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)