultaneously - but we landed smooth as silk and all the passengers applauded with loud whoops!

Whilst we were waiting in the departure lounge for repairs to be finished, my ‘fame’ had spread and other passengers approached asking me please for a copy of the pic – so I had a page of email addys by the time we finally departed.

So an exciting start, to say the least!

We arrived on Norfolk about 3 hours late, just after sunset (NI is 1.5hrs ahead of mainland time) – but were promptly met with hire car and guided to our lovely Lavendula cottage, where we dumped our bags and rushed back to the Burnt Pine village to buy some supplies for brekkie and a quick take-away for dinner. That accomplished, we promptly got lost! Took us over an hour to get home (which was less than 5 mins away) as there are no street lights on the island, and signage is less rather than more. And all livestock – which roams freely on all roads and public areas – has right of way. What a laugh, in our hurry we hadn’t taken a map with us, but we saw the convict settlement all lit up (possibly the reason for no street lighting?) and probably travelled most of the roads in the time it took us to find ‘home’ again. Although the island is tiny, just 5 x 8 km, it has 170km of roads – and we did a lot of ‘em, As you may have guessed, DH thought he’d take a short-cut back to the cottage. Rofl. The Look was reapplied. Then first-to-be-unpacked Scotch!

As an example of the local friendliness and warmth – DH, a fish lover, ordered the local fish-fry ‘n chips as his take-away choice. The cook immediately volunteered it was NOT local fresh fish, but frozen from NZ ... the seas had been too rough the past week for any of the local fishing boats to go out. (Most take-away joints would simply take your order without comment, on the possibility you might go elsewhere). My hamburger choice, incidentally, was made with succulent local NI beef – and yup, complete with a slice of beetroot.

Another example: DH and I were walking home from Burnt Pine village along New Cascade Road to our cottage – it was pitch black and we were stumbling and weaving trying to avoid the cowpancakes on the grassy verge. A concerned local drove by, reversed (that’s how much traffic there is, lol) saying “It’s pretty dark out tonight, are you alright? Need a lift?” I realise now with our weaving and stumbling he assumed we’d had a rollicking night out at the NI Bowling Club and were plastered. But such a kind thing to do, we thanked him profusely but said we were fine, enjoying the evening walk.

I’ll continue with bits of info on accommodation, sights, food, museums etc (there are some new acquisitions) later, but for great potted history and background info, click on Oliverandharry’s report linked above.

In the meantime, any questions – don’t hesitate.

Si yorlyi morla,
Jackie
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Sep 10th, 2008, 07:05 AM
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Ah, Jackie, I'm honored to have been your Norfolk guide, but I'm sure you'll have more to share with us! How many people do you suppose actually return to Norfolk (especially Americans who don't tend to know it exists). Let me tell you that I think we will try - esp. since our investigation of Lord Howe has us priced out of there this year!

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Sep 10th, 2008, 03:41 PM
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OandH, so sorry to hear Lord Howe won’t be on your agenda this year – have you checked the package deals offered by, for example, Oxley Travel?
http://www.oxleytravel.com.au/lhi/23.html I often see specials advertised in our Sunday Herald travel supplement.

As one blessed with having now experienced both LHI and NI, I’m sure you would love it – and in our opinion, although the islands do have some similarities, the experiences were entirely different.

Your TR was a wonderful guide – and I doubt much has changed in the two years since your visit. Chatting to a local, who also happened to be on the NI tourist board, we learned that with the economic downturn and increasing fuel prices, NI was – like so much of the hospitality industry – struggling to hold tourist numbers. The islanders are so proud – at just 1,800 inhabitants – they can boast of their own airline. But the cost to run the airline is now proving a struggle too, as some of the flights from NZ only had 10 or 12 passengers on board.

Actually, there were many return visitors aboard our flight, some for the third or fourth time! There was also a large group belonging to a club (who stayed at Governor’s Lodge and loved this resort), and a wedding group, the bride and groom also seniors. Although NI is promoting the island as a family holiday destination, the average age of passengers seemed to be in the 50-60 age group, but there was one stand-out that was amazing.

A perky, active elderly lady who reminded me a little of Miss Marple – knitted gardigan, knee-length skirt, stockings and black court shoes with heels, neatly permed grey hair, walking confidently in front of what I thought was her few-years-younger husband.

