The Hilli Goat TourNorfolk Island
Sitting on a cliff overlooking the spectacularly azure waters of Norfolk Island’s Anson Bay, is a paddock-to-plate experience that’ll leave your taste buds salivating for more, long after you’ve left the tiny Pacific Ocean island.
When the Ryves family moved to Norfolk Island three generations ago, they wouldn’t have imagined their farm property would turn into one of the must-do experiences atop the basaltic, nutrient rich soils. The Hilli Goat Farm Tour, led by Emily Ryves and her family, is one lunch-time feed you just can’t miss.
The tour starts with Emily and Steve (Emily's dad) offering a history lesson in how the farm came to be one of Norfolk Island’s most delicious experiences, with the hairy VIP’s crying for attention (and food) in the background.
Originally settled as a cattle farm, it wasn’t until Emily saw a documentary of two ladies making goats cheese that she decided to transition from her role as a flight attendant and to farming and cheese making. Born and raised on Norfolk, Emily has always lived on the family’s property, where to this day, she lives with her husband Zach Sanders and their son, Charlie.
Watching the goats eagerly line up at the shed as the milking process is explained and demonstrated is fascinating. When you arrive at a small shed-like structure on the property, a few metres away from the milking shed, Emily will emerge with a cheese mould and explains the cheese-making process, from thickening of the milk to pressing and moulding curds. Alongside her thriving cheese produce business, she also stocks a growing organic goat’s milk skincare range but it’s the smell of the lunch being prepared in Emily and Zach’s home, situated just at the end of the property, that will really grab your attention.
A large Norfolk Pine table is set up just beyond the doors and is quickly covered with wholesome dishes prepared by Emily and her mother, Alison. Warm bread sits alongside an array of vegetable dishes sourced straight from the Hilli Goat Farm property and cooked in a variety of different ways. From roasted carrots and squashes potatoes, to salads, and traditionally fried fish, and of course, more goat’s cheese than you’d find in your local farmer’s markets.
The dishes are everchanging, seasonal and delicious, with a lot of traditional style dishes thrown in the mix. And while Emily and Zach are centre stage, it’s a true family affair. Emily makes the goats cheese, Steve provides the fruit and veggies, and Jamie catches the fish.
This is life on Norfolk at its finest – the people are inviting, the produce is locally-grown, full of colour and flavourful, and the atmosphere is relaxing. It’s a belly-filling learning experience that should be at the top of everyone’s to-do list to Norfolk Island.
- Emily and her family are so lovely and inviting, you’ll want to move right in
- The food is one of the tastiest and most wholesome meals you’ll have on the island (amongst some of the other popular restaurants)
- It’s a pretty spectacular location, not that you’ll notice because you’ll be so distracted by the food
- The goats are enough entertainment and worth the trip just to watch them interact with Emily, Steve and the guests
- The lunch has a real community feel and you’ll likely sit next to people you don’t know. If you’re on the shyer side and you’re not interested in meeting new people, book in enough of your friends and family to fill a table
Air New Zealand flies to Norfolk Island from Sydney (Monday and Friday) and Brisbane (Tuesday and Saturday).
Price upon booking.
Bookings are vital.