Norfolk Island's colourful history belies its sleepy paradise with a past steeped in cruelty and bloodshed. Located in Norfolk's capital, the Historic Kingston Precinct is situated on Norfolk's southern extremity and is the island's most significant historical site. Home of the first convict settlement, it is where the construction of infrastructure began.
Depart Burnt Pine via Ferny Lane and drive around the airport until you reach Country Road. Turning left, follow the road straight ahead down Beefsteak Road. To your right you'll see Longridge House where you can relive bygone days over a meal or Devonshire tea. Continuing to follow Country Road, head right and stop for a visit at Watermill Dam then keep going down Jemima Robinson Avenue past the 100 pines that commemorate her 100 years. When you reach the Commissariat Store, turn right and follow Pier Street to the jetty and imagine being a Pitcairner setting eyes on your new home all the way back in 1856.
Coming to the heart of old Kingston Town, allow plenty of time to explore this scarcely changed 19th century village, visit the 4 museums and enjoy lunch at the Royal Engineers' Office. The infamous pentagonal prison and its terrible hospital can still be seen today along with the Crankmill. Ending in Slaughter Bay, the prison walls finish with a plaque that commemorates the tragic end of the Sirius and a museum dedicated to the First Fleet flagship. Taking in the Salt Mill, continue to Emily Bay and enjoy spectacular views from the top of Point Hunter.
Driving back to the Commissariat's Store, stroll round the Old and New Military Barracks and Quality Row. The cemetery is also stunning and the tombstones dating as far back as the penal days appear like a mirage by the beachside. The tombstones make for interesting reading with the likes of Thomas Salsbry Write who died at the age of 105 in manacles, sentenced at 99 for forgery. Further on you'll arrive at Bloody Bridge, worth getting out of the car to experience the legend.
Built by convict labourers under Major Anderson, the beautiful bridge speaks of refinement and a timeless grace. However, the wretched souls who built it were forced to endure harsh conditions, 22 pound iron, dysentery, frequent lashings from a cat o' nine tails and unimaginable suffering at the hands of Major Anderson. Driven to the brink, one convict attacked the Major with a pick, killing him. Panicking about the retribution such a crime would incur, the gang walled up the Major's body in the bridge. When another overseer turned up to relieve the Major, he enquired as to his whereabouts. Feigning ignorance, the convicts were undone when blood started to ooze from the still-wet mortar of the bluestones.
Continue on up Driver Christian Road to Collins Head Road which will take you back to Burnt Pine.
Following the Summit Track, this leisurely hour and a half walk offers panoramic views of the north west coast about 200m in at the seat. A further 10 minutes on sees a short, steep ascent to the peak of Mt Bates where the view will take your breath away. There are two pits, one of which contains the relics of a WWII radar installation.
Following the Captain Cook signs, wind your way through the forest and down the coast to the sound of the Golden Whistler and perhaps the rare Green parrot. Following the cliff top, you'll enjoy amazing views og Bird Rock, Cathedral Rock, Green Pool Stone and Moo-oo Stone. Arriving at the monument, you'll look down upon the spot where, two centuries ago, Captain Cook landed. 100m further you'll find a shaded cliff top with picnic and BBQ facilities for your enjoyment.
You can also take a drive from the summit to this end point that takes you down Mount Pitt and Grassy Road to Taylor's Road all the way through Burnt Pine to Arthur's Vale. At the base, the Devil's Elbow takes you west to Country Road where you'll head left to Rocky Point Road. Immediately, you'll see sheltered convict ruins and the Branka House restaurant opposite. Further down on the right are the remains of the convict barracks of Captain McConachie, known as The Arches.
Continuing to Bumboras Road follow it to the picnic sport of the Reserve and then cross the plank bridge over the creek where, on the left, you'll find the world's only two stands of Euphorbia Norfolkiana. Over the rise lies Cresswell Bay where you'll be enchanted by wild surf and rock pools before your return to Rocky Point Road delivers you to Point Ross. Here, a visit to the summit is a must for fantastic seascapes. Finding yourself on the island's southernmost point, you'll see Phillip Island and the mind bending, flat surface of the ocean stretching for 5,000 km to the Antarctic.
Head back to Country Road and go west until you reach the magnificent Moreton Bay Figs. Study their history before continuing on to Douglas Drive for a visit to the Pacific's smallest but most beautiful church, St Barnabas. Keep going via Bullock's Hut Road and Duncombe Bay Road to finish up at Captain Cook's monument.