I learned from another passenger – this sweet lady was 101 years old, and it was her 20th visit to Norfolk!! She is only the second Australian ever to request a passport renewal last year at 100 years of age! The elderly gentleman she was travelling with was her 80 year old son. At the age of 97, she went further afield and toured Germany.

How amazing is that? I was thrilled to hear this bit of ‘passenger gossip’ as by her standards, our travelling addiction can easily stretch to another half-century!

There are so many islands out there,
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Sep 14th, 2008, 05:22 PM
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Planning

As usual, we travelled independently ... did all our research, planning, flight/accommodation booking and payments online without any problems.

Norfolk Island’s own tourist website was a great resource to check out all the available accommodation, from resorts to small guesthouses and cottages. http://www.norfolkisland.com.au/ There’s also great info on history, tours, eating out etc on this website.

Also found the local news website a good resource for up-to-date weather, events and happenings: http://www.norfolkonlinenews.com/

Checked my local library for NI info/tourist guides, but the only item found (with the help of a librarian) was a non-fiction on the events surrounding the murder of Janelle Patton – first murder in over 100 years on the island, I believe; (a New Zealand man was recently convicted of the crime) and certainly not what I was looking for ... so returned it to the shelf for perhaps reading after our return. What I can add here, is that we were moved by a simple, understated memorial to her ... a pine bench in the park/bbq area at the Cockpit Falls dedicated to her memory.

Just like most tourist destinations, NI does have low, shoulder and high season pricing, even though its seasons are barely discernible. We were lucky to get an extension of the ‘winter special’ on our cottage, although travelling on the first day of spring.

Although our particular flight was almost fully booked, most of the tourist sights we visited we had almost entirely to ourselves – as long as we avoided those times when the mini-tour buses arrived – and we enjoyed lovely chats and conversations with both locals and other tourists who were ‘slow travellers’ and ‘soakers’ just like us. That’s not to take anything away from the many tours available (now ca.$35 ea) – which were popular and much enjoyed by many of our fellow passengers. A half-day orientation tour was in fact included in our accommodation package, and we would have been happy to join that – but it was postponed at the last minute, and by the time it was rescheduled, we had already explored most of the island in our hire car and gave it a miss.

Also, we didn’t join in the Progressive Dinner with the locals (now $68 ea) – I would have loved to and DH seemed to nod approvingly when I described it so enthusiastically in our planning stage, but when on the island and it came to booking, DH confessed he was very uncomfortable about paying to go into strangers’ homes; wonder if he really ‘listened’ when I first told him? - typical DH selective deafness ploy, I know!

We visited the NI Tourist Info Office on our first morning, handily situated close to Liquor Bond store in Burnt Pine – and got lots of current info, brochures and our museum pass, $25 pp to visit the three museums at the Kingston convict site, at any time and how often you want, also including two 1.5hr museum-guided ‘tag-along tours’ to various sites.

The Liquor Bond store was explored at the same time – possible to buy and enjoy your duty-free drinks on the island – at 40% off mainland prices, it was easy to decrease the number of bottles to be packed for homeward travel! Beer however, is not a duty free item, but about the same price as on the mainland. Limit of two bottles of spirits per person, sold with a stamp on your return ticket, and off you go clanking happily.
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Sep 15th, 2008, 09:37 PM
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Tried to add more yesterday, but everytime I clicked 'post my reply' the whole message disappeared into cyberbermuda ....
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Sep 15th, 2008, 09:41 PM
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ok, seems to be working fine today

Accommodation review – Lavendula Garden Cottage, Cascade

After checking out most of the NI lodgings on offer, comparing prices and facilities, we chose Lavendula as best suited to our personal preferences, and were so happy with our ‘find’ – our expectations were met and surpassed.

Included in the ‘winter special’ price of $155 pd was hire car (excl. insurance & fuel), half-day tour, free entry to Camelot Gardens, fresh local eggs, tea & instant coffee, fresh milk, and in lieu of fresh veges (wrong season), a bottle of wine.

