Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Escape to a slower pace on Norfolk Island with Baunti Tours

After spending seven days on beautiful Norfolk Island I came back to Australia determined to relax and take life easier. The Norfolk people endeavour to do this for most of their day and this certainly makes Norfolk Island a laid-back place to spend a holiday. Community spirit abounds and a friendly wave is the norm on a walk around the island.

Travelling with Baunti Escapes Tours (or the English ‘Bounty’) we departed from Brisbane International Airport for the short flight across to Norfolk Island. My request to Norfolk Air for a gluten free meal was fulfilled – and I was impressed with the variety of gluten free food on the tray! We were met at the Norfolk Airport by Megan Christian (sixth generation descendant of Bounty mutiny leader, Fletcher Christian) who made sure we were all safely on the right mini bus for the trip to our hotel.

Waiting for us in the lounge of our hotel, the All Seasons Colonial Hotel, was a refreshing cocktail and as it was a hot, humid day this was most welcome! Whilst we were being given the keys to our allocated room our luggage was delivered promptly by hotel staff. Our room was spacious, well-appointed and spotlessly clean.

At sunset the hotel had organised a poolside barbeque to allow guests to meet and greet each other. I chose salads and steak that were gluten free – avoiding the delicious Norfolk sausages just to be on the safe side! Prior to departing Australia I had emailed the All Seasons Colonial Hotel and Baunti Tours to confirm that my gluten free diet could be guaranteed at both the hotel and the many tours and dinners that were part of the itinerary.

Our breakfasts were part of the tour package and the breakfast chef produced a gluten free loaf of bread especially for my toast. When I queried where he had purchased it on the island he told me he makes gluten free bread very successfully from a packet of Orgran bread mix. The only problem for me was that every morning two enormous slices were waiting for me at breakfast!

After the first night’s barbeque by the hotel pool our dinners were held in a variety of interesting places. One evening we had a dinner in Annabelle’s Restaurant in the hotel complex and both courses were beautifully presented and mine – of course – gluten free. The restaurant is a lovely venue with relaxing garden views through huge glass windows.

A tour was on the itinerary every day and if morning or afternoon tea was part of the deal I was always provided with something gluten free to eat. I enjoyed an assortment of gluten free food – the last morning being gluten free crackers, a HUGE tomato (and a knife to cut it) and salt to add flavour.

A progressive dinner allowed us into four beautiful Norfolk Island homes for a short while. The homes – made mostly from the timber of the Norfolk Pine – were all very different. However what they did have in common was the spectacular views! All but the dessert course was gluten free – I was offered a gluten free alternative but by that time of the night I was quite happy to say “No thanks – I couldn’t eat another thing!” The night concluded with an ‘old-fashioned’ sing-along – we were played renditions of familiar songs and invited to join in as we sipped small glasses of sweet sherry!

On another evening we were taken by Les Quintal, a seventh generation descendent of the Bounty mutineer, Matthew Quintal, on a Fish Awas Way (a fish feast). To start the evening we taken to Les’ private cliff top property to share his spectacular views whilst enjoying wine and nibbles – mine of course being gluten free. In the background a woman played traditional Norfolk music and sang songs telling of the island’s history – the music played on an instrument hand-made on Norfolk Island. Before moving off to the next part of the night, the fish feast, a young woman performed some of the traditional dances that reflected the island’s Tahitian heritage and she also spent time explaining the significance of her graceful movements.

The Edible Gardens Tour proved an interesting experience. For the people on the tour it was hard to comprehend that Norfolk Islanders only eat fruit and vegetables grown in season. If the season is poor then fruit and vegetables are in short supply. Last year Norfolk Islanders suffered from drought conditions and their fresh produce was severely affected. Particularly fresh fruit was lacking on the supermarket shelf. However one strapping young gardener explained that because Norfolk Island does not import fresh fruit and vegetables their produce remains relatively pest and chemical free – unlike Australia. The tour finished at Strawberry Fields where the owner, Candida Langman, has created an intricate maze. Some of the more physically able people walked and walked and walked through an intricate maze and – with the help of Candida – managed to find their way to an afternoon tea made from the fruits of Strawberry Fields. As well as providing samples of the fresh fruit she grows, Candida also served polenta topped with her fresh basil pesto – a treat for those on a gluten free diet!

