Norfolk Island

We’ve made it home, safe and sound after our time away. Our freshly painted house looks great, but I’ve not managed to take any photos yet. We’re too busy trying to unpack everything and get rid of all the dust and grime which comes with having tradespeople in your house. And sew and hang curtains…agh. A total nightmare. I promise I’ll share some photos – just as soon as it no longer looks like someone’s squatting in our living room!

I didn’t write about it much while we were away, but we spent the last fortnight with my parents at their house on Norfolk Island. My father and his family moved to the island when he was a teenager, and my grandmother still lives there permanently. My mother and father spend a good part of their year on Norfolk, spending time with my grandmother and enjoying the beach and the other things the island has to offer.

Norfolk Island is a tiny island off the east coast of Australia, in the Pacific Ocean. It’s kind of between Australia, New Caledonia and the most northern tip of New Zealand, on a similar latitude to Brisbane. Norfolk has an area of 34.6 square kilometers (13.4 square miles) and the climate is subtropical. That said, we had hot weather while we were there this year and no rain – which is quite atypical of our usual trips.

heritageNorfolk has a fascinating history – variously home to an early Polynesian settlement, two separate convict settlements, and finally the descendents of the mutiny on the Bounty who had outgrown their home on Pitcairn Island. You can read more about Norfolk’s history here – it’s worth checking out. Lots of buildings and ruins from the later settlements remain – some have been turned into museums. We didn’t poke around the ruins on this visit. Elena and Hugo aren’t really up to it yet.

These days, Norfolk Island is a self-governing external territory of Australia. It has it’s own immigration and quarantine regulations and a speed limit of 50 kilometers (31 miles) per hour (40km/hr in town and 30km/hr in the school zone). The cows (who roam the island relatively freely) have right of way on the roads.

right of way

Emily BayWe visited Emily Bay (the most popular swimming spot) almost every day – sometimes twice a day – this visit. To our utter surprise, Elena and Hugo were massive fans of the beach and swimming. Hugo took a liking to eating sand and crawling headlong into the water. Elena was a little more wary but still very happy to swim with Alex or me.

HugoWe spent time introducing my grandmother and Hugo, and had belated celebrations for Christmas and birthdays. We had four generations of my family in the same room. Crazy. We are very lucky.

bookends of four generationsAliceMy father has a love for all things mechanical and has a few old vehicles on the island – a 1928 Austin Seven Chummy (Alice) and a WWII-era Harley Davidson (civilianised 1942 WLA), as well as a not-so-old Citroën 2CV Dolly (Chloe). Elena was completely enamored of Alice and Chloe and very much enjoyed rides in both. She also loved the bike. I think our daughter might be a rev-head in the making! Hugo was a huge fan of Dad’s tractor.

HarleyThe kids were totally spoilt had a ball. Who else but grandma would let you destroy the flower arrangement in the centre of the table and then try to eat a hydrangea?

mess yumOr let you try on your great-grandmother’s jewellery (clip on earrings, I must add…)?

earringsWe didn’t have any fantastically grand adventures. We had a lot of slow, family time. I did a lot of baking and preserving. Elena cooked with my mother. And I took a lot of photographs.

picklesbaking ternskeleton peeking chick off cemetary horsesI even caught a semi-decent photo of Elena in her Christmas dress.

christmas dressI’ll be sharing a few of my new-found recipes over the next little while. I start back at work (part-time) on Monday and I think recipes will make for much more interesting reading!

cascadesunsetOur garden survived our absence very well. Our tomato plants are full of fruit. I don’t know how many we’re going to get, however – I went out to pick our first ripe tomato this morning to find it had been half eaten by some type of animal/bird. I’ll have to work out how to thwart my competitor!

Unfortunately, while we were away, I received the sad news from our chosen chicken-breeder that one of the lovely chickens we had arranged to buy had died. Because the pullet died from a (bird-to-bird) transmissible disease, the breeder is now unwilling to sell us any chickens. So now we’re back to square one on the chicken front. Given the extreme temperatures we’re having at the moment, I think we’ll wait a few weeks before trying to source some more girls for our (yet to be constructed) coop. It’s a pity, but I guess it comes with the territory (and I’m glad not to have bought an infected flock).

Southern hemisphere friends – I hope you’re keeping cool in this crazy weather. And to those up north…well, I hope you’re keeping dry and warm!

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9 Responses to Norfolk Island

  1. Jen says:

    If Elena turned out to be a rev head, she could always follow in the footsteps of the lady who owns/runs Erebus Motorsport…… She’s set for life!

  2. Tash says:

    Sounds like you had a lovely time away Ruth! All the best with going back to work 🙂 xxx

  3. textileshed says:

    Wow, what an amazing holiday! And your photos are amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Bron says:

    What a lovely place to head home to. The kids will love it. Sorry to hear about your chickens but better before you got them then after. Good luck with the chicken hunt.

  5. I am glad you had such a good time on your vacation. The pictures are amazing! I love that the cows are allowed to roam free on the island. 😉

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