Lord Howe Island: a nature-lover’s paradise
From adventurous walks to stunning snorkels, Lord Howe Island is the ideal exotic escape for anyone wanting a diverse array of astonishing natural scenery and activities. It is the ideal vacation locale for venturesome Aussies looking to travel, quite literally, outside the 'normal' Australia.
Lord Howe Island facts
Lord Howe Island is a multi-award winning, World Heritage-listed paradise less than a two-hour flight from Sydney and Brisbane. It is located 600km from Australia’s east coast and is an unincorporated area of New South Wales. Although it is part of the electoral district of Port Macquarie, it is self-governed by the Lord Howe Island Board.
Lord Howe Island has just 350 permanent residents and allows only 400 tourists to visit at any one time. As well as regular flights from Sydney (weekdays) and Brisbane (weekends), QantasLink also offers a seasonal Saturday service from Port Macquarie (September to end of May in 2016/17).
Get up close to the colourful fish in the reefs around Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island enjoys consistently warm weather, with average maximum temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius in summer, dropping to an average of 19 degrees in winter.
The island is a truly unique and refreshing getaway as it is beyond the reach of mobile phones and other technologies, forcing you to evade civilisation and immerse yourself in the unspoiled natural landscape. The island features all basic amenities such as a hospital, shops, post office, churches and public phones. One of the most refreshing elements is that you can walk or cycle everywhere around the island. There are also a limited number of cars available for hire if the situation calls for it.
It is incredibly safe for people of all ages, including children on account of the lack of snakes or stingers and the island-wide speed limit of 25km/h.
Imagine playing a round of golf with this view!
The real attractions of Lord Howe Island are its pristine forests and coastlines, as well as the abundant native wildlife. The island is a remnant of a now-extinct shield volcano dating back seven million years. And remarkably, 87% of the original native vegetation remains on the unique isle.
It is home to 241 species of indigenous plants, almost half of which are not found anywhere else in the world. On top of the 500 fish species, 1600 terrestrial insect species and 90 coral species, more seabirds breed in higher numbers on Lord Howe than anywhere else in the world.
How to plan a trip to Lord Howe
In terms of organising your trip, there are a range of travel operators who organise travel, accommodation and tours to Lord Howe Island. It is easiest and cheapest to organise the trip as part of a package or bundle, as your accommodation provider will then pick you up from the airport and help you arrange activities once on the island.
Take a walk through the lush rainforests of Lord Howe Island
Real traveller's tips
Gold Coast resident Heather Mayr recently did a trip to Lord Howe Island with her 78-year-old mother and 55-year-old sister and husband. Her biggest piece of advice for anyone travelling to Lord Howe Island is to be flexible. When planning tours she suggests that you simply register your interest, and then you will be notified (the night before or the morning of) as to whether the trip will go ahead.
“Many of the tours and activities operate subject to weather conditions, which are very changeable – so don’t go there with a set itinerary. You need to be flexible and jump at opportunities when they come up.”
Take a dip in the crystal clear waters of Lord Howe Island
Keeping this changeable weather in mind, Heather also recommended taking out travel insurance as the flights can often be cancelled. Below are Heather’s top recommended activities for anyone travelling to Lord Howe Island.
Top 5 activities on Lord Howe Island
1. Bushwalk to a mountaintop for breathtaking 360-degree views
Challenge yourself with the eight-hour return trek to the tallest peak (875m), Mt Gower. This stunning walk features a misty alpine forest, thrilling, rope-assisted climbs and unparalleled views of the surrounding coastline and bushland. Alternatively, if you are looking for a less demanding stroll, you could opt for the one-hour walk to Transit Hill, which also offers stunning 360-degree views of the island.
2. Snorkelling at Ned’s Beach
Snorkelling is one of the best ways to observe the phenomenal marine life of Lord Howe Island. Wade through the crystal blue water, watch as schools of colourful fish flock to your side as you hand-feed the fascinating little creatures and enjoy the mesmerising kaleidoscope of colours of the fish and coral reef – the southernmost coral reef on the planet.
3. Turtle tour in a glass-bottom boat
A glass-bottom boat is one of the most authentic and awe-inspiring experiences, allowing you to witness turtles and other phenomenal marine life in their natural habitat.
Head for a kayak on the beautiful waters of the Island
4. Fishing charter or boat tour circumnavigating the island
A boat tour provides you the chance to explore the 551-metre Ball’s Pyramid, the world’s tallest sea-stack. You can also go fishing, and spot birds, fish and even dolphins.
5. Surfing at Blinky Beach
Blinky Beach is a pristine location offering some of the most secluded surfing opportunities in the country. It is also a perfect location for a fishing trip or a relaxing picnic.
Other popular activities on Lord Howe Island include golfing with one of the most stunning views in the country, scuba diving among the diverse marine wildlife, kayaking, paddle boarding, bird watching and a myriad of other tours and natural experiences.
For more information, contact WYZA Travel here or call 1300 50 50 97.
Have you travelled to Lord Howe Island and have some other great tips or activities for people to try? Let us know in the comments below.