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A Norfolk Island Holiday Thanksgiving

Published 27th Dec 2023

Norfolk Island is known for its stunning scenery and convict history, but what you might be surprised to know is it is one of the few places outside of North America that celebrates Thanksgiving Day. Spacifica Travel was lucky enough to experience a Norfolk Island Thanksgiving Day, and has all the hints and tips so next year you can plan your very own Norfolk Island holiday over Thanksgiving Day.

Why does Norfolk Island celebrate Thanksgiving?

The tradition is a legacy from the American whalers who would make frequent stops to the island during the late 1800s. The story goes that Norfolk Island resident Isaac Robinson, and American consul, started the tradition by decorating the pews of All Saints Church with palm leaves and lemons. Today the Thanksgiving tradition continues; the churches are decorated with generous displays of fruit and vegetables, which are then auctioned off afterwards with the proceeds going to charity.

How can you be a part of this Thanksgiving tradition in the South Pacific?

The Thanksgiving Day tour is the best way to experience this tradition. Start by contacting Spacifica Travel, who can help you find the best days to travel so you don’t miss any of the Thanksgiving excitement. Thanksgiving on Norfolk Island is the last Wednesday in November, but it pays to fly over to the island a few days before so you can explore, learn about the history, take in the stunning scenery, and enjoy some tours.

We can book you on the Thanksgiving Day Lunch Tour with Baunti or Pinetree Tours. Ask us about any escorted tours that may be happening over this period, so you can experience a Thanksgiving lunch with like-minded travellers.

Our Top Tip: Book early! Many people, both tourists and returning islanders, travel to the island over this period and you don’t want to miss out on your choice of accommodation, joining tours, or paying a premium for flights.

What’s involved in a Thanksgiving Day Tour?

You will be picked up in the morning to join the locals at the Church of England Thanksgiving Service held at the historic All Saints Church in Kingston. The church is beautifully decorated with local produce. You might notice local families will all sit together in the pews, and you may even recognise some of the original Bounty mutineer family surnames like Christian, Quintal and Nobbs.

After the church service, the locals will auction off all the produce. You’ll have a light morning tea in the Kingston area with the historic convict era ruins and the Pacific Ocean, with views out to Phillip Island, in sight.

Then it’s off to a traditional island lunch where you’ll taste some traditional Norfolk ‘wettles’ (food), alongside typical Thanksgiving staples such as roast turkey and pumpkin pie. A glass of wine and some local entertainment also set the mood! After you’ve had your fill you’ll be transferred back to your accommodation for a well-deserved after-feast nap.

Things to Know:

  • Thanksgiving Day is a public holiday on Norfolk Island, this means very limited shops and restaurants will be open. Unsure, ask us what's open.
  • Norfolk Island celebrates its paddock-to-plate food culture, so much of your Thanksgiving meal will be straight from the garden or land.
  • Be sure to book early to get the accommodation that suits your holiday to Norfolk Island style best. Click here to see our range of accommodation from resort-style to self-contained apartments and holiday homes.
  • Norfolk Island is an easy and direct 2.5 hour flight from Brisbane and Sydney, and no passport is required!

How can you join a Norfolk Island Thanksgiving?

Call us at Spacifica Travel on 1800 NORFOLK to chat to our friendly team about locking you in for Thanksgiving next November. Our team are passionate about Norfolk Island, and we frequently visit the island to get the best deals and learn the local secrets. You can view our full range of Norfolk Island holiday packages here.

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We know the South Pacific like the frond of every palm