Its hilly and undulating, precipitous and vertiginous but so pretty and perfect you would be excused not to relate what you see to any of the awful penal history of the island. It boasts one of the finest churches anywhere, St Barnabas Chapel with stained glass windows by William Morris.
The beaches - there are two main ones I would say, Emily Bay where we swam to a raft, just like in my childhood in Famagusta, and the other one is Anson Bay which was also very beautiful but down a fairly long path.Turquoise waters and soft off white sand.
It is part of the Commonwealth of Australia and yet you have to show your passports here. They dont pay water rates, nor it seems income tax, they dont pay council rates as there is not much street lighting or refuse collections and all funerals are funded by the community who all volunteer to lay a fellow islander to rest. They have a form of self rule which is like to change in the next few years and there is some disquiet on the island about what Canberra might have in store for them.
Captain Cook landed on the north coast where there was a beach which was reachable. The island is what is left of a number of volcanic eruptions many years ago. Philip Island just off the coast is a nesting site for seafaring birds. There are lots on the island as well, terns and noddies, frigate birds as well as the very colourful crimson rosellas. There is also an endangered green parrot and we saw it on our last day there - in fact four of them, in the National Park. It's Botanical Gardens are beautifully organised on boardwalks and well worth a visit.
For the rest, the island is full of feral chooks- chickens to you and me, which must be some of the happiest chickens on the planet. They roam the fertile hills and even the cliff faces and they are colourful and clucking with not a care in the world. The cows are plentiful and they chomp the grass and take a break under the lovely shade of the majestic Norfolk Pines, some of which are hundreds of years old.
The Hundred Acre Reserve is where this picture was taken as we sat on the edge of the cliff and watched the sea birds and a pod of dolphins. We walked a number of trails in the National Park with the most awesome Norfolk pines with old man's beards, hanging off their branches, the real sign of a clean atmosphere.
Mount Pitt, one of the highest points on the island from where you can have a 360 degrees view of the island.