Dinner at Dino’s was another glorious night of gluten free food. I was even provided with two slices of toasted gluten free bread so that I could enjoy the dips set on the table to start the evening. I was assured that all the desserts were gluten free and being partial to licorice I chose the licorice ice cream. I assumed it would be licorice flavoured – however after spotting the small pieces of licorice in the ice cream I did give it a miss. There were two other choices that were gluten free desserts but after the two courses already enjoyed I decided I did not need dessert after all!

Although not of concern for anyone on a gluten free diet, the liqueurs made on the Norfolk Island are well worth a ‘taste’. As part of a Farm and Industry Tour we stopped at Norfolk Island Liqueurs and tasted delights such as Convicts Curse and Pitcairn Passion. There are 15 liqueurs in the range and they are certain to tantalise your taste buds and are only available on Norfolk Island.

However the highlight of the week for me was the Baunti Dieh (Bounty Day) Dinner. Baunti Dieh is traditionally held on 8 June each year to celebrate the arrival of the Pitcairners on Norfolk Island in 1856. To allow us to share some of the experiences of the special day our hosts for the evening, Wally Beadman (a seventh generation descendant of Fletcher Christian) and Nicki Kennedy, a more recent arrival from Australia in 1997, served us four courses, each course reflecting the type of ‘traditional’ foods enjoyed on Bounty Day each year. I could not have asked for more care and attention from Wally and Nicki. One of the hors d’oeuvres served was green banana fritters – spoonfuls of grated and fried green banana proved a delicious, simple, gluten free crunchy treat. Dessert was the only course that was not gluten free and instead I was brought a large bowl of beautiful fragrant rice covered in sweet syrup – much too large for one person but I endeavoured to do my best!

For people residing on the east coast you have a paradise in close proximity! If you come from further afield, it is worth the journey to Norfolk Island. For a week Baunti Tours ensured I was provided with gluten free food without any fuss and always with good humour. If you are reading this you will know how much this is appreciated when on you are on holidays – even eating a small amount of gluten can ruin a few days of a holiday! Baunti Tours made my holiday to Norfolk Island a happy and healthy one!

(Marlene Anderson. Perth. Australia. 14 December 2010)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Round the Island Relay 2010

What a day it was on Sunday for the 2010 'Round the Island Relay'.  Over 50 people participated - some ran the entire course, others walked, some ran and walked, and more were part of a team who shared the load.  And some did it their way .... (see right)

This year the course was from the convict compound at Kingston; to the school via Driver Christian Road; to Prince Phillip Drive via Cascade and CockPit Reserve; through the National Park to Captain Cook Reserve; to Puppy's Point; to 100 Acres; back to Kingston - 25 kilometres all up.

Everyone finished and all enjoyed a cold drink and a sausage sizzle to end a memorable event.

Kingston was magnificent

The winning runner - Alan McNeil

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wa'a Tefauroa launched

On Sunday Norfolk Island's first Wa'a outrigger was christened and launched at Emily Bay.  The venture to build the wa'a was begun by John Christian and Tihoti (George Barff).  Local Jason Chubb built the vessel based on plans provided by our relations in Tahiti.

The wa'a Tefauroa and local Tahitian dancers
The wa'a was named Tefauroa.  This has great significance for Norfolk Island, because it is the Tahitian name for Point Venus, that place in Tahiti that was first sited by Bligh on HMS Bounty on 26 October 1788.  This landing on Tahiti lead to the Mutiny on the Bounty, the settlement on Pitcairn Island of the mutineers and their Tahitian partners in 1790, and the eventual relocation of the Pitcairners to Norfolk Island in 1856.

Tefauroa prior to the launch celebrations
Tihoti christening the wa'a with a 'conch shell' in the traditional Tahitian way
Being entertained by local singers overlooking Emily Bay
The wa'a at its first sea trial on Emily Bay

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Relay for Life

'Over 40% of the island's population' (according to the island's Minister for Health, Tim Sheridan), participated in the Relay for Life on Saturday 17 July and Sunday 18 July.  The minister also said he believed it was the largest involvement by this community in any single charity raising event.

