Roughly equidistant to Brisbane, Auckland, and New Caledonia, Norfolk Island packs an extraordinary amount of intriguing history and natural beauty into its 13 square miles. Basalt cliffs drop to the ocean and cows have the right of way on this remote Australian-flagged island where there’s one K-12 school and residents rarely lock their doors.
Although there is evidence of early Polynesian settlement, when Captain Cook landed on Norfolk in 1774, it was uninhabited. Thus began colorful chapters of history that include mutineers and convicts, fame and infamy.
With all the action on land, don’t forget to look up for world-renowned stargazing as you sail away in the evening. Hundreds of miles from the closest populated landmass, Norfolk’s astonishing night sky has no light pollution for clear viewing of celestial phenomena like the Southern Cross, Milky Way, and Magellanic clouds.
Here are five things to know about this fascinating island which we visit on Under the Southern Cross: New Zealand to Melanesia.