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VapourTrails
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Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Thu May 14, 2015 3:32 am


Norfolk Island & NLK ~ South Pacific, Oceania | Virgin Australia ATR72-600 & Air New Zealand A320 International

Part 1: CBR-SYD-NLK

Welcome to my second trip report!



Last Easter I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take a trip to Norfolk Island.

I travelled with a family member, who was just as keen, or keener than me, to see this small remote island in the South Pacific which we had heard about over the years, and which people raved about as a must visit place.

It has been coined as a place for the ‘newly-weds’ and ‘nearly-deads’, I think they mean retirees… ahem, well, this is quite unjust IMHO as it is a place for everyone; all ages, who want a relaxing, slow pace, safe haven and time to unwind holiday.

If you are also interested in Australian, British or South Pacific history, then there is enough to satisfy the intellectual stimulation here as well!

I won’t give a lot of facts and stats on Norfolk Island, as I have provided a link here which gives a lot of that detail - but to summarise briefly, the island is approximately 35 square kilometres (14 square miles) and for the last 36 years, and currently, is a self-governing external territory of the Commonwealth of Australia.


FlightRadar24 showing location of Norfolk Island in the South Pacific.


~~~~~~

For both trip reports (as two separate trip reports, Parts 1 & 2), I have included detail of all the flights I took, of course! I have three videos, two of which are a combination of what I took, and my first attempts at video editing. 

There are many photos, which are taken on an iPad Air, two mobile phone cameras, and a Canon EOS 70D camera. Also included are some A.net database photos. I have used I/we, and the past/present tense interchangeably. I ended up writing more on reflection, as my intention to keep notes was not all that good, and definitely not daily.

~~~~~~

Three days before the flight I had a look at the Air New Zealand website. I noticed that the safety on-board cards are available for viewing online, first time I have come across this. I had a look at the seat map for Air New Zealand Airbus A320 International. There is one class throughout. I couldn't select seats online due to booking arrangements (agency, not e-booking) and so didn’t know where we would be seated. I also didn’t book either of the flights (aside from those VA ones) or travel so no decisions about this aspect were my own.

I familiarised myself with the food and beverage arrangements. I knew we had a fare with no food included, which I later found out was called a ‘Seat + Bag’ flight, but tea and coffee or juice, and water is complimentary.

This made me very happy and I was able to plan then bringing my own food for the two and a half hour flight. Food is available via credit card purchase or pre-paid vouchers, in NZD, handy to know but not an option I wanted to use.

Air New Zealand is the only airline that operates commercial flights to Norfolk Island.    I want to add, and because I said here on A.net, that I would never fly NZ because of what happened with Ansett all those years ago. However, over a decade has passed in that time, I had the opportunity to come on this trip, and as mentioned, choice of airline is not an option. So here I am!

The A320 is the only commercial aircraft that flies to Norfolk Island, as at the time of writing also. NZ have been operating flights to Norfolk Island as an Australian departure, since 2012, after Air New Zealand had been selected by the Australian Government to operate air services from Brisbane and Sydney.

Norfolk Island did have an airline, Norfolk Air that operated from the airport from 2006 to 2012.

So, my first NZ experience, and my second international or 'non-Australian' country of origin airline experience. It is about twenty-years less a month since I last departed Australia - then for the very first time, for the United Kingdom, way, way back then in the 90's.. and oh so much has changed in (air) travel during that time..

I feel out of my comfort zone now (again), but that is my saying the last eight months or so, and I aim to make the most of my experiences.

~~~~~~

The sound of aircraft on final approach back in my everyday life was starting to fray my nerves this week, as a reaction to 4U9525, and I am glad to be away from the flight path environment, to such a quiet place of Norfolk Island and NLK, where it is a one aircraft airport, and one flight per day, except for two days of the week.

Norfolk Island Airport (NLK / YSNF): I want to note that NLK serves as an important transit and refuelling stop for light aircraft crossing the South Pacific. The other interesting point mentioned in the link, and that was covered in our tour, was that the runway construction needed for the removal of many trees, particularly a long avenue of trees that had to be taken out, and the cutting off of several hills, to enable enough flat ground for the airstrip.

~~~~~~

The first day of my trip arrived! I am at the airport at CBR - a quiet Sunday late morning. First time checking in at VA at CBR, only a few people about. Used the kiosk, very quick! There was not a staff member in sight except behind the bag drop desk. Bag Drop is still not self-service, and I had to wait about five minutes for desk service, with one couple in front of me.

Staff service was very average but noticeably different to QF, in which the staff are more attentive and proactive when it comes to customer service, based on my experiences. I have found that the two airlines have changed, with QF trying really hard with customer service, whereas VA are now like QF were, and quite neutral, much removed from their early days of Virgin Blue when they were very bubbly and keen to please.