The relay was to raise money for cancer, and as of today over $12,500 had been raised by the Norfolk community.  We sincerely thank all of those who supported the relay here.
Beginning at 3pm on the Saturday, over 40 Norfolk teams, cancer survivors (right) plus many individuals, did their hour and more of walking for the cause.  BAUNTI's Beauties in the BAUNTI support bus were there, and we were simply blown away by the willingness of the very young to the very old to play their part.  The school oval was full of tents that provided shelter for the many who stayed onsite all night.
It was inspiring indeed to watch New Zealander Alex McKenzie complete an amazing endurance race of his own as part of the relay on Norfolk, running 200 kilometres in four minutes short of 30 hours.  We were there at 4am on Sunday morning and Alex was really struggling.  But with the help of his team of supporters, and encouragement from those walking, he worked through the pain to astound all of us with what one individual can achieve.  We were also inspired by Liam Kiernan, a young Norfolk Island cadet, who walked for 16 hours.  It was humbling indeed to be a witness to their endeavours.

To all of the organisers - Sharni and her team - to all of the sponsors and those who donated to support the teams, and to the Norfolk community generally, this was a wonderful effort and one of the most worthwhile community events ever.

Early walkers in the relay


Alex (in the yellow) and supporters

Friday, July 2, 2010

Relay for Life

BAUNTI ESCAPES has entered as a team in the Relay for Life fundraiser.

This is an 18 hour walk with teams participating across Australia, starting on Saturday 17th July.  Funds raised go to:
- Investigate new ways to prevent, detect and treat cancers;
- Educate people in our community about ways they can reduce their cancer risk;
- Advocate for cancer control and influence government policy;
- Support people during their times of greatest need.

BAUNTI has entered a team of 10.  If you would like to provide financial support for the BAUNTI ESCAPES team let us know and we will get back in touch with you.

You can email us with your pledge of support, or if you wish to donate go to http://www.relay.cancercouncil.com.au/relay.html?relay_id=455 which will take you to the list of Norfolk teams.  If you click on the team name (Baunti Beauties) it will take you to the list of team members.  You can then click on the team member you want and make a donation.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Many thanks



The three guides were very knowledgeable and made the tours fun.

I am hoping to come over again with my daughter as it is the most beautiful island of the eight islands I've seen.

Many thanks to all.

Marjorie Zieber

Friday, June 18, 2010

An evening with Archie

My wife and I have recently spent a very enjoyable time on your beautiful Island.

One of the highlights was the tour “Wonderland by Night” with Archie Bigg.  Although it was wet (torrential at the end) it was a great night listening to Archie tell his poems and showing his excellent light shows.

When we arrived home Michelle said that she would write a poem about Archie and I have attached it in case you might like to publish it sometime.


We just had an evening with Archie,
Archie Bigg is the gentleman’s name

He regaled us with poems and stories
as we walked in the soaking rain

The first was about a clever old cow
then one of a convict called Barney,

Barney Duffy that is
who spent seven long years in a tree

Still it was pouring as he told of his snoring,
we laughed at the legs sticking out of the car,

A poem on tourists “ohhh the questions they ask”

There were sights to behold as the poems unfolded
of dunnies and laundry sheds

the one on “ent me” we all understood

We rounded the bend to a beautiful sight
the woodland all bathed in
a soft gold light

Right next to me was a magical tree
that reached fair up to the sky

This tree we were told was 200 years old
and was home to a beautiful bird
that returns every year to give beauty
I hear, to this pine, a grand old tree

Witches flew by in the wet night sky,
there was a visit from santa too

Wet and bedraggled we head for the shed
and were greeted with coffee and cake

Wet we might be, but we all did agree
just like that beautiful bird, we will all return

To that spiritual isle in the sea.

Thank you Archie and Wonderland, would not have missed it for quids.

Bill and Michelle Holmes (NSW)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What a fantastic Bounty Day

On June 8 every year Norfolk Islanders celebrate the arrival of 194 salan (people) from Pitcairn Island on that day in 1856.  These people were descendants of the Bounty mutineers, and they were granted a new life on Norfolk Island by Queen Victoria when Pitcairn was no longer able to sustain them.