Lavendula Garden Cottage, on a little gravel road aptly named Lavendula Lane - just off New Cascade Road, a 10 minute walk from Burnt Pine. A stand-alone 2-bedroom pine cottage set in a lovely big garden, with blooming lavender shrubs lining the drive-way. Pic: http://tinyurl.com/5ktyaw

Only one other house nearby, and that screened from view by all the flowering fruit trees – and so peaceful, the birds’ every trill and call in the adjacent huge Norfolk pines was untainted by ambient noise, with feral cocks’ crows vying for dominance at sunrise, http://tinyurl.com/6g5nwf.


The cottage was spacious, clean and charming. Cosy open-plan living area with views of the rolling hills of Cascade through large sliding doors opening onto the full-length wooden verandah, http://tinyurl.com/58989q. On tippy-toes and peering far-left, the ocean could be glimpsed through the trees. All doors and windows had insect screens, so no nasties or bities.

Entry from the sliding front door http://tinyurl.com/5gnqqy under the roofed ‘fernery’ with seating and a big gas bbq, offered a welcome ‘home’ haven after every excursion and adventure. Separate dining room with the same view over the hills, big bathroom (no bathtub, though) with shower, extractor fan, toilet and laundry facilities, and a full well-equipped kitchen with full-size ‘fridge, oven, micro. Thoughtful inclusions such as salt, pepper, sugar, candles, serviettes, clingwrap etc., in the kitchen, and in the bathroom a first aid box including headache tabs as well as band-aids etc. Two almost identical bedrooms at the far end, both with big, very comfortable beds complete with ‘leckie blankies for chilly nights, lovely soft linens, wardrobes with hangers – the main with sliding door to verandah and the second a picture window towards the garden, which we utilized as the ahem ‘bag room’ http://tinyurl.com/6fph5t


Living room with two sofas, TV, radio, DVD and sound system, with a small supply of music and movies, as well as a small selection of popular novels and games http://tinyurl.com/5zm2ku. Phone and internet wifi connected; Wifi costs $0.30 per megabyte. Local calls $0.10.

No Optus or Telstra mobile phone connection on the island, although since earlier this year it’s now possible to buy special SIM cards in Burnt Pine.

Apart from the tiled fernery and the big verandah, there was a third outside seating area, a little gazebo near the kitchen door complete with two chairs and table right beside a monster azalea bursting with pink blooms.

Other inclusions were fans for warmer weather, a gas heater for chillier nights (which we did use once – mainly to dispel the damp), torch and umbrella by the door - and four recycling bins! One for food scraps to keep the worms smiling, one for paper, one for glass n aluminium, and one for the rest

The cottage is not serviced, but extra linen/towels are supplied in the hall storage cupboard.

Downsides: a few minor things ... regretted not taking our own CDs as we normally do, as the ‘relaxing music’ supplied was not to our taste.

Although the expansive lawn was freshly mown and the outside areas swept and clean, the garden itself was overgrown and in need of spring pruning/weeding.

The wooden sliding doors to the bedroom wardrobes were clunky and hard to open, and macho DH had the whole door in his hands as it disengaged entirely. Look ma, no hens!

No extractor fan in the kitchen – even with the kitchen window open, without an extractor fan the cooking fumes/fog spread through the open-plan living area and sauteed garlic ‘n onions ruled the day.

All in all, we both highly recommend Lavendula as a lovely, cosy, romantic hideaway with all its inclusions providing a private oasis in paradise, at a very affordable price and a great location.
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Sep 23rd, 2008, 09:40 PM
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Exploring the island

We were there for a full week, (had zero interest in the over 65 duty-free shops) so spent most of the time exploring the historical and natural wonders the island has to offer, as well as lots of veg-out time enjoying the comforts of our cottage. Days began lazily with the morning chorus, fresh coffee on the verandah, then a sinful big breakfast with the works, (all local products – bacon, eggs, sausages, onions and even coffee!) http://tinyurl.com/4v2d9m before we waddled to our car to begin the day’s adventures depending on weather and inclination – seldom before 10.30.

