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Norfolk Island, Australia, oceania Cruise

    Norfolk Island is unique amongst Pacific Islands because of its terrain, history and people. The shoreline is rocky and rugged with ocean rollers pounding the cliffs and its rolling green hills are reminiscent of England. Several sandy beaches offer access to the surf and there is a romantic lagoon with a coral reef that offers excellent diving. Located about 1,610 kilometres ENE of Sydney, Norfolk Island is volcanic in nature and has a total area of 3,455 hectares, one-third of which is national parks and reserves. There are two smaller islands lying to the south called Nepean and Philip both of which are uninhabited. 82% of Norfolk Island's permanent population are Australian citizens and 14% hold New Zealand citizenship. Nearly half of Norfolk Island's permanent population are descendants of the Pitcairn Islanders who settled on Norfolk Island in 1856.
    Discovered by Captain James Cook in 1774, he liked it so much he named the island in honour of the ninth Duchess of Norfolk. With the foundation of Sydney Cove in 1788, Norfolk became the second oldest British settlement and was set up as a penal colony. By 1810, more than a quarter of the island had been cleared but be4cause it lacked a suitable safe harbour, it was abandoned in 1814 and its convicts sent to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania). In 1825, Norfolk Island was resettled as a penal colony and became renowned for its brutality. Laboured to establish the colony, building the prison, military barracks, boat sheds, crank mill, salt house and official residences which still stand today beautifully restored. This settlement was finally closed down in 1856. The current community is made up of descendants of the Bounty who petitioned Queen Victoria when Pitcairn became too small to hold their growing numbers. In 1914, the island was placed under the authority of Australia, and in 1979 it was empowered to elect its own parliament. You can visit historical Kingston, the tombstones in Kingston's cemetery, Mt. Bates, Mt. Pitt, Emily Bay and the historical chapel of St. Barnabas. There is horse-riding and bushwalking along rugged cliff tops, trails where lemons and mandarins grown wild. Explore the island on a 4WD tour and fish in waters off Philip Island where people have been known to catch four fish on one line. Clear night skies are a stargazer's delight.

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