The celebrations begin with families congregating at Kingston Pier, dressed in period costume (right).  There is a re-enactment of the landing at Kingston Pier (right), a march to the Cenotaph where we remember those who lost their lives in past wars, a march to the cemetery to sing Norfolk hymns and lay wreaths on family graves, and then morning tea at Government House.  The highlight is a picnic lunch in the convict-built gaol compound for the Pitcairn family and friends where traditional Norfolk wetls (food) are enjoyed by all present.  There were celebratory lunches happening all across the Kingston area - at the Salt House and Emily Bay for example, and at island homes too.  One of the island's tour companies hosted lunch for 300 visitors.  Other visitors did their own 'Bounty Day' picnic too.

The picnic foods are amazing.  They are the result of days of baking.  The foods we all enjoy have European, Polynesian and American influences.  And the food leftover is enjoyed by families all across the island for days after.

The day began with fresh, cold winds, and driving showers of rain, but by march time at 10am the showers had cleared and the day was fine, sunny, but still cool.  This year the march was the largest since 2006, when we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Pitcairners in 1856.

At Government House the Administrator of Norfolk Island, the Hon. Owen Walsh, and Ms Walsh, hosted morning tea for the island families, just as it happened 154 years ago.  At morning tea the 'best dressed' family were the Youngs - all six of them.  It was a very popular win.

It was a wonderful time enjoyed by all. 

And in the late afternoon many of us left the picnic with a 'hili' (feeling very lazy), and slept the rest of the afternoon away.  Long may the Bounty Day tradition continue.

Singing Norfolk songs on the march; and hundreds march along Quality Row to the cemetery

The picnic in the gaol compound

After the picnic - Ai gat ' hili (I am so lazy)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dining at Norfolk Blue

We are blessed in The World of Norfolk with some wonderful eating places. In fact there are over 20 of them and they provide cheap and cheerful meals right through to fine dining.

And one of the newest is Norfolk Blue at 100 Acres. Owned by Robyn and Paul (Jap) Menghetti, this restaurant, bar and grill is a ‘must do’ whether you live here, or are visiting.

The setting is magnificent. The restaurant is in an old Norfolk Island home set in lush sub-tropical grounds, with some of the most beautiful shrubs, ferns and flowers imaginable. It is a magic space. The restaurant is approached along the avenue of old fig trees that is so well-known and loved by so many, and it does something good to the soul as you pass by these wonderful trees.

The BAUNTI team enjoyed lunch there on Sunday. The food was a delight. We enjoyed entrees of pork spring rolls, seafood chowder soup, and cannelloni, with herb and garlic bread. Main courses included herb crusted chicken with mango sauce, mushrooms with fetta cheese, sundried tomatoes and polenta chips, with an avocado and garden salad. But the house specialty is the house cuts of steak, and Joade enjoyed a 300 gram cut of scotch fillet, medium done, with mushroom sauce. Yum! And the desserts made Deb and my day. We chose the warm chocolate pudding with baileys fudge sauce, cream, and berries. It was superb. Deb suggested it just might be the best ever!

What a delightful afternoon with friends it was.

The chocolate fudge dessert - yum!

The fig trees

Poinsettia at Norfolk Blue

Monday, May 31, 2010

Impressive sights

What a mixed start to the week on Norfolk Island. While visitor numbers are lower than many would like, the island looks so green and lush from recent rains. We were blessed with the most amazing sunset on Monday evening, with the photo (at left) taken from the BAUNTI offices in the middle of the island while we were enjoying a few drinks with friends before heading home.

We were all looking forward to the arrival of the third cruise ship for the year too, with the P&O Pacific Sun scheduled to arrive early on Tuesday morning. And she did, so everyone was excited with the first passengers expected to disembark around 10am for a day of sightseeing, touring, shopping and all-round fun.

Unfortunately the sea conditions weren't good enough to ferry passengers safely to the island, and after a few hours the Pacific Sun steamed away to its final destination.

We were disappointed, and visitors already on Norfolk were too, because they were looking forward to watching passengers disembark onto Kingston Pier.