The VA terminal @ CBR



Even though I was early I wandered down to the end where my flight was departing from. I had never been down here before. Photo shows it was …just me and the music going, nice.

Then I wandered back up to the centre of the terminal between the two airlines' gates, to have some lunch, as after about ten minutes, it was too isolated!

I take a photo of VH-VPB and waited in that departure gate and it is not so isolated and tucked away, and more people are around. I see a pilot boarding the aircraft, and I ponder what the airline industry holds for its employees in the wake of the recent 4U9525 tragedy, days earlier.   

I hear people talking about the events of 24 March; pax, and ground staff employees, while I am in the eatery area having my snack. There is also the look of despondency around the terminal which I felt, and noted. It reminded me of events past; as I also flew days after 9/11 and it had an element of that atmosphere.   

I wanted to note this event as it did precede and continue to be a news story on my holiday, and I was flying on the same aircraft type. Although the reason for the tragedy did become known extremely quickly, and was not aircraft type related, that may not mean comfort for some travelling pax, and mean more anxiety for others. I was just at equilibrium. We take our lives into others hands when we travel.




My aircraft had arrived. ATR72-600 VH-FVN ‘whitehaven beach' arrives on time, and the weather couldn't be better. I have never flown this route before and am very interested as to how it will go and how smooth it will be.


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Photo © Steven Austen
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Photo © Paul McCarthy


Boarding at CBR




The flight is only about forty percent full. I had a rather large gentleman sit beside me (with companion across the aisle), so I couldn't use the armrest and I am squished up against the side somewhat.

I thought about asking if he would like to move to be more comfortable in one of the many spare seats from the middle to the front, but thought against it, and it was a short flight. Sigh. He may not have been allowed to move anyway.

I enjoyed the flight and also the in-flight snack and hot beverage. I think VA do the refreshments thing well at this present time, and it was just right (photo example included on the return flight). The weather was very clear and there were only a few bumps of turbulence during the descent.

Unfortunately I was only able to use my electronic device (which I also use for a camera and video) during the cruise part of the flight as the aircraft is not enabled as yet to allow pax to use electronic devices, always set on flight mode, in other parts of the flight - disappointing.

The photos I did get were of Lake George - the northern end, and the wind farms. I can see why it is called 'The Disappearing Lake' and is one of the most advantageous viewing points I have had of it.


Lake George..


A rather ‘weathered ‘ safety card..


Leaving the Southern Tablelands behind, for the coast..


Arrived in Sydney, the very first time I have ever used Sydney Domestic Terminal, I still can't figure why it took me so long to make this short journey from CBR.

I love landing at SYD where you come in from the bay and land on the runway surrounded by water. I had experienced this approach once before, on a stopover from international as the last stop before the destination airport. I was looking forward to it again, and it is better in a smaller aircraft too.   

I met up with my travel companion at the baggage carousel, after I had figured out the numbering system on the arrival boards.    Handy that I recognised pax from my flight prior to this, and was then able to get to the correct carousel for the JetStar flight I was waiting for. This 25 minute wait allowed me to get my bearings, and get onto Wi-Fi @ Sydney Airport.

Then we figured we needed to catch a bus to the international terminal, or could we walk it, it is not far... NO! When we got on the correct bus, which happened to pull up very soon after we got to where we needed to be, saw that it was not a walk but quite a drive around the end of the runway, as the two terminals are split in half by the runway. This took about 15 minutes, then the bus pulled up outside the hotel.

Check in was straightforward and then we went up to our room, which was at the back, overlooking the carpark but had some views of the weather, and also some regional turboprops leaving, shortly after departure at SYD.

The hotel was directly opposite the international terminal at SYD so ideally brilliant for convenience. I saw that the hotel had not been here very long, a few years; and was very clean, and efficiently run based on our experiences.


View from the hotel room...


The hotel, from the International Terminal @ SYD



After settling in, we wandered over to the terminal for dinner. Had a look around, checked out the departures board, and took the opportunity to familiarise ourselves with where we needed to go in the morning.

I love airports and don’t spend much time in them anymore when I am not travelling. I love larger airports that you can just get lost in, and I could definitely spend more time around here. I had no luck finding the observation deck though unfortunately, on that visit.

As I look around, I can see a lot of airport and airline employees and it does always, still make we wonder where my life could have gone if I had followed a different career path, particularly when I was younger.    I could have been one of these people working at SYD! I am sure it is an exciting place to work, and they love their job most of the time.   

We had a wonderful Thai meal, and then I discovered a place to sit for a hot beverage ..that had a view of the airport outside via a glassed walkway in the international departures. So I got my Wi-Fi going again, and looked at FlightRadar24 and listened to some LiveATC as well.

