I lost count of the people who asked me what we were going to do on Norfolk Island for a week. I was more concerned that a week wouldn’t be long enough for everything we wanted to see and do.
Care to guess who was right?
Day 1 started somewhat earlier than we expected when our daughter went in to labour and made it to hospital with 9 minutes to spare before our 2nd grandson was born. We didn’t have time to meet him before we had to check in so we toasted his arrival with an early morning drink at the airport.
We had a good flight with Air New Zealand and must have had a steady tail wind as we left late but arrived early. Our shuttle was there to meet us and it didn’t take long to get to Cumberland Resort and Spa.
Let’s face it, it doesn’t take long to get anywhere on the island. At a tiny 5km by 8km and with less than 100km of roads in total, there’s lots to see and not very far to go to see any of it.
We couldn’t believe how well equipped our self-contained unit unit was. Not only that, but we had a car and a phone included. All we needed was to pop $10 credit on the phone on the first day and fill the car up on the last day.
We went for a drive for a look around and to pick up some essentials, a walk around town and an afternoon cocktail, then relaxed for the evening and thought about what we’d do the following day.
Day 2 was mixed. It started really well. With no definite plan we drove down to Kingston where we joined the Tag Along tour. We’d been advised not to bother, to just pay to go into each museum, but we’re glad we chose this option. For $25 you get to do the 2 different tours that are done on alternate days as well as unlimited entry to the 4 museums. The tours also have the advantage of knowledgeable and engaging guides who relate a lot of the stories behind the displays and access to the museums before opening time. Highly recommended!
And now I’m going to sound like the world’s biggest whinger, which I’m usually not. One of the reasons I’ve taken so long to write up this trip is that I don’t enjoy writing about negative experiences, so I’ve been putting it off.
After lunch at our unit we went on the half day island tour that seems to be included with most accommodation. This is a great way to see around the island and get a bit more of an idea of what there is to see.
Unfortunately I don’t think we had the best guide in the world. He pretty much told us not to bother asking any questions because he knew what they’d be, at what point of the tour we’d ask them and would be answering them somewhere along the way. This served to make everyone feel that any question they asked would be a stupid question and isn’t a great trait in a tour guide so we weren’t really thrilled with the tour, though we did enjoy the views.
He also explained a bit about the recent political changes and asked us not to talk about it because it was a sensitive issue … then went on to make his own opinion quite clear with comments through out the tour.
The stop I most enjoyed on this tour was at St Barnabas Chapel
with its beautiful William Morris stained glass window with a design based on the Pacific hibiscus. (I learnt this by daring to ask a question of one of the other drivers whilst we were stopped.)
One of the things I’d most been looking forward to was the Murder Mystery dinner. I’d heard good things about it from people who’d been to Norfolk Island years ago. I expected it to be interactive and fun. Instead, we sat down for our meal which was tasty enough without being remarkable. Everyone was given a historical character with a bit of a costume and a sheet of information.
We were then told what to read and when. That was all we had to go on to work out the murderer. No opportunity to ask our own questions. No actual interaction. Just totally scripted and managed reading. I was beyond disappointed and couldn’t believe we’d wasted so much money on this.
Well, you have to take the good with the bad. The upside of a disappointing afternoon and evening is that things can only get better. I promise they did.