Nevertheless, the ship made an impressive sight off Kingston. Just to prove the point, here are two photos - the first taken through the convict-built ruins at Kingston, and the other from the front garden of the home of one of BAUNTI's owners.

Impressive sights indeed! (Wally Beadman)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

King William Travel visits Norfolk

King William Travel from Adelaide have been visiting Norfolk Island for many years and tour with BAUNTI ESCAPES.

The last group toured in early April 2010 and several of them (Ross and Leanne McLennan, and Ray and Bev Cooper from the group) have put together a diary and photo album of their Norfolk experience.


Click here to see the diary

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Reflections of a visitor

The plane touches down in Devonport, Tasmania – it is dark outside the aircraft and when we step down the gangway the cold brisk Tasmanian air hits us. We have come home after spending four weeks on our special island – Norfolk.

Friends and acquaintances repeatedly ask why do you keep returning to Norfolk Island , why not go somewhere that you haven’t been before?

Before we leave the airport we realise that we are back in the real world – coins have to be found before the car can leave the carpark, and we head off down the highway to Burnie 40 minutes away.

As we approach the towns we are stopped by red traffic lights which have a valuable purpose but we are so unused to them after four weeks away.

Admittedly the first morning home the daily newspaper is on the doorstep but it doesn’t quite compare with Saturday mornings in Burnt Pine to collect the weekly newspaper. We miss the village atmosphere of Burnt Pine, the friendliness of the people in the supermarket and surrounding shops, many of whom say “welcome back” is it 12 months since you were here last?

Mornings are spent exploring the island again – a walk in 100 Acres (above) where we were this year very impressed with the new walkway out to Rocky Point. Down to Bumboras to watch the waves crashing onto the beach, this now also made easy by the recent addition of a walkway. Crystal Pool never ceases to amaze and for those who are very fit and able a walk down to Anson’s Bay is a must.

After lunch we head down to our favourite island spot – Emily Bay (left). There are very few places in the world where it is such a pleasure to go for a swim in the lagoon – coming from a State of Australia with magnificent beaches and coastal scenery and living right on Bass Strait, nothing replaces that first swim of the visit in Emily’s clear, warm waters and for my “better half” a leisurely snorkel among the exquisite coral and fishes to be found there and in Slaughter Bay.

For peace and solitude Simon’s Waters (below) is quite a spiritual place, and so the days rambling goes on.

Tired and happy after an afternoon in the sun and water we head back to our accommodation for a shower and freshen up and most nights comes the big decision on where to eat. The island has many first class eateries so the decision can be difficult some evenings. The restaurants are manned by local residents who always make your visit seem special – we find it sad when we return some years to find that some of these fine dining areas have had to close their doors for various reasons. This year it was indeed sad to note the closure of Branka House after so many years of great dining in such a unique setting – but along with everyone else who has loved the restaurant we wish Mudgi and Peter all the best in their retirement.

If like me you have an interest in early Australian history there is a lot to see and “feel” among the convict ruins in Kingston (right) and who would not be touched by the early part of the cemetery where so many young people finished their young lives. As cemeteries go it has a special feel with it, surrounded by sea and the green hills of Norfolk.

This year the island was certainly a buzz with the visit of two P & O cruise ships to their shores. We were able to witness the arrival of the Sun Princess of April 13 and saw the delight and joy of the 1500 passengers who disembarked at Kingston. What a great effort the island made to make these people feel welcome, from dancing girls on the shore to free buses up into the village and lots of tours available for those wanting to explore. Many hired cars and did their own touring and I was amused by the hundreds of “Lego” bags that were going back to the ship.

It only takes a few days back in “the real world” to appreciate the lifestyle that the people of Norfolk have the privilege of enjoying. We appreciate that life is not always simple and that they are experiencing some hard times financially at present but every effort must be made to ensure that life as they know it continues and that their young people appreciate just what it is that is so unique about their island.

We can all live without the hassles of urban living, the stress of a simple shopping trip to the city and the endless commuting between venues.

I guess all this adds up to why we will be back in 2011 for our annual “fix” of life on Norfolk. Who would have thought on that first trip in 1975 that we would make it an annual event!!

(Kaye Cummings)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What visitors have said about BAUNTI

What do you think about your Norfolk visit?  And your BAUNTI experience?  Here is what some other BAUNTI customers have said.

