EVERYTHING UP TO DATE ON NORFOLK ISLAND
And that includes the Norfolkers of more mature years, who like to get out and about and see all the latest happenings on Norfolk Island.
Each year, on behalf of Rotary, Bernie organises a Mystery Bus Tour for the senior citizens of the island. Now Norfolk Island is only 5 miles by 3 (or 8 km by 5), and you would think there would be a limit to the number of new things to be discovered by a local. But we always manage to find something.
As usual, we assembled in Foodies carpark after lunch, and Bernie checked off the names. There was great camaraderie right from the start, as always happens when a group of Norfolkers get together.
First stop was the airport, where "Coop", who has worked there most of his working life, hopped aboard.
Now everyone on Norfolk Island is pretty familiar with the airport, because we always seem to be welcoming people or seeing them off there. The planes from Australia and New Zealand are pretty much a lifeline for us in this day and age.
But this time, the bus took us through the narrow driveway right out onto the tarmac itself.
And then out onto the strip. Coop had arranged it that we would be just like a plane, with all the usual runway lights and signals operating! We quickly found out that we were flying too low!!
I did not know that the planes left so much rubber on the strip!
Our driver/pilot Ray took us right up to the new RESA (Runway End Safety Area) at the Headstone end of the runway. This has been a big project, involving many tonnes of dirt moving - but it does bring our airport up to international standards.
Next we inspected the "shed" - a huge building that has recently been erected within the airport, housing the fire trucks and Fire Services, Emergency Services and the Volunteer Rescue Services, among other things. In the event of a disaster, this building could even be used to house a large number of people on a temporary basis. Now all this new infrastructure has been very costly, but I believe it is a great investment in the future for a little island which depends so heavily on efficient transport and communications.
This room is designed to give an unobstructured view of all the take-offs and landings
Next stop was Matt's garden, and many were amazed to see the extent of it all, and the variety of what was being grown.
After this we went on something of a scenic drive - and every outlook on Norfolk Island is picturesque!!
We ended up at Kingston Pier, and disembarked for afternoon tea in the REO Cafe. This is the old Royal Engineer's Office from the Penal Settlement days.
Behind Edie, Maeve, Dolly and Marion is a reproduction of the famous Bounty Mutiny picture, showing Bligh and his supporters being set adrift by Fletcher Christian and his mates.
There was a delicious afternoon tea, provided by Rotary, and served by some of the Rotary ladies.
The afternoon was late, and it was time to go back on board and head back to Foodlands.
Big thanks to everyone who helped make the afternoon such a success. Thanks to the generosity of people in this community with their time and resources, it was all free, and absolutely no overheads.
Next year's trip is already in the planning!