About 1400 kilometres off the coast of New South Wales, Norfolk Island is home to almost 1800 people, the evergreen Norfolk pine trees, and The Olive, a café that has built strong relationships with the local community. Naomi Thompson became the Owner/Operator of the café in 2010 after discovering a ‘For Sale’ sign during a Christmas holiday the year before.
“I got to know a lot of the locals who became my ‘Norfolk family’. We’ve been able to grow by supporting the community, being involved in different charity and sporting groups,” Naomi says.
“Making sure we’re serving good food and good coffee helps as well.”
The Olive sources whatever produce it can locally, meaning the menu is very seasonal. Fresh local mushrooms always prove to be popular with customers when they’re available. A few staples, like the Eggs Benedict, are always favourites.
“We’ve had shipping problems in the past, so sometimes the island will run out of eggs or be low on milk. These are the challenges you face being so removed, so all of these things we try to locally source,” Naomi says.
There are, however, a few key imports, including potatoes, ginger, garlic, milk, T2 tea, and the Campos Coffee Superior Blend.
“I always try to keep up with the coffee scene in Australia, see what’s going on, and offer different stuff all the time,” Naomi says. “We’ve got non-dairy milks on offer, and I’m quite surprised how popular almond milk is with the locals.”
When COVID-19 restrictions hit Australia, Norfolk Island went into full lockdown for several weeks. Naomi says it was tough for the community, but with no active cases, the island has been able to quickly get back into the swing of things.
“We’ve been missing the tourists though. While I’ve got a good local following, tourism is the cream on top,” she says. “I’m not sure when they’ll reopen the borders, but we have an elderly population, so we really don’t want the virus to make it over here.”
Not too far from Brisbane and Sydney, Naomi says Norfolk Island will be a great holiday destination for Australians once travel restrictions are eased. Until then, she adds, it’s been good to take time out and focus on the locals.
“I’ve been at The Olive for 10 years now. I’ve watched kids grow up and now they’re going on dates or having milkshakes and food with friends,” Naomi says. “There’s mothers and their babies, grandparents, and tradies – a wide range of people who come and have coffee with us. Everyone is welcome at The Olive.”
Burnt Pine 2899, Norfolk Island
Open seven days 6:30 am to 1:30pm
+672 3 24406