Made sure this lasted as long as possible. When not travelling alone, time doesn’t permit endless activities at leisure. Time to go back and get some sleep, in which I didn’t fare too well, as I had slept too well the night before!

~~~~~~

Got up early and crossed the road to the airport by 6:30am.    Check in was very quick, at a self-service kiosk, after walking down to the NZ H counter check in way down the other end.

Check-in staff were very helpful, relaxed and friendly and did most of the check in service for us. This whole demeanour was the kiwi and NZ experience and I found it really added to the spirit of the holiday.

I didn’t get any photos during this time; it was just not practical and a bit awkward.

Then we made our way to the departures point. Border control was not too busy and I would say we were through in half an hour. It got busier behind us but the lines were well co-ordinated and moved quickly.

Everything was going smoothly until I got to the bag scan and was stopped, immediately realising for what reason... extremely small amount of liquids only, allowed on international flights.

   I felt unprepared, ill-informed, and even thirstier. I know, no excuses. He was really nice about, but I was glad to move on, after me drinking or them dumping what I had. Sigh again.   

I have to say, after all those forms and point to point of border control, I found the whole thing rather intense and tiring, and it made me say, I really need to see more of my own country, and for this effort we were not going far and in theory not even leaving Australia, but travel to Norfolk Island is processed as an international flight, with appropriate documentation.

This feeling, I noted later, after the return, I had totally recovered from on the return journey, and I was very much the opposite, with my travel pouch, holding all my documents so I wouldn’t drop anything and really behaving as if I had done it at all at least annually!

LOL I think that meant that I had a good holiday and was well in need of one, but the word pre-holiday burnout came to mind later on.

The return flight was helped by the time of day, an afternoon and the fact that it was not busy in the least.  

I also realised and identified the stress of this process was separation anxiety. It will probably happen again next time I transit out of Australia. Of course it won’t stop me travelling, just good to put a name to it, and work through it.   

Anyway, we sat down somewhere, which was to me, over to a window at an A380 gate, and had something to eat and a breather of some relaxation.

Then we made our way, a long way, to G36, buying some lunch on the way, to eat on the flight. Our fellow pax were there, and it was good to see people setting out on the same journey as us!

There were a lot of retired people, but also some children, one of which was holding a balloon and boarding the aircraft (didn’t see it on-board), but a balloon on an aircraft, now there is something you don’t see every day.



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Photo © Sanjay Dayal
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Photo © Jonathan Rankin


Arrival of the dolphin at Gate 36.


I was a little disappointed it was not a silver fern livery, but I get an opportunity to see one of these on my trip! Boarding was about 15 minutes late due the previous aircraft departing and using the stand. We were allocated Row 27, and seat 27A is second from the back row and I was lucky to get my window seat preference which I was very glad about.

The Hobbit safety demonstration was played, it was the first time I had watched it in its entirety and I really liked it - funny and very different! I couldn't imagine QF doing anything like this!




Haven't been on an Airbus aircraft since Ansett, so about just over 13 years ago, and that was on an A320. I had forgotten how small the A320 is. The cabin layout was spacious though and I had plenty of legroom. The flight wasn't full, about eighty percent for this flight.




Flight was nearly half hour late departing. Take off was smooth. I knew I would have to leave my seat during this flight for a bio-break. I hadn't been on a flight of two hours or more for a long time, so I was really happy with my seat as it was a very short walk to the bathroom.

As mentioned, NZ offers complimentary hot and cold beverages. I opted for juice and started to eat my lunch I had bought on board, then along with other food that I could not leave the aircraft with.



I didn’t look at the IFE, except for the flight data tracking information. In fact I became and get fixated by it. I need to see that the flight is tracking normally; call it a post March 2014, or an av-geek thing.   

It is also only the second time from memory that I have had seat back information like this, aside from VA, where it is available on personal iPad. Anyway, it started to get cloudy into the flight and of course there is no view outside anyway.

I ate all the food and most snacks I bought with me, next to sharing some or leaving it on-board or declaring what I could take in, on the incoming passenger card. Didn’t read my book on this sector, I wasn’t feeling that relaxed. It was an early morning start, and the anticipation of a holiday destination and trying to unwind meant that I was a bit alert. I knew I should have taken a herbal sedative, as I normally do, for commercial flight.

I just chatted as I had a travel companion on this flight, and we didn’t have anyone sitting next to us; great for a trip to the bathroom, no one to interrupt.

  

Half way across the ditch, the seat belt sign came on, and stayed on for the rest of the flight. The pilots were apologetic, but the weather is not their fault LOL.