Do recommend a car – although the island is tiny, it’s very hilly and the 170kms of winding roads are all a ‘tourist sight’ in experiencing the lush beauty. We doubled-back many times and got to know the roads and areas intimately – all at a sedate 30 kph or 50 kph, keeping constant vigil for the hundreds of grazing livestock and the huddles of feral chooks along the verges, one cow even having a snooze on the road. http://tinyurl.com/5aa8dj Although most of the roads are bitumen, they are narrow, dotted with potholes, cattle grids and occasional blind corners.

The Norfolk wave is alive and thriving! From a lazy lifting of a single digit without moving the hand off the steering wheel by locals to the full monty utilizing hand, arm and elbow by new arrivals, it’s a cheery motorists’ greeting practised by all.

Daily itinerary

Tips:

*Do check open/closing times – most of the museums are only open 4 hours, from 11am to 3pm; other venues – most stores, tour offices etc -close at 5pm. Some do not open at all on Saturday – (J.Witness’ have Saturday as their Sabbath). And some tours can be cancelled due to lack of numbers.

*Most of the spectacular sights are free – with beautifully kept grounds complete with picnic tables – and most have a plaque with detailed historical/local information of what you are viewing.

Day 2:

*Exploring Burnt Pine http://tinyurl.com/5g96sy and shopping mall for supplies - quite a few specialty shops; baker, newsagent etc. as well as a supermarket, with shelves stocked or almost empty depending on whether a supply ship has arrived recently. Only small selection of fruit & veg.

Dairy products are very expensive, especially fresh milk, yoghurt and cream. With all those cows dotting the landscape and roads, this seemed curious, so I asked at the checkout – it’s all airfreighted daily from New Zealand, and although the island has a plentiful milk supply, it must be pasteurized for general sale to consumers, and that’s too huge an investment/factory for such a small island.

*Cascade: reserve, old whaling station/rusting boiler and Cascade Pier.

*Kingston: passing over then inspecting the Bloody Bridge on the way; it’s really worthwhile to get out of the car and enjoy the ocean views from here to Cemetery Bay, and grab a close-up of the building skill those convicts had – although mixing mortar with gaolers was truly innovative!
http://tinyurl.com/4pg73q

*Emily Bay beach (the only safe swimming beach on the island) – strolling the sands, no others except two ladies in a canoe whose laughter rolled with the gentle waves.

*Salt House ruins at Chimney Hill

*Lime kilns ruins and then a stroll from there through the park with convict built drains and ponds to Government House guarded by a massive Norfolk pine (closed, it’s now a private residence, although they do allow visitors once a week by appointment). http://tinyurl.com/3t645q

*Exploring the ruins of the Old and New Convict Barracks – the walls are pretty much all that’s left, but the feeling – in spite of the ocean views – is chilling; the Old prison still has the Protestant chapel (open, free) in good repair, which later became a courthouse to try island convict rebellion leaders, and there’s a play re-enactment twice a week in this original scene-setting, titled “The Trial of the Fifteen”, $25 ea.
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Sep 23rd, 2008, 09:49 PM
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Day 3:

*Exploring the west coast, stopping at St Barnabas Chapel (locked) on Douglas Drive opposite the Headstone Road turnoff http://tinyurl.com/4sggds and viewing the memorial graveyard with a huge fig climbing tree for kids just behind.

*Puppys Point Lookout, on Anson Bay Road - spectacular
http://tinyurl.com/46n5ud

*Point Howe Lookout, at the end of Fisherman’s Lane, equally spectacular

*NI Cottage Pottery, opposite the Fisherman’s Lane turnoff - some really lovely ceramics made on the island – bought two pieces, which were perfectly packed for onward travel;

*Vegetable stands – http://tinyurl.com/3s4zaz all on the honour system, where although there was not a great selection, we found all we needed, including Ugly Fruit – a combo citrus that was delicious. http://tinyurl.com/3fe3ug

*Captain Cook Monument lookout – darn, road closed – opening has been delayed by the weeks of rain. http://tinyurl.com/42hcrb

*Cockpit Waterfall, near Cascade, very beautiful – but only attempt the goat-track round the headland if you don’t suffer from vertigo; http://tinyurl.com/3qpeqj

*Camelot Gardens on Rooty Hill Road – serene, and a delightful little black cat to greet you. http://tinyurl.com/4p59y5 $5 entry.

