The gorgeous Norfolk Island, a region outside Australia, lies around 100 kilometres north-east of Sydney.

Five weeks or so after the First Fleet arrived in Sydney in 1788, it was settled.

It’s a popular tourist spot, and was named as “Australia’s top emerging destination” a few years ago.

Travel writer Carolyn Beasley wrote in The Australian newspaper: The island was claimed for the British in 1774 by James Cook, who thought the towering Norfolk Pines would make excellent ship masts (they didn’t). A British colony was established just six weeks after the First Fleet arrived in Port Jackson in 1788. But the challenges were insurmountable, and the settlement was abandoned by 1814, then revived as a brutal convict station from 1825 to 1855.

The third wave of settlers hailed from Pitcairn Island, descendants of the mutineers who commandeered William Bligh’s HMS Bounty in 1789, and their Tahitian wives. Officially British subjects, they had exhausted Pitcairn’s resources, and in 1856 Queen Victoria gave them Norfolk Island, some 6000km away. Today, eight and nine generations later, one third of islanders, of whom there are fewer than 2000, trace their heritage to the rebels’.

Did You Also Know?

*One of the challenges of moving to Norfolk Island is thought to be getting used to not locking your home or car?
*There is great tasting fruit and vegetables, in season?
*The oldest, competition playing touch footballer on Norfolk Island is aged 86+ years?
*Norfolk Island has one of top 10 beaches in Australia?
*In the 2016 ABS Census, the ancestry of residents was Australian, English, Pitcairn, Scottish and Irish?
*Funerals are free of charge?

coastline of norfolk island, green land with deep blue ocean
Coastline of Norfolk Island
Photo: Melanie Shires

Retire To Norfolk Island?

But. Would you retire to Norfolk Island?  We asked local real estate agent David Bell of Norfolk Island Realty about living on Norfolk Island.
David says: It is one of the most beautiful and safest islands in the south Pacific.

It is SAFE. You can walk the streets day or night in safety whether it be as a single woman or a child. Kids can walk to school by themselves or go to the shops by themselves in safety.

The main industry is Tourism and there are approximately 1700 tourist beds on Norfolk. Along with many great restaurants and cafes.

Emily Bay is an all year-round swimming area and has been classed as one of the top 10 beaches in Australia.

Do you see a lot of people moving to Norfolk Island to retire?
We do get a lot of people here to retire in the relaxed safe lifestyle. Especially now that there are no restrictions for Australians or New Zealanders wanting to live or retire here.

Have you always lived on Norfolk Island?
I have lived here for the last 17 years . We came over on a holiday from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland and loved the beauty and lifestyle.

It took a while but we moved here as soon as we could.

Types Of Real Estate?

What types of real estate are available?
There is mostly the same type of real estate as in Australia. Houses, land and businesses.

There is only one block of units available, that is the Shiralee Executive Cottages.

The title is  freehold Torrens Title.

In 2018, the median house price was $399,000.00+

Is there scope for people to relocate and run a business in their retirement?
Yes, if someone wants to. They can also work on the net.

green grass over a hill with norfolk island pines and blue ocean in background
Norfolk Island
Photo: Melanie Shires

Are there ‘Retirement Villages?
No retirement villages or nursing homes as such.

There is an opening for the same even though not on a grand scale.

Norfolk Island has not had strata title until recently and this is now on its way.

There is an aged care facility at the hospital but most people stay in their own homes until they can no longer look after themselves. There are care groups that will help, eg Norfolk Care, Anglicare, meals on wheels. And the doctors will do home visits.

Medicare is here and when visiting the doctor there is no gap in fees as all is covered by Medicare. If a referral is needed for a specialist in Australia the Aussie Govt pay your airfares (except airline taxes)  and help towards accommodation and taxis as well as the medical expenses.

view from green hill, pine trees, blue ocean in background
Coastal walk, Norfolk Island
Photo: Melanie Shires

Have you seen people coming over to start a business in retirement?
Up until 4 years ago there was a need to buy a business to gain permission to live here. It was called a GEP  (General Entry Permit). After running the business for 5 years you could apply for residency. A worker would need to apply for a TEP (Temporary Entry Permit ) which would need to be renewed each year.

