Perhaps the most underrated yet offering some of the most spectacular views in the Pacific, the Lord Howe Island is Australia`s ultimate island hideaway. Although Australians are slowly but surely becoming aware of this secret paradise, internationally, very little is known about the existence of ‘Lord Howe’.
The impressive crescent-shaped volcano that dominates the island quickly raised the attention of the British sailors in the time of colonisation. When reaching the shores, their attraction doubled when a surreal image came into view: secluded beaches covered with golden sand, tiny coves wrapped in lush vegetation, towering palm trees, exotic birds and imposing rainforest in the background – all that allure encircled with an idyllic coral reef lagoon.
WHO (AND WHERE) IS LORD
An uninhabited island was discovered by English Lieutenant Henry Ball in 1788 while his
ship en route from Sydney to the penal station on Norfolk Island in the
Pacific. Sir Ball named the island after Admiral
Situated in the Tasman Sea, between Australia and New
Zealand, the Lord Howe Island is part of the Ball`s Pyramid volcanic islands (which Henry Ball named after
himself), and it lies 600 kilometres east of mainland Port Macquarie.
The key component on the island quickly became the endemic sub-tropical Kentia palm, nowadays decorating millions of households and garden around the world.
While the fascinating marine life and the underwater world made the island turn into heaven for scuba divers, snorkelers, fishers and sea kayakers, its unique fauna and
flora attract thousands of naturalists
and bird lovers every year. The Twin
Peaks of Mount Gower (875 m) and Mount Lidgbird (777 m) – are the icons of
Lord Howe Island was established as a Permanent Park Reserve in 1981, and it was listed as a World Heritage Site to protect and preserve its unspoiled nature.
WHAT TO DO ON LORD HOWE
Kitesurfing/Windsurfing/Surfing – great conditions for various water activities, the island has amazing surfing beaches (e.g. Blinky Beach) and lagoons ideal for kite surfing and windsurfing (e.g. Neds Beach)
Kayaking/Paddle Boarding – get active, hire a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard and explore the immaculate beaches and their shallow waters while exercising (Old Settlement Beach, North Bay)
Scuba diving/Snorkelling – snorkelling in the emerald sea of the island and is something special. Interact with shoals of small and large fish, turtles, stingrays and discover the phenomenal coral gardens (Lagoon Beach, Neds Beach, Erscott`s Hole, Blinky Beach, Old Settlement Beach). Experienced scuba-divers will want to search around the Favourite Shipwreck in North Bay
Boating/Yachting/Sailing/Fishing – what can be better than anchoring in one of the islands idyllic lagoons and enjoy the crystal-clear turquoise waters and its marine life in luxury from above (always check with the local visitor centre for permits and best locations)
Golfing/Tennis – Lord Howe Island Golf is one of
the most picturesque golf courses in Australia, situated just between verdant
volcanoes and virgin beaches (there are three
tennis courts: Blue Lagoon, Pinetrees and Ocean View)
Mountain Biking/Cycling – the island has a 13 kilometres long scenic road tracks perfect for cycling
(bicycles are to hire at the visitor centre)
Sea to Summit Track – the iconic Mount Gower (875 m) can be conquered
in 3-4 hours (14 km steep climb, 8 hrs
return) and the Sea to Summit track will take you through various
vegetation zones and the very last section requires using ropes to climb the
rocky summit. The panoramic views from above are mind-blowing though! NOTE you will need to book the
expedition ahead – check with the visitor centre
Valley of Shadows – this is one of the most popular
trails on the island due to its easy access and moderate difficulty, leading
through massive banyans trees and magnificent rainforest. TIP Walk from the Clear Place to reach
the Valley of Shadows which takes about 2
hours to complete
Transit Hill – start the track at either Emerald Ground Dove or Golden
Whistler, taking you to the breath-taking lookout (2 hrs return trip). TIP
Tave a refreshing swim at the Blinky Beach on the way back
Malabar Hill – this three hr long, medium grade
walking trail goes through most of the
parts of the island and offers great views, especially at the Kim`s Lookout
North Bay/Mt Eliza – walk to the North Bay (3 hrs
moderate grade) to snorkel with turtles, stingrays and other big fish. The bay
is a favourite amongst scuba divers for its shipwreck.
Continue up to the summit of Mt Eliza
(short but steep climb) to admire the bay with a bird`s eye. NOTE there is an only boat or foot access to the bay so if you
intend to snorkel you will have to carry the gear with you
Little Island – a short walk through the lush jungle leads to the most spectacular views of
Mt Lidgbird (40 min return)
Neds Beach – fabulous beach with abundant
marine life and coral reefs (good for sunbathing, relaxing, walking, swimming,
snorkelling, kitesurfing and windsurfing)
Blinky Beach – mighty waves create awesome
conditions for surfing and bodyboarding
Old Settlement Beach and Lagoon Bech – calm,
shallow waters make them be wonderful
locations for swimming, sea kayaking and paddle boarding and particularly
Lord Howe Island Marine Park – the world`s most southern coral
reef features a fascinating ecosystem and unique
marine biodiversity. The island is surrounded by
lagoons with coral reefs, and its
underwater world resembles a natural wonderland. There are many different
environmental, fishing, snorkelling and other cruises and boat tours available
to explore the protected marine reserve
Admiralty Islands – sail, yacht or take a short boat
trip to the nearby group of volcanic islands to inspect their pinnacles and
their underwater paradise. There are some of the best diving sites around Noddy Island, Rupert`s Reef, Sugarloaf
Island or Flat Rock
Balls Pyramid – this erosional remnant of an
underwater shield volcano is an absolute must-see! The sharp rock rising from
the Tasman Sea, constantly attacked by the rough
ocean, is a spectacle to watch from a boat
WHEN TO TRAVEL
Lord Howe Island is defined by a sub-tropical climate, and it is an ideal summer holiday spot (Dec-Feb). Remember to book accommodation in advance as it might get fully booked in the peak season.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly to Sydney or Brisbane
to catch a daily Qantas flight to
Lord Howe Island.
Optionally, there are frequent flights directly from Port Macquarie within the summer months.
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