Norfolk Island has a unique geography with a small population that is slowly declining. 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 1900, 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.
Norfolk Island Government Offices: 8.00am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday
Post Office: 9.00am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday
Shops: 9.00am - 5.00pm (Most shops close on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons and on Sundays.)
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. The duty-free allowance is 2.25 litre of alcohol and 250 cigarettes.
Norfolk Island time is 11 1/2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), one and a half hours ahead of Australian Eastern Standard Time, half an hour ahead of Eastern Daylight Saving Time nd one and a half hours behind New Zealand.
Norfolk has its own postage stamps and Philatelic Bureau (Post Code 2899). The Bureau trading hours are 9am - 5pm Monday - Friday (closes 4.00pm Wednesday).
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.
The Westpac and Commonwealth Banks have branches on Norfolk Island. Visa, Mastercard, Bankcard and other major credit cards are accepted in various establishments on the Island. There is limited EFTPOS access and one Commonwealth Bank automatic teller facility on the Island.
A local mobile phone service is available when you purchase a local sim card (This will work if your phone is not locked into a plan) Global roaming is available for these carriers Telestra, Optus and Vodaphone. Any enquiries please call into the Norfolk Telecom office on New Cascade Road. There is a internet cafe located in the Village in the main street and most cafes offer wireless hot spot areas, where you purchase a prepaid voucher for your laptop. Public phone booths can be found at Telecom or 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. The RSL club, Leagues Club and some accommodation properties provide PayTV.
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. Travellers cheques and most credit cards are widely accepted.
As a rule, 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 cab in advance if you want to go anywhere. There is no public transport on the Island but small rental cars are plentiful - rumour has it that there are more rental cars than residents.
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 1 through November 30
Summer : December 1 through February 28 or 29
Autumn: March 1 through May 31
Winter : June 1 through August 31
Smoking is not permitted in government buildings, in tour buses, taxis or on flights to and from the Island. Many restaurants are non-smoking, however, they often have a dedicated area for smokers. Smoking is permitted on licensed premises.
In a life threatening emergency dial 911 for the Hospital, 977 for Police and dial 955 for Fire and other Emergency Services.
For non-emergencies and general enquiries call the Police on 22222 if you are on Norfolk and 24222 if you are calling from overseas. The general enquiries number for Fire Services is 22049 and to the general enquiries number for the Hospital is 2209.
The Norfolk Island Hospital has extensive facilities including a dental clinic and a prescription dispensary. Emergency services are provided on a 24-hour basis and in serious emergencies, evacuations are provided by the RAAF. If you require emergency services while on Norfolk Island dial 977 for Police, 955 for Fire and 911 for the Hospital. Medical treatment on Norfolk Island will be covered by Medicare as it is on Mainland Australia for Australian Citizens.