This has now been abolished and Aussies and Kiwis have free movement as in Australia as moving from Sydney to Brisbane or anywhere else.

This move was to encourage more people to move here as our population had shrunk with people moving to the mines for the big money. Our population has now grown from 1550 to over 1800 in recent years since the change.

Challenges Of Living On Norfolk Island?

What sort of challenges would someone coming to live  (in retirement) on Norfolk Island have?
The challenges would be getting used to the safety and freedom of not locking your house or car.

There are some restrictions as to always being able to buy what you want at the shops and waiting for a while for goods to come in if not in stock.

Some items are more expensive, due to the high cost of freight.

There is a lot of solar power. Water comes from tank water.

You get some of the best tasting local fruit & veges, but they are seasonal.

looking down hill to norfolk island pine trees, green land and deep blue ocean in background
Norfolk Island
Photo: Melanie Shires

Medical Facilities

What are the medical facilities like on Norfolk Island
Drs? Hospital operates with 4-5 doctors as a GP Clinic. Medicare with no gap.
Specialists? Visiting or referrals to Aussie specialists, with assistance .
Hospital?  20 beds (approx.) but no operating theatre or maternity.
Allied Health? Full time dentist, pathologist, physio, x-ray, aged care at the hospital.
St John Ambulance.
Funerals are Free Of Charge, e.g.:- casket, hearse, service, flowers & wreaths, cemetery plot, grave digging, sound & PA all free.
Generally. a gesture of a cartoon of beer for the grave diggers – otherwise no cost for anything.

couple of bicycles riding through old archway, green lawn around them
Cycling through ruins, Norfolk Island
Photo: Melanie Shires

There is a Police station – Norfolk Island Police Force is mostly AFP officers with a couple of local constables.

What’s the cost of living like?
Cost of living is generally not too different to Australia.
Food and retail goods are mostly more expensive but land rates on the average house is $5-600 a year, car registration $180 a year.
There are 170k of roads on the island.
There is no GST at all and no import duties or excise duty.

Are there good communication facilities? 
TV reception is good with 21 channels free to air. Foxtel & Sky available.
There are  landline phones and mobiles.
NBN is available, installation is Free of Charge and is usually installed in 1-2 weeks.
You pay for which ever provider you choose  

man hiking along track by ocean
Coastal walk, Norfolk Island
Photo: Melanie Shires

Does Norfolk Island offer good sporting, recreational and cultural activities for retirees?
Yes, generally most likes are catered for.
e.g. Lawn bowls, squash, tennis and football.
Our oldest touch footballer is an 86 year old – and he still plays in comps in Australia and NZ. 

There’s also pistol shooting, clay target, archery, bridge club, garden club, RSL club, Leagues club, bowls club, Mens shed, Theatrical society, White Oaks, Lions x 2 clubs, Rotary, Probus, Quota, red Hatters, +++

Religions are catered for:- Uniting Church, Catholic, Church of England, Seventh-day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witness, All Nations Christian Fellowship.

The school has over 300 students and goes up to year 12.

Fishing is great. A boat never goes out without getting a good catch.

men playing golf on green at norfolk island
Golf, Norfolk Island
Photo: Melanie Shires

How do people get furniture etc across from, for example, a capital city?
Most houses are sold furnished.  There is an air freighter generally once a month, shipping every 6 weeks. There are 2 hardware stores .

Furniture & white goods are available from the hardware store.

How do people usually get to and from Norfolk Island (is it always by plane?)
Flights to Norfolk Island
Air New Zealand: Monday, Friday and Sunday x Sydney and Tuesday & Saturday x Brisbane.
Also there’s an Air Chathams flight from Auckland on Fridays.

Thanks David.
Norfolk Island Realty,
Taylors Rd Norfolk island. Ph +6723 22601
Mobile +6723 50701

Would You Retire To Norfolk Island?

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