Our last two days have been very pleasurably spent taking in the very attractive scenery of Norfolk Island.
Yesterday, we started late and found a rather nice café for brunch in the main street. I was getting sick of eggs, so I ordered a really nice fruity breakfast with a base of honey drizzled Greek yoghurt which was overlaid with fruit and berries. Yum!
Our first sightseeing destination was a drive to the summit of Mt Pitt in the centre of the National Park. This volcanic peak is about 300 metres high and from the top you can get a 360 degree view of the whole island. There aren’t many places in the world where you can see the whole country from one point. I then took a track to neighbouring Mt Bates (the highest peak on Norfolk) which required a walk of about 500 metres through some rather attractive rain forest. The view is very similar, except that on this peak are a few relics of an old NZ WW2 radar station.
From here, we drove down to the Botanical Gardens that are located on the steep side of a valley not far from the National Park. There are some nice walks through the fern valley (Norfolk Island has some of the tallest tree ferns in the world) and along the creek. I was hoping to see some birds, but we managed to time our visit at the same time as the gardener was power blowing the total length of the boardwalk. With all that noise, there wouldn’t have been a bird within miles. There weren’t many flowers as I think that we are in the wrong season. Some of the other gardens that we have visited have, however, had some stunning examples of hibiscus.
Our last part of the day was spent along part of the south west coast where we checked out some of the rugged scenic coastal views.
We had made a reservation at a very nice restaurant called Hilli’s for dinner last night. It had great food and a good selection of wine. There was no fish however because the weather has been too bad for the fishermen to get out in their boats, just as it has not allowed the supply ship to unload. Next door to the restaurant is a lovely little gallery and a very nice garden of semi tropical plants. Hilli’s is well recommended!
We had a couple of rain showers overnight and everywhere was a bit wet and muddy in the morning. However, this morning, the wind had slackened off to the point where the supply ship was finally able to unload.
We, most other tourists, and many of the local population, were down by the wharf, watching the unloading process. The ship normally comes in every six weeks, but this time it was two months since the last resupply as the ship had to undergo its annual marine survey. In addition, the bad weather had forced the ship to stand off the coast for almost two more weeks, so everyone was really desperate for supplies. One local lady was waiting for some things that she had ordered from Australia last February. All the families and restaurants are looking forward to now getting deliveries of key food items and no longer having to make do with substitutes in their recipes. The pizza shop next door had run of flour two days ago.
The ship was anchored about 500 metres off the pier and a team of lighters were pulling whale boats to and from the ship. Each carried about 5 tonnes of freight at a time. The wharf was only big enough to unload one whaleboat at a time and this was done by a mobile crane. Everything from beer barrels; paint tins, groceries and construction items were unloaded by sling and then carted away in a fleet of, mostly old, trucks. Every man made item on this island has been unloaded at some time in the same way. We were watching this process take place at about 9.00 am and it looked like it had been going for some time by then. We called back to the pier at 4.00 pm and unloading was still continuing.
We had left the north-western corner of the island as a place to visit today. Most of the coastal scenery there consists of steep cliffs and rocky outcrops. Almost all of the roads end up at a lookout and it was easy to fill in a lot of time just poking around.
We found Captain Cook’s landing place from when he discovered Norfolk on his second voyage. Just up the road was a very nice tea house named ‘Bedrock’. We interrupted the lady there as she packed sunflowers for some of the shops in town. We had a slice of her very nice lemon tart that went down wonderfully with a nice cup of tea.
Now we are back at our resort having a pre-dinner drink before testing to see whether the pizza restaurant is open again and whether has received their order of flour today. If not, we will have to resort to Plan B and go to the Bowling Club.