Luckily the FA let us go to the bathroom after the seat-belt sign came on, that was a relief. Other pax weren’t so lucky with getting a standing opportunity and visit much longer after that.

The flight as said, had a duration of two and a half hours, and seemed to go fairly quickly. There is not a lot of air traffic and we were the only flight of the day at our destination so that helped.







The cabin crew were very personable and very helpful. I didn't see the pilots except for in Sydney as they were waiting to go on to the aircraft.




My first glimpse of the island was minutes before landing, and it didn't disappoint. It was much more rugged, and I don't know why I imagined it to be flatter. Green yes, but it was more picturesque than any photo or video I had ever seen.




  







The landing, as the take-off was smooth and not dramatic at all. By that I mean it wasn't quick to stop or depart the runway or a hard landing.

**VIDEO: Take off from SYD, in flight tracking information, and landing into NLK**

One thing of note was that during the taxi-in, the wing overextended the taxiway and seemed very close to the shrub!

I wonder then it seemed, if a larger, heavy aircraft had to divert to this airport they would not be able to taxi to the terminal, or turn around if it did?






Disembarking was through the front and back doors, even though I am sure the announcement said it would be the front. The metal stairs were bought up to the back and front.

This is a great opportunity for an aviation enthusiast and I am glad I would get another opportunity to board this way onto a jet aircraft, the previous occasion being some years ago now.

Of course I got as many photos as I could without getting in people's way or holding up the disembarkation. Of the photos I got, here a few..


Mean wing..   




Don’t you just love open air airports..   


After the SYD departure process I am relieved that here it will be a lot quicker and less intense. The baggage collection and customs and border control took about 20 minutes.    I even got a stamp in my travel documentation, which seems to be a rare thing these days, of e-documents.

We were met at the airport by some very friendly locals. The mini bus took us and our luggage to our respective accommodation venues.



The bus driver/tour guide was very chatty and giving us all as much information as he could muster, in the short drive; things like, we are going through the only roundabout on the island, how to greet and reply to someone in the local language, that everyone waves to everyone here, and about the complimentary half day tour tomorrow morning.

When we got to the accommodation our hire car was already parked there waiting.  

Accommodation was impressive and very homely, and I felt glad and relieved that we had a really nice place to call home for the next 11 days.

After getting changed into some clothes more suited to a sub-tropical climate, we went down to the shopping centre, by car, even though it was only a 10 minute walk, and got some local food supplies, like milk and bread.



The modern town on Norfolk is named Burnt Pine, and was one street, with side streets, and not all that small really. We visited the supermarket and wasn’t surprised and fully expected to see that the $ of everything was double what it was on the mainland. We looked in some of the shops. Then we went to the liquor store and saw that alcoholic beverages are less than half price of those on the mainland.    So we bought some of that, a bottle of gin.



After getting the satellite Internet Wi-Fi access set up via our accommodation service; that evening, we turned on the TV and saw exactly what we saw at home, but more radio TV than I’ve ever seen before, so my goal of doing a lot of reading didn’t really go as well as planned, with all the ICT distractions of back home! Visiting and living on remote islands these days is quite different and has opened up, with satellite communication etc.  

We chose to eat out on our first night, at the (Rugby) Leagues Club. All the food on Norfolk Island is superb, and it was so nice to be able to dine out regularly and try new places, or revisit cuisines and well-known establishments. During the first week we also had dinner at the local RSL (Returned and Services League Club), and also lunch at the local golf club, to have a look around there, as well as local cafes in town.

People ask where are you from? With a population of currently around 1500, and an extra 1000 tourists at any one time, the distinctions are easy to spot. Like any small community, everyone knows everyone.

All the local food and beverages were delicious, aside from the milk, which usually comes in the form of UHT (heat-treated), as dairy milk is not sold commercially, and the only fresh milk is from New Zealand, air freighted in and retails at AUD$8.50 per litre (which I was willing to pay at the supermarket, as a holiday luxury). By the way the coffee served is an acquired taste. It is 100% Arabica and locally grown and produced.  



Views from the accommodation..


End of the runway, in the middle right of the next two photos..





There is nothing on Norfolk that can harm you.. we are told. This includes these many spiders.


The next day we did the half day tour, which consists of all the new tourists that had arrived on the aircraft that wanted to do the tour.







This was in two buses, and mid-way through the morning we stopped at a homestead and had Devonshire tea and scones, with guava jam.   

The locals are really welcoming and love opening up their homes and gardens to the tourists and hosting them.







A half day is all it takes to drive around the island and I love the fact that a holiday is so condensed. Even so, a week is not quite long enough. Luckily we heeded advice and take a week and a half.