Dear Megan,

Many thanks for providing a wonderful week for the King William Travel group from South Australia.

The tours and guides have been excellent - but we especially wanted to show our appreciation to you for helping to make it all happen.

It has been an enjoyable, memorable week, thanks to BAUNTI - and to you!

Thank you again.

King William Travel


Dear Wally,

This is just to say a big thank you to BAUNTI ESCAPES, and especially to yourself and Nicki, for the wonderful way that you all looked after us on our recent visit to you beautiful island.

This history was so interesting and the culture, meals, and the warm hospitality of so many was amazing ... (did I mention the food!!!!!).

It was the extra attention to detail and thoughtfulness in so many ways (that we believe would be outside the realm of duty these days) that we most appreciated.

Hopefully we will be able to visit again, but in the meantime we shall be 'spreading the word' amongst our family and friends.

Well done!

Regards, Lynette and Rob L (SA)


Again a huge thank you to you and your colleagues for a wonderful holiday.

We just felt so calm while there - had that 'Aah' feeling.

Regards, Colleen and Arthur L (Dunedin)


Hi Wally and Megs, (and the other lovely people from BAUNTI).

We have just arrived back to our noisy, busy world and we just had to contact you to say how much we enjoyed ourselves and to thank you all for making it so much more memorable.  You shared your knowledge, and even more appreciated was your friendliness.  We felt like we were a part of your lovely island for a short and rewarding time.

Special thanks also to John for his patience and knowledge during the progressive dinner, and to the kind and hospitable families that made us so welcome in their homes.

Thank you again, Yvonne and Denise (Australia)

Monday, April 19, 2010

What's new at BAUNTI? Helen Reddy's World of Norfolk

Helen Reddy is a household name today thanks to songs like “I am Woman” and “Delta Dawn” and her long and amazing career. She lives in Sydney, but visits Los Angeles and Britain regularly and periodically visits her home on Norfolk Island.

Why Norfolk Island?  Helen has an incredible connection with Norfolk. She has ancestral links to each of the European settlements of Norfolk and her home is on the site of one of these – the first home of Richard Morgan.

Learn about Helen’s career, stroll through the ‘rooms’ of her amazing garden, discover the convict history of Helen’s property and her connections to Norfolk, and see a working aquaponics garden that is an example of what Helen would like to see in every home.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

eco Tour feedback

Tour March 6 to 14 2010.

Thank you all for being such wonderful hosts yet again. As with previous years the universal comment from our guests is they enjoyed the special relationship that we have with you and this made the tour particularly enjoyable.

An interesting comment was made by Bob and Lyn. Friends had said to them that a week was far too long to spend on Norfolk and that they couldn't possible keep busy and interested for that long. After only a couple of days they said that a week was not long enough.

Thanks again for all your hospitality, friendship and tireless efforts.

(Permission to post from Barry Davies, IPT)

What's new at BAUNTI? Edible Gardens experience

Visit four island gardens and learn about how their owners use sustainable gardening practices to produce plentiful vegetables, fruit, and pleasure gardens.

The physical beauty and environment of Norfolk Island are priceless assets and must be protected. The four amazing people you will meet will show you how they are playing their part in ensuring a sustainable place to live and work, and for visitors to continue to holiday in. Their gardens, and their passion for them, will touch you, and to top it all, you will enjoy refreshments along the way.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

IPT visits again

Each year in March BAUNTI hosts a visit of eco-tourists lead by one of Australia's best tour guides, Barry Davies.  He has twice won the eco tour guide of the year award from ecoTourism Australia. 

Barry and his 14 followers were here from March 6 to March 14 2010, and we enjoyed having them.

We enjoyed:
  • Immersing the group into our history and culture.  They learnt of the social histories of our past convict and Pitcairn settlements, and our local cooking, arts and crafts, music and language.
  • Teaching them a little about the island's unique and fragile eco-systems, and how some who live here seek a sustainable future for themselves, and for Norfolk.
  • Introducing them to our marine world.
  • Giving them the opportunity to enjoy our local food.
It was a wonderful time and a delight to catch up with Barry again.