DO not be perplexed if on Norfolk Island — a lush volcanic outcrop some 1400km off Australia’s eastern coast — you hear someone beckon you with the phrase “kat kros aa paedak aafta tii wig u sing”.
In the local language of Norf’k, a mix of Tahitian and old English, the Islander will merely be requesting you to “cut across the paddock after tea and come for a singsong”.
Said singsong is unlikely to be as raucous as Mardi Gras, but after the party season a bit of peace and quiet on an island known for its iconic pine trees, fine food and wealth of outdoor activities, might be just what the doctor ordered.
Originally settled by Polynesians, Norfolk is a self-governing Australian territory of less than 2000 people situated midway between New Caledonia and New Zealand.
Once a penal colony, at least a third of Norfolk’s population are direct descendents of mutineers from William Bligh’s 1789 voyage on the HMS Bounty.
However, the rough justice and violence of the 18th century are now far, far away with the island instead offering friendly faces in subtropical solitude with the odd dash of indulgence.
Just how indulgent is highlighted in the range of hotels and self-catering villas available including the Ponderosa Niau Cottage, Tintoela retreat and The Tin Sheds apartments, the latter of which was named the Australasia’s best luxury serviced accommodation at 2014’s World Luxury Hotel Awards.
With only 32kms of coastline, exploring Norfolk isn’t for from arduous with must-see sights including the World Heritage-listed convict areas of Kingston and St Arthur’s Vale, the island’s famous seaside golf course and the national park, the only place in the world where you can spot the elusive Norfolk Island parrot.
Then leave shore to meet the local marine life on a glass bottomed boat followed by a snorkel and swim in the azure seas.
But if your holiday is all about pampering then Norfolk reckons it’s got that covered too with yoga and tai chi, outdoor massages and a holistic natural therapies centre.
All that relaxing might exhaust you so chill out with the Norfolk speciality of “cliff top fish fries” featuring locally-caught trumpeter cooked in an ultralight batter and served with lightly seasoned chips and salad.
The island boasts some 35 eateries including the widely-regarded Dino’s at Bumboras, Hilli and Norfolk Blue. Or call into Two Chimneys Wines for a taste of the latest vintage.
And if someone should say “watwieh”, just wave back, it’s just Norf’k for “hi”.
Air New Zealand flies direct to Norfolk Island twice weekly from both Sydney and Brisbane
Four-night Mardi Gras recovery packages to Norfolk Island are priced from $1068 at Ponderosa Niau Cottage and $1369 at Tintoela including flights, car hire and more beside. Seven-night packages also available.