The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

Air New Zealand has four flights a week be­tween Aus­tralia’s east coast and Nor­folk Is­land; ser­vices from Sydney are on Mon­days and Fri­days and from Brisbane on Tues­days and Satur­days. More: Ox­ley Travel has a se­ries of spe­cial in­clu­sive deals. More: ox­ley­ • nor­folk­

LASH­INGS OF HISTORY Two sig­nif­i­cant episodes de­fine Nor­folk Is­land — first there was the pe­nal set­tle­ment con­sid­ered to be the world’s most cruel for its three decades of op­er­a­tion from 1825; and then the 1856 ar­rival of the Pit­cairn­ers, de­scen­dants of Bounty mu­ti­neers. An un­hur­ried wan­der through the sleepy Kingston and Arthurs Vale His­toric Area is an agree­able way to dis­cover th­ese sto­ries. The precinct was listed as a UNESCO World Her­itage site in 2010; its con­vict-built struc­tures, in var­i­ous stages of rot and re­pair, are scat­tered across an im­pos­si­bly green land­scape on the is­land’s southern shore. While its four mu­se­ums — the Pier Store, HMS Sir­ius Mu­seum, Com­mis­sariat Store and Ge­or­gian House at 10 Qual­ity Row, built for the set­tle­ment’s Fore­man of Works — are worth a visit, be sure to stroll past all the build­ings that housed con­victs and their mas­ters be­fore the keys were handed over to the re­lo­cat­ing Pit­cairn­ers. More: nor­folk­island­mu­

DEAD CEN­TRE The is­land’s ceme­tery is worth spe­cial at­ten­tion: what ini­tially looks like a pad­dock packed with old and new head­stones is ac­tu­ally a one-of-a-kind grave­yard where con­victs, sol­diers and free set­tlers rest to­gether. The gar­den of stone stretches back from the beach at Ceme­tery Bay with the old­est graves near the sand, the first Pit­cairn­ers to­wards the mid­dle, and the most re­cently de­parted in the cor­ner near the golf course; head­stones tell sto­ries of the des­ti­na­tion and its peo­ple.

S SAY CHEESE When Nor­folk Air ceased fly­ing in 2012, flight at­ten­dant Emily Ryves was look­ing for some­thing to keep her busy and, af­ter watch­ing a tele­vi­sion doc­u­men­tary on a bou­tique Aus­tralian busi­ness making goat’s cheese, this mother of a young son found her call­ing and The Hilli Goat was born. To­day Emily’s goats have the run of the An­son Bay farm that three gen­er­a­tions of her fam­ily con­tinue to share and visi­tors are in­vited to join sus­tain­able-liv­ing tours sched­uled around milk­ing; sam­ple the home­made cheese along­side gourmet good­ies made from farm pro­duce. More: face­­lyGoat.

LIFE’S A PIC­NIC Nor­folk Is­land is home to a thriv­ing din­ing scene — try Nor­folk Blue Restau­rant, The Blue Bull Cafe, The Olive Café, Dino’s at Bumb­o­ras and Hilli Restau­rant. But a pic­nic is per­fect when the sun shines and there isn’t a cloud in the flaw­less blue dome stretch­ing above. You haven’t had a salad sand­wich un­til you’ve eaten Nor­folk Is­land’s version, burst­ing with lay­ers of home­grown veg­eta­bles, so buy lunch from one of the cafes on Tay­lors Road and re­treat to a pic­nic ta­ble above spec­tac­u­lar An­son Bay; peer through the Nor­folk pines to the waves crash­ing on honey-coloured sand be­low. If al­fresco eat­ing strikes a chord, drive the length of the is­land (the trip takes 20 min­utes) to a walk­ing track around the na­tional park be­fore tak­ing a seat on the mon­u­ment ded­i­cated to Cap­tain Cook; gaze across the deep blue while din­ing on whole­some take­away treats.

BODY AND SOUL A cliff­side house high above the wild north coast i is where Heidi Adams se­lected to put down roots and, while she and hus­band Byron serve pure pad­dockto-plate meals with a view at Bedrock Cafe (lo­cals rave about the seafood chow­der), this is also the place to go if a dose of heal­ing is in or­der. Heidi is a mas­sage ther­a­pist tak­ing a holis­tic ap­proach to her craft. Rest as­sured that a bliss­ful treat­ment above the churn­ing wa­ter, with the wind whis­per­ing through the pines, will leave even the most tightly-coiled body springs feel­ing re­ju­ve­nated. More: face­­cafenor­folk­island.

MUTINY IN THE ROUND Chris­tian Fletcher’s Mutiny Cy­clo­rama, which sits on land that’s been home to six gen­er­a­tions of Bounty mutiny ring­leader Chris­tian’s fam­ily, is a cir­cu­lar room fea­tur­ing a 360-de­gree mu­ral painted by artists Tracey Yager and Sue Draper. It tells the story of the 1789 episode when a band of Bri­tish mariners com­mit­ted what is now mar­itime history’s most in­fa­mous mutiny. More: nor­folk­cy­clo­

SURF’S (NOT AL­WAYS) UP While this Pa­cific Ocean par­adise boasts 32km of dra­matic coast­line, there are very few spots for out-of-town­ers to swim as some of the most scenic lo­ca­tions — Crys­tal Pool, An­son Bay and Bumb­o­ras Bay — are out of bounds be­cause of un­pre­dictable cur­rents that can sweep the unini­ti­ated away in mo­ments. When the weather is warm, and a dip is in or­der, head to the con­vict quar­ter and beau­ti­ful Emily Beach (the lo­ca­tion rou­tinely ap­pears on lists rank­ing Aus­tralia’s top strips of sand) or grab gog­gles and a snorkel to ex­plore Slaugh­ter Bay’s co­ral and colour­ful fish.

VINTAGEV DE­LIGHTS Two Chim­neys Wine is the is­land’s only vine­yard, but there’s more rea­son to visit this idyl­lic es­tate, owned by Noelene (a rel­a­tive of English Bounty crew­man John Buf­fett) and Rod­er­ick McAlpine, than a hill­side block of grapes. The couple, who met when Rod­er­ick was dis­patched to Nor­folk to serve as a “bank boy’’, can an­swer any ques­tion about life on this unique plot of land and Noelene creates the most glo­ri­ous tast­ing plates to savour while sam­pling the Two Chim­neys reds and whites. More: twochim­ney­ CLIFF HANG­OUT Un­til a few months ago, The Front Row at Shear­wa­ter Vil­las (pic­tured) was one of Nor­folk Is­land’s most mag­nif­i­cent pri­vate homes, with the mod­ern two-bed­room dwelling perched on a cliff above Bumb­o­ras Re­serve to frame a 180-de­gree view that stretches from Kingston’s con­vict en­clave to dis­tant Phillip Is­land. But the home’s owner has de­cided it’s time for new ad­ven­tures and is offering the dwelling to visi­tors seek­ing a so­phis­ti­cated, self-con­tained stay. More: shear­wa­

Sarah Ni­chol­son was a guest of Nor­folk Is­land Tourism and Ox­ley Travel.

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