The church that was on the approach video..






The tour told us all there was to see and know, and was a great starting point as to set up the rest of the week, along with the usual holiday brochures and bookings to be made for things that were scheduled at particular times.

The rest of the week was taken up with a visit to Emily Bay, horse-riding, then next door to a tea garden for refreshments; a visit to the local school’s charity event, and a visit to the second highest peak on Norfolk, Mount Pitt, the only one accessible by vehicle.

Beautiful Emily Bay, a subtropical beach, is inside a reef. As there are no public swimming pools on the island, this is it. One of the highlights of my trip was spending time on the sand and in the clear water at this beach, just gorgeous.

Not to mention the weather is pretty favourable too, except for the odd shower or rain (large droplets) in the middle of the day.. Saw a sea snake which put me off the swimming a bit, and didn’t get out to the pontoon that day. Turns out it was a sea eel and quite harmless..   



Didn’t go on the glass bottom boat to see the fish on this trip. I liked seeing the way they launched the boat with the tractor though, and get across that soft sand with it.  


This tree has featured in a few holiday brochures. Judging by the fact that it is leaning and it is the only one left there, I am not sure for how much longer!



Horse-riding was enjoyable, although not having been on a horse for about 24 years, it did feel weird – don’t think it is like riding a bike at all – as the cliché goes, and my fitness level was way much better then LOL. We went for a 90 minute ‘city-slicker’ ride which is a great way to see the countryside of Norfolk at a slow pace.




A visit to the tea garden next door.. a gardener’s paradise retreat.   





Visit to Mount Pitt..



Looking south to the airport..


Looking west..



With the children and their schooling on Norfolk Island, it follows the New South Wales (aka Australian) curriculum, and goes from K-12. As there is no school bus, a lot of teenagers get their motorbike licence at 15 years of age. As petrol is over $2.50 per litre, this is quite an economical option for parents.

The speed limit for all vehicles is 50 km/h, certainly one of my highlights as a driving tourist. The drink drive limit is .08 and that is quite good too. There are five police on the island, local and Australian federal.

We went to the hire car place to give our details. There are about two cars to every resident on the island, and a lot of them seemed to be at this car depot! I imagine, with the state of the roads (more on that later), that there would be repairs needed on wear and tear..

I love the local sense of humour. I saw some signs, one in the hire car shop, that said along the lines of, ‘Complaints Department, 200 miles that way’ -> aka to the middle of the great blue deep. The island is said to be the only community with people’s nicknames listed in the phonebook. I had to check this out, just to make sure.   The names on the gates of people’s properties can be quite amusing too and tend to run in suite along the road.

A very well-known author, Colleen McCullough, lived on the island for many years, and married a local. She passed away in 2015 and one of the tour stops is the graveyard, and her burial place!

There is a local language, which is a mixture of platt Deutsch, 18th Century English and Tahitian, brought to the island by the Pitcairners. It is taught in the local school, and some examples are ‘Whutta-waye?’ How are you? and ‘All yorlye gwen?’ How are you all? and ‘He arta orn hissel’ He admires himself too much. LOL, had to add that one in.  

I didn’t give any of these phrases a go, as languages other than English are not my strong point. I did hear adults and school children speaking it around about and in the local shopping centre. It does sound like English and another language spoken as one, which in fact is what it is as its origin, as mentioned.

I found the island to be more ‘Australian’ than I thought it would be, rather than Pacific or Polynesian, or even kiwi. The population are descendent locals, by that I mean, who are direct descendants of the Bounty mutineers that settled on the island; then Australians, settled as residents, or who have come for local work in hospitality mainly, and some New Zealanders, which also give an Australian-kiwi blend of accent and culture IMHO.

On Friday evening we were booked in to the Island Fish Fry. This consisted of alfresco dining near the cliff (minding the electric fence wire) at Puppy’s Point, and the main feature, to watch the sun set over the water. We met up with some more Australian travellers and had a nice meal, and had local entertainment - live music, and some dancing girls.






The only downside was, halfway through the meal, it poured with rain (very large droplets) and so they handed out rain ponchos, but by the time people got them on they were already soaked. It was the only time I felt cold on the holiday.

It fined up in time for the sunset, but then poured again. Can’t help the weather and this current, not alternative venue went ahead, just as well, for the beautiful sunset anyway.

So we got home a bit earlier than expected, with a careful drive through some very dark, narrow and windy roads, and managed not to get lost! I remembered on the first day that we were told when we go out at night, to take the torch provided, as it is very dark, with no street lighting. Yes! Oh, the wonders of simple, country living.







I love the way the different cameras produce the different result for the same scene.