*Rooty Hill Lookout over the convict settlement, cemetery, golf course and Quality Row residences, where, to our surprise, Queen Elizabeth II has also stood http://tinyurl.com/5xpp3n

*Stroll through the lawn cemetery, very peaceful and in such an amazing setting with the ocean providing a hymn, and many historical convict and Mutiny gravestones – all facing the sea - now renovated and telling their own story. http://tinyurl.com/3rwzp8

Day 4:

*Kingston - Pier Store museum: the museum utilizes only a small section of the old convict 1826 Pier Store, mostly focussed on the 1790 sinking and 1980s artefact recovery of HMS Sirius, flagship of the First Fleet. A 20 minute documentary video, rather dated and poor quality – could easily have been condensed to 10 mins - or simply photos of the recovery operation beside the items; upstairs a small selection of Bounty and Pitcairn history/photos. Fascinating and informative.

Was a bit disappointed the museum was so small, as I’d envisaged the whole of the Store – an impressive building - would incorporate more extensive museum displays.

*Convict hospital ruins and the surgeon-general’s residence, now the Lion’s clubhouse, which houses a remarkable photographic display of the island’s history – well worth the $2 donation and long browsing.

*Commissariat Store museum at Kingston: http://tinyurl.com/4zrthz
once again, this is an architecturally impressive three-story building; the museum, however, is tucked away in the basement and comprises just three rooms mainly with artefacts excavated from old privys and early Polynesian (14th century) settlements – very interesting but disappointingly limited.

Don’t miss the very impressive All Saints chapel on the second floor, access up the imposing entry steps –begun by the Pitcairners in 1874 and still an active church today. http://tinyurl.com/4xgepm

*New Military Barracks, just next door - with its impressive red cannon guarding the entry - is now the island’s administration and legislative assembly building; great to stroll through the complex and applaud recycling!

These buildings from the 2nd settlement are just 150 years old, including the New Convict Barracks – and the state of ruin of the highly-fortified convict quarters completed in 1847 is puzzling, contrasting sharply with the intact and still-used buildings of the same era. Simple explanation really – recycling. During the 3rd settlement in 1856, the Pitcairners scavenged the prison’s stone blocks to build their own houses, but not other buildings as these were ‘untainted’ and could be lived in/used, little knowing that 150 years later these very ‘pillaged’ sites would be major tourist attractions.

*Ball Bay reserve and lookout, with its WW2 history of getting heavy machinery onto the island.

*Mt Pitt lookout (316m) – a panoramic view http://tinyurl.com/42555s
of the island, with a lovely short summit walking track through lush greenery to Mt Bates (318m) http://tinyurl.com/3tql6k and its WW2 radar location history.

*Palm Glen gardens, lookout and walking track at the end of Selwyn Pine Road

Day 5

*Museum house at 10 Quality Row (1844), a glimpse into history of 2nd and 3rd settlements – restored to its original state of Foreman of Works residence, its other attraction is its later history (1856) as the family residence of Bounty descendant Isaac Christian and extensive (15 kids!) family.

*Royal Engineers Office bookshop cafe, opposite the Pier Store – great for a lunch break; closes at 3pm. Bought the local newspaper here, the Norfolk Window $2, and a history book by local Nan Smith “Convict Kingston” (1997) detailing the convict settlement years, $17.40.

Royal feral rooster posing at the entrance, these birds are magnificent! http://tinyurl.com/4xdsfd

*Two Chimneys Winery – a small vineyard off Stockyard Road, in a lovely setting but regretfully closed due to a private function when we arrived. http://tinyurl.com/48yhay

*Simon Water track at the end of Stockyard Road – private property but walkers welcome to enjoy the stunning views on a beautiful bench erected in honour of the Tahiti-Pitcairn-Norfolk connection, with inscriptions in Tahitian and Norf’k, but no English, so this has special meaning to the islanders.

Commune with the friendly cows, calves and horses and a big cuddly bull. http://tinyurl.com/4gk66l We’d seen hundreds of cows and half-grown calves, but nary a mature bull – and wondered if it was all achieved by AI. But here he was, The Father of the Lawnmowers! Look ma, no horns.
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Sep 23rd, 2008, 10:05 PM
  #9  
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Day 6

*Botanic Gardens on Mission Road, (free) originally Mrs Moore’s garden – lots of walking tracks(some steep and gnarly) http://tinyurl.com/54csss
and an enclosure breeding the endangered NI green parrots. Office closed, but brochures available near the viewing platform – and no-one else visiting whilst we were there made us feel a bit like Livingstone and Stanley.

