Some of the better-known and more frequently-used currencies around the world are actually used by a number of other countries and islands alongside their main user. A good example of this can be seen with the Australian dollar. This is used in Australia of course, but it is also used in three other countries, not to mention a further seven territories that fall under Australian control.
One of these territories happens to be Norfolk Island, and we are about to find out more about this island here.
You may know a little about the Australian dollar already, but let’s review the coins and notes available for this particular currency now. The dollar is split into 100 cents, as is common among other dollar currencies around the world. Of the six coins currently available, four of these are in cents – the 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins. In addition to this you have the $1 and $2 dollar coins.
There are also a series of banknotes for the Australian dollar. These range from the smallest note, $5, through the $10, $20 and $50 notes and finally arriving at the $100 note.
The Australian dollar actually isn’t quite as old as you might think it would be. In fact it was the replacement for the Australian pound, which disappeared from use with the advent of decimalisation in 1966. This was when the new Australian dollar came into being. Norfolk Island looks to have used it for many years. Indeed it has very likely done so since its inception, since the island has long been associated with Australia.
The Australian dollar is one of the more frequently-used currencies in the world. This means it is easy to obtain if you are thinking of heading out to Norfolk Island at any point. You can exchange your own currency at a bureau de change at home to ensure you have ample Australian dollars to take with you. It might also be a good idea to get some traveller’s cheques, since these are usually quite easily accepted on the island.
You will be pleased to know you can also exchange more cash when you get to Norfolk Island. Burnt Pine in particular is a good place to find a bank to do this at. There are two banks with branches on Norfolk Island: one is Westpac and the other is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The latter offers a cash machine so if your card is accepted as part of their network this is a good way to quickly access more cash. Check the validity of your card on the island prior to travelling, so you know where you stand.
Finally you also have the option to pay for goods and services with a credit card. While many places take card payments this may not necessarily apply in all cases. Thus it is a good idea to double-check whether your card will be welcomed before you actually go ahead and try to use it.
Any good currency converter will be able to convert your own currency to that of the Australian dollar without much fuss. Make sure you find a good quality one that is updated quite regularly though, especially if you want to get up-to-date information. Furthermore, bear in mind that a bureau de change is likely to charge different rates from the current rate you will see on a currency converter. This is because they will have charges built into the exchange rate; either that or the rate will be fairly standard and they will add a fee on top for using their services.
It is a good idea to find out what the entry requirements are whenever you are planning to visit another country or island, and Norfolk Island is no different in this respect. Don’t assume the entry requirements will be the same as those intended for Australia. The latest information is available on the government website related to the island at this page - http://www.customs.gov.nf.
Most people realise that some parts of the world are far safer to visit than others. Norfolk Island is actually one of the safest places you could go in the world; various reports indicate that many islanders don’t even bother to lock their doors now. This might seem to hark back to the way of life decades ago in your own country: a time that is long since gone.
However it is probably a good idea to exercise reasonable caution wherever you go. Just because crime is very low indeed on the island, tourists may occasionally present too tempting a target to resist for a small number of petty criminals. As such it is probably advisable to lock your doors and to make sure your possessions stay safe throughout your time there.
Norfolk Island can be found in the Pacific Ocean. It is a long way from any other land mass. Australia itself is located to the west of the island, while New Zealand sits out to the south-east. New Caledonia is north of Norfolk Island while Fiji is much further out to the north-east.
The capital of the island is a town called Kingston. This can be found towards the south of the island. It is well-known for being part of a recognised World Heritage Area. This is due to its history as one of the Australian convict sites that were created throughout Australia and Norfolk Island. There are many buildings in this area and close by that date back as far as the late-1700s. Among these are the Marine Barracks, Kingston Pier and also the ruins of New Gaol, which date from 1847.
The island is home to many natural attractions as well. One of these is known as Bumbora Reserve. It is fairly small in size but then the island is not that big either. The reserve is not far from the capital; in fact you could walk it from there if you are happy to wander 1km out of town to find it. It is worth the walk too, since the reserve itself is quite pretty and it also boasts its own sandy beach. This is named after the reserve and lies in Creswell Bay. It is popular among surfers but even if you have never surfed in your life and never intend to, this reserve is still worth a look to spend an hour or two lazing on the beach there.
A much larger area of interest in terms of the natural world is that of Norfolk Island National Park. This is located in the north-western section of the island. The park is resplendent with great views and opportunities to head out on some amazing walks too. You even have the chance to climb if you are up to it, although for some this will perhaps be a little too vigorous! Some walks are more challenging than others but you can find out all about them all before you head off, so you can choose the most appropriate one for your needs.
One thing to remember while on Norfolk Island is the relatively small size of the island itself. While you can in theory hire a car it is really much easier to get around either by taking public transport or – even better – to hire a bicycle. If you do the latter you can cover more distance and not worry about catching public transport according to a timetable either. It might be a good idea to improve your fitness if need be before you go though, since the island is renowned for being on the hilly side.
Norfolk Island may have been completely unfamiliar to you prior to reading this article. At least now you have a good idea of what to expect if you should ever decide to visit the island. It is not the easiest of places to get to, although the best option is to fly in from either New Zealand or Australia. Getting there by boat is not impossible but it is certainly not easy either.
Many people would be charmed by an island small enough to warrant a bicycle as the best means of transport and yet big enough to offer plenty to explore. In many ways Norfolk Island fits into this mould quite happily, providing you with a good opportunity to see part of the world that you haven’t seen before. With beaches, reserves, great slices of nature to appreciate and good old-fashioned hospitality as well, Norfolk Island certainly knows how to lay on a good welcome.