~~~~~~



That is it for Part 1 of this trip report – thanks for dropping by and reading and / or looking at the photos and video.

Part 2 begins with plane-spotting day at NLK.   

I will link to it in the thread here once I have it ready and uploaded.

Cheers
=  

 
ElanusNotatus
Posts: 720
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:48 am

RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Thu May 14, 2015 11:06 am

Hi VapourTrails!

What a fantastic trip report. It seems that NZ offer a good product though it seems a bit bizarre that an Australian external territory should only be served by a (no offence to our Kiwi cousins) foreign airline. Still, if they can do it and Qantas can't, no reason to complain.

Your photos are stunning. The detail in the flora and the amazing sunset through the clouds are brilliant.

I am glad that you got to enjoy this experience. Looking forward to the next part.

EN
 
VapourTrails
Topic Author
Posts: 3939
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RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Thu May 14, 2015 11:24 am

Hi ElanusNotatus

Thanks for your comments.  

Oh yes, I thought I had put the link in the TR actually but I didn't, here it is below.

NZ won the tender in 2011. The second paragraph in the media release sort of backs up the reason(s):

""Air New Zealand has a significant presence in the Tasman market and has a long and well-established relationship with the people of Norfolk Island, having been a trusted air service provider to customers there since 1947," he says."

NZ to provide services from Brisbane and Sydney to Norfolk Island: http://www.airnewzealand.com.au/pres...ovide-services-from-bne-syd-to-nlk

It is a good opportunity to fly NZ. They were brilliant. Couldn't fault them in any way.

 
 
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allrite
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 11:28 pm

RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Thu May 14, 2015 1:35 pm

Wonderful trip report to somewhere different. The photos were gorgeous, especially on the island. It's nice to read of a trip report starting in Canberra that ends up somewhere other than Sydney (sorry) - okay you still had to go via there.

Have to say I'm struggling to imagine spending 11 days taking it easy on an island like Norfolk. Probably a sad indictment on the modern lifestyle.

You'll have to let us know if you finished your book in part 2!

Quoting VapourTrails (Thread starter):
I had no luck finding the observation deck though unfortunately, on that visit.

It was demolished over a year ago. No observation deck now, though the Rydges has one. Quite a convenient transit hotel, though I think it lacks the run down character of some of the others in the area.

Quoting ElanusNotatus (Reply 1):
What a fantastic trip report. It seems that NZ offer a good product though it seems a bit bizarre that an Australian external territory should only be served by a (no offence to our Kiwi cousins) foreign airline. Still, if they can do it and Qantas can't, no reason to complain.

Seems a bit strange that Jetstar couldn't do it for cheaper.  

Looking forward to the next part!
 
ZKOJH
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RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Thu May 14, 2015 1:36 pm

This is one interesting and out of the blue reports - something very different. Very good report and the pictures are amazing to look at. one place I really want to go to soon,  
 
lychemsa
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RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Thu May 14, 2015 3:07 pm

Is the airfare expensive from Sydney?

Fares to Lord Howe are very high.

People do not swim in the ocean?

Is it worth going?

Lord Howe may be nicer?
 
VapourTrails
Topic Author
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RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Fri May 15, 2015 12:11 am

Quoting allrite (Reply 3):
Have to say I'm struggling to imagine spending 11 days taking it easy on an island like Norfolk. Probably a sad indictment on the modern lifestyle.

You'll have to let us know if you finished your book in part 2!


Hi allrite,

Thank you for your comments.  

It is interesting you say that. Some people close to me said a similar thing. Comments like, there wouldn't be enough to interest me, or I would get bored after a few days. I knew going into it that would not be my experience.

For one, it is the place and kind of holiday where if you wanted respite from the outside world, it would be the perfect place to go. The people, the pace, the lifestyle, can force one to wind down and de-stress, for want of a better term.

I liked the fact that none of the tours were compulsory or part of the package. You just get your accommodation, with hire car (the independence) and do as little (or as much) as you want. I know, particularly from this experience, that I can't do the kind of organised packaged holiday where you are on a bus every day all day, sightseeing, it would be exhausting. I like a holiday where there is time for lounging around, and allocating a said half day to whatever you feel like doing that day.

As mentioned, the ICT is a good way to pass the time and keep in touch with the real world, but I wouldn't have minded doing without it if it wasn't available, and having that cold turkey break!   

I can mention the book now, and no, I only finished it a week ago! 
Quoting allrite (Reply 3):
It was demolished over a year ago. No observation deck now, though the Rydges has one. Quite a convenient transit hotel, though I think it lacks the run down character of some of the others in the area.

Thanks for that information. I know there is one, so I must have got confused with the one at Rydges then. I know they have planespotting packages so that now makes more sense too.

Quoting allrite (Reply 3):
Seems a bit strange that Jetstar couldn't do it for cheaper.

I read somewhere, but can't find it now, that the current NZ to NLK arrangement is in place till 2016? Who knows what the future may hold beyond that?

