It might be a domestic destination, but Norfolk Island is being pitched to Queenslanders keen to get on a plane again and head “overseas”.
The island, situated between New Caledonia and New Zealand, boasts stunning vistas, coral reefs and a rich colonial history, but the island’s Administrator, Eric Hutchinson, is using a different selling point to market the island to Queensland holidaymakers.
“There’s no need to quarantine when you arrive on Norfolk Island from Queensland,” Mr Hutchinson told ABC Radio Brisbane.
“Similarly, for Norfolk Island residents and Queenslanders returning, there’s no requirement to quarantine in Queensland at the moment.”
“It is a wonderful opportunity for Queenslanders who may be looking to travel further afield than what is possible on the mainland now.”
When it comes to arrivals, Emergency Management Norfolk Island has adopted Queensland’s coronavirus hotspot approach, meaning there are restrictions for people coming from New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, who are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Norfolk Island not just for ‘newly wed or newly dead’
Mr Hutchinson also spruiked the island’s “paddock to plate” food experience, its beaches, its national park and convict world heritage site.
“I think many Australians would enjoy and have an experience that you can’t really get in any other part of the country,” he said.
Mr Hutchinson said the island’s temperate weather also offered respite from Queensland’s blistering summer.
ABC Radio Brisbane listeners called in to share their experiences on the island.
One listener, Vicky, said she had a “funny experience” when she told family they were going to Norfolk Island.
“We told my father-in-law that we were going to Norfolk Island for a holiday and he said, ‘Why would you want to go there? It’s for the newly wed or the newly dead,'” she said.
“We went and had the most wonderful time.
“Its stunning naturally beauty, friendly residents and peaceful atmosphere were just what we needed.”
Another listener, Claudette, said she had been there twice and loved it, noting it was full history and stunning beaches.
“Emily [Bay] is a horseshoe-shaped cove where you can swim out onto a pontoon,” Claudette said.
Rita from Acacia Ridge said it was “absolutely beautiful”.
Island desperate to restart economy after lockdown
The island went into lockdown when a state of emergency was declared on March 16. It reopened on July 10.
While Norfolk is yet to record any cases of COVID-19, measures to prevent the virus reaching the island have come at a cost.
Tourism is a major economic driver on Norfolk Island, which 1,750 people call home.
“The economy here … is very substantially dependent on that visitor economy,” Mr Hutchison said.
“The decision that we made back in March to lock the island down has had a significant impact on many, many businesses here.”
He said without the Federal Government’s JobKeeker scheme, the consequences of the restrictions would have been “catastrophic”.
But with the stimulus package being reduced this month, Mr Hutchinson said reopening the island to tourists would be essential.