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.

The impressive crescent-shaped island was discovered in 1788 by the British sailors who named it after Admiral Richard Howe

WHO (AND WHERE) IS LORD HOWE?

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 Richard Howe.

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.

Lush subtropical vegetation adorns the entire Lord Howe Island

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 the island.

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.

The Lord Howe Island`s unspoiled lagoon makes a refuge for abundant marine life

WHAT TO DO ON LORD HOWE ISLAND

1.WATER SPORTS

  • 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)
The island is encircled by a splendid lagoon that is ideal for boating and water sports

2.OUTDOORS

  • 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)
Lord Howe Island is home to one of the prettiest golf courses in Australia

3.HIKING AND BUSHWALKING

  • 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)
Sea to Summit Track – the iconic Mount Gower (875 m) can be climbed in about 4 hours

4.BEACHES

  • 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 snorkelling
Lagoon Bech provides calm, shallow waters perfect for swimming and snorkelling

5.MARINE PARKS

  • 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
Balls Pyramid is well-known among sailors and yachters

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. (via Qantas)

For all flights check out www.momondo.com or www.skyscanner.com

Aerial view of Lord Howe Island, Australia

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Eva Bodova

Eva Bodova

Thursday 15 August 2019

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