Quoting ZKOJH (Reply 4):
This is one interesting and out of the blue reports - something very different. Very good report and the pictures are amazing to look at. one place I really want to go to soon,

Thank you.   Hi ZKOJH, I couldn't see that anyone had done a trip report on this destination so it was good that I was able to. Thank you for leaving a comment.  

I notice that your profile name is one of the NZ A320 series..  
Quoting lychemsa (Reply 5):
Is the airfare expensive from Sydney?

It is around AUD$600 return. As a tourist you need to have a return flight booked, and booked accommodation for the duration of the stay though as well.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 5):
Fares to Lord Howe are very high.

Hi lychemsa, thank you for your comments.   I don't know but I am sure they are. QantasLink fly to Lord Howe Island, it is a domestic flight, and the amount of tourists on that island at any one time, and luggage allowed on board each flight is restricted.

Spoiler alert..   Lord Howe Island features in Part 2 of my trip report. It is definitely on my travel list, and I feel I need the set now, as travelled to islands!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 5):
People do not swim in the ocean?

No, and they shouldn't try it! 

There are other beaches besides Emily Bay, some are likely private, but I did see surfers near Kingston on a more regular coastal beach there. Emily Bay is a great swimming place because it is protected by the reef so no waves and swell. I did see people snorkelling on the reef too. I can't see a reason not to swim in the ocean, but you would do so at your own risk.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 5):
Is it worth going?

For reasons above, if you researched it, and went into it, say for a week with the idea of a new travel destination experience, definitely! It is a very safe place to be as a tourist. Have a look at this documentary if you would like to get some more information, without spoiling my trip report, I am happy to share this.. Australia's Remote Islands (2013) Ep 3 Norfolk Island http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmD7Q_Ijgbo

Lord Howe may be nicer?

I don't know yet, I hope to get there in the next five years, and will do a trip report here! I wouldn't like to compare and rank them.. here is the link for the Lord Howe Island documentary if you want to see it.. Australia's Remote Islands (2013) Ep1 Lord Howe Island http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ge4TN5jlJDU

Everyone I know who has been to either of the islands only has positive things to say about their visit.

[Edited 2015-05-14 17:22:13]
 
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allrite
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RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Fri May 15, 2015 3:13 am

Quoting VapourTrails (Reply 6):
For one, it is the place and kind of holiday where if you wanted respite from the outside world, it would be the perfect place to go. The people, the pace, the lifestyle, can force one to wind down and de-stress, for want of a better term.

I liked the fact that none of the tours were compulsory or part of the package. You just get your accommodation, with hire car (the independence) and do as little (or as much) as you want. I know, particularly from this experience, that I can't do the kind of organised packaged holiday where you are on a bus every day all day, sightseeing, it would be exhausting. I like a holiday where there is time for lounging around, and allocating a said half day to whatever you feel like doing that day. 

I agree! What I meant is that I find it difficult to imagine booking such a trip, but I'm sure the actual experience would be wonderful. I often fantasise about staying somewhere long enough that you don't feel compelled to explore or experience something new every day and can almost imagine you are a local.

Quoting VapourTrails (Reply 6):
As mentioned, the ICT is a good way to pass the time and keep in touch with the real world, but I wouldn't have minded doing without it if it wasn't available, and having that cold turkey break!   

Lord Howe Island sounds good for that... So far as I have read it's no mobile phones and the only internet is available from a cafe, and I would imagine is somewhat expensive. Would love to visit it.
 
zkncj
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Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 4:57 pm

RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Sat May 16, 2015 8:17 am

Quoting VapourTrails (Thread starter):
I was a little disappointed it was not a silver fern livery, but I get an opportunity to see one of these on my trip!

The International A320s aren't high on the priority list, as they due to start getting replaced with A320/A321NEOs in around 18months. Where as the much newer domestic A320s have been repainted fully.
 
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lesfalls
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RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Sun May 17, 2015 12:35 am

Great TR  .Thank you for posting.
 
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gbrazil
Posts: 49
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RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Mon May 18, 2015 4:36 pm

What a fantastic report! Thank you for sharing so many beautiful photos with us  
 
VapourTrails
Topic Author
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RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Tue May 19, 2015 2:33 am

Quoting allrite (Reply 7):
I agree! What I meant is that I find it difficult to imagine booking such a trip, but I'm sure the actual experience would be wonderful. I often fantasise about staying somewhere long enough that you don't feel compelled to explore or experience something new every day and can almost imagine you are a local.

Sounds great! Norfolk Island is also very family friendly, for this reason.

Quoting allrite (Reply 7):
Lord Howe Island sounds good for that... So far as I have read it's no mobile phones and the only internet is available from a cafe, and I would imagine is somewhat expensive. Would love to visit it.

