As a history buff, I was particularly interested in visiting Norfolk Island. The legend of the Bounty Mutiny captured my imagination as a child and of course I had watched both the Marlon Brando and the Mel Gibson film versions. This was Australia’s off-shore island that lay somewhere between the mainland and New Zealand – a legendary destination that had played a central role in the formative years of a fledgling colony.
Here are my top five attractions that particularly sparked my interest on a recent trip to Norfolk Island.
The Sirius Anchor
The flagship of the First Fleet was the HMS Sirius, which, after safely bringing Captain Arthur Phillip to Sydney Cove, would become wrecked on the reef near Norfolk Island in 1790. As a bicentennial project, various artefacts from the wreck were recovered in 1988 and the anchor is proudly on display in the Norfolk Island Museum. Coming face-to-face with this important remnant from Australia’s past is an awe-inspiring moment.
Norfolk Island National Park
As an avid hiker, I revelled in the opportunity of exploring the various walking tracks in the north of the Island. The outlook over Bird Rock with the swelling ocean below is the most impressive. I also appreciated walking around to the Captain Cook memorial – the towering maritime figure was the person who named the Island after the Duchess of Norfolk in 1774. Cook wasn’t to know - but at the time but the Duchess had died when he named the Island in her honour.
As macabre as it sounds, I found reading the headstones of individuals from past centuries highly fulfilling. My ultimate goal was to find the oldest tombstone. Sadly hundreds of people who died on the island – including many convicts – never received a proper burial.
I was a little dubious about the Cyclorama, which chronicled the Bounty’s journey from England to Norfolk Island. However the artistry is astonishing – this is a mesmerising attraction. The artists who created this attraction deserve much praise and admiration.
To relax after a busy day sight-seeing, I headed to Emily Bay – the main beach on the Island. This is a truly beautiful spot to unwind. The adventurous can hire a snorkel and admire the various marine creatures that live in the nearby reefs.