Norfolk Island has a unique geography with a small population. The primary industry on Norfolk is tourism and the government is independent of Australia in most respects except for policing, defence and education. Norfolk Island is a tax free haven of Australia.
Norfolk Island is a 3855ha, 8km x 5km, three million year old volcanic outcrop located in the South Pacific Ocean, approximately 1000 kilometres east of the Australian coast, 1670kms ENE of Sydney, 1065kms NNW of Auckland and 772kms SE of Noumea. It is almost at the same latitude (29 02 S, 167 57 E) as Australia's most easterly point, Byron Bay. Norfolk's highest point is Mount Bates at 319 m.
Norfolk Island has two uninhabited neighbours just off its southern shore. About a kilometre offshore lies Nepean Island - a small islet of coral and sandstone which provides a haven for thousands of seabirds. Much of Kingston is built from blocks quarried there by Lieutenant King's convicts. Phillip Island - 6 kilometres south of Point Hunter - is a volcanic mass rising to 300 metres at its highest point.
The permanent resident population is approximately 1800, the total population reaches up to 3500 in peak tourist season. At any one time the tourist population combined with temporary residents can easily exceed the local population.
Norfolk's sub-tropical climate is tempered by the surrounding sea so it is never blazingly hot and rarely cold enough to demand more than a pullover or cardigan. The average annual rainfall is 1328mm and there are occasional storms but most rain conveniently falls during the night. The temperatures are mild ranging from 24C to 28C in the height of Summer and 19C in Winter. Click Here for up to the minute weather information.
Light casual clothing is suitable, with smart casual wear for special functions. Warmer clothing may be necessary in winter and a hat and sunblock in summer.
Norfolk's tap water is clean and safe to drink unless otherwise stated. Most drinking water is rain water collected in tanks and some hotels rely upon bore water as their primary source of drinking water.
Australian Commonwealth Customs and Quarantine laws do not extend to Norfolk Island, however, local Territory laws apply. A local customs duty is imposed on most items entering the Territory. Some exemptions exist. Quarantine controls generally mirror those on the mainland. Imports of fruit, vegetables, flowers and seeds are prohibited as are pork and poultry from New Zealand.
Norfolk Island time is 11.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), 1.5 hours ahead of Australian Eastern Standard Time, half an hour ahead of Eastern Daylight Saving Time and 1.5 hours behind New Zealand.
A passport or document of identity (Australian Residents only) is required. If you have a current Australian or New Zealand passport, a visa for entry into Australia or New Zealand or the right to enter either Australia or New Zealand without a visa then you are granted automatic entry to Norfolk Island. All other visitors must obtain a Visitor's Permit (valid for 30 days) from the Norfolk Island Immigration Office prior to arrival. Entry and residence are controlled by the Norfolk Island Government under the Norfolk Island Immigration Act 1980.
A local mobile phone service is available when you purchase a local sim card or global roaming is available. Most cafes offer wireless hot spot areas, where you purchase a prepaid voucher for your laptop or phone. Public phone booths can be located around the town, there is one community radio station (89.9fm) two weekly local newspapers, Australian TV coverage and a local TV information channel.
240 volts AC, 50 cycles, three flat pin plug. Electricity is generated locally by large diesel generators and power surges are common so the use of surge protection devices is recommended for all electronic equipment, especially computers and modems.
Australian currency is used on Norfolk Island. Credit cards are also accepted.
Tipping is not expected on Norfolk Island, however, it is customary so if you are happy with someone who has tried that little bit harder and gone the extra mile, then a tip is in order and always appreciated. Giving a small tip (10% of the bill) in a restaurant is in order if the service is good.
A taxi service is available on the Island, however, you can not simply flag one down - you will have to book a taxi in advance if you want to go anywhere. There is no public transport on the Island but small rental cars are plentiful.
Cars drive on the left hand side of the road. Look out for cows, they have free run of the Island (except in the town centre) and they have right of way - it is an offence to hit a cow and you will be fined if you do.
The temperature on Norfolk Island, on average, ranges from 26 C (77 F) in summer to 20 C (68 F) in winter. The seasons on Norfolk Island are :
Spring : September - November
Summer : December - February
Autumn: March - May
Winter : June - August
In the event of an emergency on Norfolk Island please telephone 000.
For non-emergencies and general enquiries call the Police on +6723 22222. If you feel unwell and require medical assistance while on island, please contact the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service (NIHRACS) +6723 22091.