It would be no more expensive than flying to another continent, relatively speaking. It is amazing that we have these wonderful destinations on our doorstep. I think they are quite undiscovered in terms of tourist numbers, and of course, tourism is their main industry (Lord Howe and Norfolk).

Yes, I am quite prepared to spend a week on Lord Howe without ICT! On Norfolk we got a phone with the accommodation, to make local calls. I had my phone kept on flight mode for the entire holiday outside SYD, it is amazing how long the battery lasts without charge! I only used it for photography.

Quoting zkncj (Reply 8):
The International A320s aren't high on the priority list, as they due to start getting replaced with A320/A321NEOs in around 18months. Where as the much newer domestic A320s have been repainted fully.

Thanks for that information. Some of the A320's do have the silver fern, -OJA, maybe it was a domestic carrier?

Quoting lesfalls (Reply 9):
Great TR .Thank you for posting.
Quoting gbrazil (Reply 10):
What a fantastic report! Thank you for sharing so many beautiful photos with us

Thank you for leaving a comment. It inspires me to continue writing.  

=
 
VapourTrails
Topic Author
Posts: 3939
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2001 9:30 pm

RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Tue May 19, 2015 9:34 am

Quoting allrite (Reply 7):
Lord Howe Island sounds good for that... So far as I have read it's no mobile phones and the only internet is available from a cafe, and I would imagine is somewhat expensive. Would love to visit it.

Oh, sorry, you mean the Internet access is expensive? I guess it would be, but I can't see how in this day and age, and in years to come, it would or should be just as cheap as elsewhere in remote places, with satellite? Norfolk Island cost us nothing because we stayed more than a week, other than that it was AUD$6 per day, and anyway, was limited to 500MB data usage (for our apartment, and we both had a device each) per day - fair enough! I think that is fairly reasonable. Wi-Fi and 'hot spots' would be better (we had that on Norfolk). I think Internet cafes are a bit passé, although I have used public libraries' Internet while travelling in Australia. The Internet connection and speed on Norfolk was fairly reliable, better than I anticipated.

International roaming via the normal telephone communication is more expensive than an email or via Internet SMS or Viber or a five minute FaceTime? I am not sure I've never used it.

I think that if remote islands want to boost their tourism and numbers of particularly younger travellers, they should get good ICT for the visitor, you know how people are with posting up to the minute photos and statuses on social media, it just can't all wait till they get home nowadays!

I would do without it for a week because I think it would be good for me, but if the Internet cafe is about, then I guess I would be down there a few times, regardless of the cost! Look what I was willing to pay for my love of fresh (NZ) dairy milk on Norfolk LOL.

[Edited 2015-05-19 02:41:23]

[Edited 2015-05-19 02:43:22]
 
zkncj
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RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Wed May 20, 2015 7:17 pm

Quoting VapourTrails (Reply 11):
Thanks for that information. Some of the A320's do have the silver fern, -OJA, maybe it was a domestic carrier?

An couple of the International A320 like OJA have been given an temporary paint job. Where they just painted over top of the existing paint and put an Air New Zealand Sticker. When you up close its noticeable as the white parts we'rent re-painted.

Intentional A320s - OJA,OJB,OJC,OJE,OJF,OJG,OJH,OJI,OJK,OJM,OJN
Domestic A320s - OAB,OJO,OJQ,OJS,OXA,OXB,OXC,OXD,OXE,OXF,OXF,OXH,OXI

All of the OX* feature sharkets
 
VapourTrails
Topic Author
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RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Wed May 20, 2015 9:29 pm

Quote:
Quoting zkncj (Reply 13):

An couple of the International A320 like OJA have been given an temporary paint job. Where they just painted over top of the existing paint and put an Air New Zealand Sticker. When you up close its noticeable as the white parts we'rent re-painted.

Intentional A320s - OJA,OJB,OJC,OJE,OJF,OJG,OJH,OJI,OJK,OJM,OJN
Domestic A320s - OAB,OJO,OJQ,OJS,OXA,OXB,OXC,OXD,OXE,OXF,OXF,OXH,OXI

All of the OX* feature sharkets

Thanks for the information zkncj. I found these too: http://youtu.be/JfYfWYF31yg  Smile. http://thedesignair.net/2013/09/20/r...r-look-at-air-new-zealands-livery/

[Edited 2015-05-20 14:33:12]
 
VapourTrails
Topic Author
Posts: 3939
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2001 9:30 pm

RE: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 1

Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:51 am

Part 2 of this Trip Report is at: Norfolk Island, NZ A320 International | Part 2 (by VapourTrails Jun 1 2015 in Trip Reports)

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