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Hiking in Phillip Island, Norfolk Island

Home > Norfolk Island > Adventure | Nature | Outdoor | Walks
by Cris (subscribe)
I am an Organiser of the Group Hiking South East Qld and More on Meetup. Visit the website at https://www.meetup.com/HikingInSEQLDandMore/ is free to join all the activities posted on the hiking group.
Published February 18th 2021
Migratory seabirds sanctuary, six kilometres south of Norfolk Island, displaying a dazzling arrangement of red, purple, yellow, orange colours with unique flora and spectacular hiking trails.

Phillip Island is part of the Norfolk Island National Park, protecting many seabirds, including masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, black noddies and red-tailed tropic birds.

In December 2020, I spent about a week with my family and my hiking group in Norfolk Island. I booked this adventure with Norfolk Island Travel Centre, Meet the Locals. While I was in Norfolk Island, I did a trip to Phillip Island.

Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,
The trail on the red soil of Phillip Island, looks like a Martian landscape! Photo by Author.


The weather was very good, the sea was favourable to travel by boat to Phillip Island. We were recommended to take water, snacks and a pair of extra socks to walk on the onshore rocks.

The vessel is carefully winched down to the sea. Photo by Author.


Our skipper was David Biggs, who had lots of experience in navigating the difficult waters of Phillip Island. Just getting to Phillip Island was an exhilarating experience! The boat was winched down from the jetty to the sea. I was with my family and my group all together in the same boat! The vessel travelled south leaving behind Norfolk Island.

Soon we arrived at a small bay, where we were to disembark. Our guide, Mark, was there waiting for us and to help to stabilise the boat. We could get down only one at a time when the boat managed to be close enough to the rocks. In the boat, we waited our turn to disembark and when we were all on land we started to walk up the trail.

Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,, Australian endangered plants, Phillip Island Hibiscus
Mark is helping to stabilize the boat from the shore of Phillip Island. Photo by Author.


The trail that goes up. Behind it is possible to see the fishing hut. Photo by Author.


Mark took the group on the beautiful trails of Phillip Island, recounting the stories of the place, describing the nature, telling about the revegetation program and the new threats the island has to face. There is a nice staircase to climb up from the rocks and soon I was so close to birds, overlooking at the sea and at the formidable multi-coloured hills.

Incredible staircase. Photo by Author.


Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,
The ravishing beauty of the land. Photo by Author.


Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,, Australian endangered plants, Phillip Island Hibiscus
A beautiful hike, Photo by Author.


Straight away, I was greeted by a couple of masked boobies. The island is a good place for them to raise their brood.

Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,
A couple of breeding masked boobies. Photo by Author.


On the island, it was possible to observe many couples of Masked booby, some were looking after the eggs and some were busy with their chicks.

The magnificent Masked booby take turns to incubate and raise their offspring. Here the chick has already feathers. Photo by Author.


Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,
Masked booby bird with very young chick with no feathers. Photo by Author.


Mark took the group up to the Rangers place where we had a break.

We passed an abandoned camping site that used to belong to a man and his wife. With the help of few other people, they managed to bring a rainwater tank so rainwater could be collected. The couple was involved in conservation on the island.

Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,, Australian endangered plants, Phillip Island Hibiscus
Abandoned camping site. Photo by Author.


Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,, Australian endangered plants, Phillip Island Hibiscus
Inside the abandoned camping site I found a bird asleep. Photo by Author.


Then we continued to the top of Phillip Island, a place called Jackey Jackey. Legend says convict William Westwood, known as a Jackey Jackey, escaped from Norfolk Island and by boat got to Phillip Island and he kept running till he came to a cliff. With nowhere else to go and the guards chasing him, Jackie Jackey jumped in the sea.

Jackie Jackie point where allegedly William Westwood jumped in the sea. Photo by Author.


From 1788 to 1855, Norfolk Island was a convict settlement. It was during the harsh convict times that the colonialists released animals such as pigs, goats and rabbits on Phillip Island as a source of food for the penal colony.

Red tailed tropicbird. A real seabird the red tailed tropicbirds spend their life flying over the seas. They come on land to look after their chick. Photo by Author.


Once the Norfolk's last convict settlement ended, the animals were left behind for the descendants of the Bounty mutineers relocating from Pitcairn Island.

Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,
Amazing Phillip Island. Pig face, this succulent creeper helps to stabilise the soil. It is planted to reduce the erosion on exposed areas. Photo by Author.


But the introduced pigs, goats and rabbits on Phillip Island stripped off the vegetation leaving the land barren and exposed to the elements. The land eroded and degraded, in the same time, revealing all the array of colours of the soil underneath.

Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,
Black-winged petrel busy returning in its burrow probably to feed the partner who is looking after the eggs. Photo by Author.


In the early 80s, the animals were eliminated in order to start on the recovery program. Our guide Mark helps to propagate the native plants via cutting and collecting seeds from the parent plants.

Philip Island Hibiscus, Hibiscus insularis. Conservation effors ensure the survival of this stunning native flower. Photo by Author.


Mark explained that recently the water hens arrived on Phillip Island and are now a new threat for the breeding birds. There is no fresh water on the island and the water hens search for chicks and eat their brain to obtain the necessary water for their survival, but it is detrimental for the breeding birds.

Red tailed tropicbird. A real seabird the red tailed tropicbirds spend their life flying over the seas. They come on land to look after their chick. Photo by Author.


It seems becoming increasingly difficult to catch the water hens since they smart up and hide very well. In the early afternoon, we made our way back to the little bay to return to Norfolk Island. Our adventures continued in boarding the vessel again one by one with the help of Mark.

Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,, Australian endangered plants, Phillip Island Hibiscus
Descending the trail. Photo by Author.


The skipper could only get close to the rocks when it was safe.

Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,, Australian endangered plants, Phillip Island Hibiscus
One by one we went inside the boat. Photo by Author.


Once back on Norfolk Island, we enjoyed lunch under the shade of the Norfolk Pine trees.

Norfolk Island, Phillip Island, Hiking Norfolk Island, Hiking Phillip Island, Norfolk Island National Park, masked boobies, black-winged petrels, sooty terns, red-tailed tropicbirds, colourful land, Jackie Jackie,, Australian endangered plants, Phillip Island Hibiscus Norfolk Island Pine Trees
The beautiful Norfolk Island, the south side. Photo by Author.
https://www.norfolkislandtravelcentre.com/about-us/our-team/https://parksaustralia.gov.au/norfolk/https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Westwood_(bushranger)
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