*Captain Cook monument – darn, road still closed, but the friendly grader driver said it would most likely be open by 3pm, weather permitting.

*Giant figs on Headstone Road http://tinyurl.com/3psnce on our way to Rocky Point reserve, but the rain that had been “on the verge” for five days finally arrived, so we turtled cottagewards.

Day 7

*Cyclorama exhibit at the Guava Gallery, near the Governors Lodge resort on Q. Elizabeth Avenue, (opened last year); a stunning 360o painting depicting the journey of the Bounty and the mutineers, with a soundtrack to set the scenes. $13.50 entry. We arrived shortly after opening (10 am on Sundays) and there was only one other couple ahead of us. Not sure if the same visual/aural impact is possible if there are a lot of visitors at once jostling to read the storyboards whilst hearing the ‘wrong’ music track, but we certainly enjoyed the experience, especially hearing the Norf’k creole spoken at the end of the circle. The intonation and burr are English, you feel you should understand it – but it’s totally incomprehensible.

*Point Ross and Crystal Pool at the end of Rocky Point Road – beware of the steep access road, http://tinyurl.com/5ppsqk as there is a metre-deep silt deposit at the bottom due to current excavation/replanting of the area, which is a car-eater.

We got hopelessly bogged and once again the only ones there; this is where DH's 'island' pants became is 'convict' pants. Rolled up to the knees, and with layer upon layer of thick red mud gathering under his new shoes, he was hobbling as if in shackles as we attempted to disengage from the sucking glue. As unsuccessful as the rebellion.

So, we asked to use the phone to call the hire car office at a house up the road where a lovely young couple had just arrived the night before. Third time visitors, incidentally. The hire car office was not answering! (We did bless that comprehensive travel insurance which covered events such as this.)

After making us coffee, our saviours then offered to help push us out - just as a deluge of major proportions hit the island. http://tinyurl.com/6awa25 Their determination was our success story ... and we left our heroes drenched, covered in mud and smiling broadly. Sometimes the generosity of strangers is as stunning as cliff-top views.

It was only as we were leaving we saw the sign “impassable when wet” as we both had our heads craned in the opposite direction towards the wonderful view on arrival. Duh. We drove home the ‘long way’ in the pelting rain, hitting all the water puddles, blessing our rescuers as well as the weather gods’ free carwash.

Day 8 – departure
Glorious sunshine, clear blue sky (of course).

Everyone we asked assured us we had to be at the airport two hours before departure as all flights from the island were ‘International’, but one of the local shopkeepers said to just check-in and then return to town until 45mins before take-off for security/immigration screening.

Our flight was delayed by an hour, so after checking in we jumped back in the hire car for a leisurely early-morning breakfast at Cafe Tempo and still with well over an hour to spare, decided to see if the road to the Captain Cook monument had opened.

Oh, you beauty! http://tinyurl.com/5xh793 http://tinyurl.com/3ejx32

We triumphed over the ‘closed road’ thanks to a delayed flight - as with the NI weather, there’s always a silver lining!

What a superb last memory of stunning Norfolk to take home with us.
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Oct 14th, 2008, 08:18 PM
  #10  
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A heads-up for those booked or planning a trip to Norfolk from Australia to check your flights:

Re the comment in my 10Sept08 post above “. . . we learned that with the economic downturn and increasing fuel prices, NI was – like so much of the hospitality industry – struggling to hold tourist numbers. The islanders are so proud – at just 1,800 inhabitants – they can boast of their own airline. But the cost to run the airline is now proving a struggle too . . ."


Article in this morning’s (15Oct08) Sydney Morning Herald:

Headlined “Norfolk Air latest casualty of economic crisis” the article details the ‘slashing of three services to the mainland. Norfolk Air pulled the pin on routes from Melbourne and Sydney, as well as a new weekly Gold Coast service, which had been launched barely two weeks earlier.'

http://www.smh.com.au/news/news/norf...750092403.html
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