Where to spend Christmas in the pandemic? A photographic holiday in paradise

Colonial gaol arches at sunset , Norfolk Island 2021 – By Maria Shaw

COVID-19 Christmas holiday restrictions

Blue sky, blue water, Kingston, Norfolk Island – By Maria Shaw

Deciding where to holiday over Christmas in 2021 in Australia in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was a complicated matter. This was because Australia had been in lock down to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 virus for almost the whole year and Australian state governments had widely different rules that prevented /limited travel, mandated mask wearing and managed COVID-19 testing before, after and during travel.

Beach necessities, Emily Bay, Norfolk Island – By Maria Shaw

Four holiday criteria

To take advantage of the announcement that travel between states would be possible in December 2021 I had to plan carefully and choose a location that would meet my holiday criteria. This was: to holiday by the sea, stay within Australia, ensure that the location would not be crowded and would provide me with the opportunity to undertake a range of outdoor activities that didn’t depend on other people. This criteria was tough.

Monarch butterfly, Norfolk Island – By Maria Shaw

Why Norfolk Island?

After some thought I decided to holiday on Norfolk Island. It was within Australian territorial waters, would be relatively quiet and uncrowded, had 32 kms of pristine coastline that included safe places to swim and snorkel, would provide lots of opportunities to interact with nature and as it was a site of historical significance, would also provide great locations to photograph.

Wall colonial gaol, Kingston, Norfolk Island – By Maria Shaw

Navigating restrictions

Due to constantly changing restrictions that different states and territories imposed the logistics of travelling from Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory to Norfolk Island via Brisbane in Queensland were onerous. However navigating those restrictions was worth it.

Colonial gaol, Kingston, Norfolk Island – by Maria Shaw

How to get to Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island was formed from several volcanic eruptions between 3.1 and 2.3 million years ago. It is is located on the east coast of Australia in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and New Caledonia. It is around 1,471 kms from Brisbane and 1,600 kms from Sydney Australia. The only way to reach the island is by plane. Once I flew to Brisbane the flight took took 2 hours and 20 minutes. There are around 1750 people that live on the very island that is only 8km long and 5 km wide.

Derelict boat, Slaughter Bay, Norfolk Island – By Maria Shaw

Historic sea travellers

In the 13th and 14th century the island was settled by East Polynesians. It is thought that the isolation of the island and the poor horticultural environment, were not favourable to long-term settlement. In 1774 following Captain Cook’s landing the island was named after Mary Howard, Duchess of Norfolk. From 1788 to 1855 Norfolk Island became an English penal colony in as part of the settlement of Australia. On 8 June 1856, permanent civilian residence on the island began when descendants of Tahitians and the Bounty mutineers were relocated from Pitcairn Island.

Emily Bay, Kingston, Norfolk Island – By Maria Shaw

Swimming at Emily Bay

During my 10 days on Norfolk Island I spent much time swimming and snorkelling at the tropical beach lagoon known as Emily Bay. The bay has the reputation as one of the best beaches in the South Pacific. It is surrounded by Norfolk pines and the turquoise water is so clear that you can see the fish swimming in it. No sharks can enter the bay as it is surrounded by protective reefs. The bay also includes a pontoon that you can swim out to, jump off or relax on.

Rock arch by ocean, Kingston, Norfolk Island – By Maria Shaw

Picturesque countryside

Emily Bay is part of the Kingston UNESCO World Heritage Site, that includes convict era buildings and ruins and makes excellent photographic subjects. In addition as the island is extremely mountainous and winding, and green it is very picturesque. The 40km per hour speed limit in the city centre (50 km per hr outside the city) – with meandering cows having right of way on roads, makes scoping photographic locations a pleasurable and easy task.

Entrance to Kingston, Norfolk Island – By Maria Shaw

Further Information

Check out some additional photos I took of beautiful Norfolk Island below or find further information on Norfolk Island at https://www.norfolkisland.com.au/

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