A bit of every­thing

Holiday with Kids - - Travel With Teens -

Our fam­ily of four started each day with a pre-break­fast cy­cle along the palm- and pine-lined road to one of the 12 nearby beaches for a swim. Over a hearty break­fast at the newly re­fur­bished Pine­trees – which is manned by hat­ted chefs and su­per-friendly staff – we planned our daily ad­ven­tures.

We vis­ited the Ocean View Boat Shed to try our hand at kayak­ing and stand-up pad­dle­board­ing on the la­goon be­fore Pine­trees de­liv­ered us an esky of meat and lo­cal king­fish to fry up on a beach­side bar­be­cue for lunch (a ser­vice free to guests). The next day we ex­plored by foot and snorkelled the less-vis­ited la­goon at North Bay with na­ture ex­pert, Pete, from Is­lan­der Cruises, and watched en­thralled in a glass-bot­tomed boat as gi­ant but too- cute sea tur­tles swam below us. On an­other day we were in the south of the impossibly blue la­goon with for­mer park ranger, Dean, from Lord Howe En­vi­ron­men­tal Tours. The eye- daz­zling reefs and marine life are among the best I’ve ever seen and the beauty of Lord Howe is that you ex­pe­ri­ence it with just a dozen snorkellers, min­utes from the beach.

Among these ad­ven­tures, we walked to stun­ning look­outs, lazed on beaches and gath­ered for sun­set drinks to en­joy spec­tac­u­lar views of the is­land’s Jurassic-like moun­tains, Gower and Lidg­bird, tow­er­ing over the la­goon.

In­spired, my teenage girl Ser­ena and I de­cided to climb the tallest peak, 875-me­tre­high Gower, rated as one of Aus­tralia’s best but most chal­leng­ing day walks. Vis­i­tors need to climb with a lo­cal guide so Dean from Lord Howe En­vi­ron­men­tal Tours takes us up, with count­less ropes fixed to rocks as­sist­ing the near-ver­ti­cal as­cent to the rare, for­est mist cloak­ing the sum­mit. The moun­tain-top vista makes the four-hour climb worth­while and it’s a shared ex­pe­ri­ence Ser­ena and I will trea­sure.

On our last night on the is­land my wife, Moira, our al­most- grown-up daugh­ters and I gath­ered to toast the sun­set and our best- ever hol­i­day with re­fresh­ments at Pine­trees’ boat­shed. It came as no sur­prise to hear from so many of our fel­low guests that they have vis­ited Lord Howe up to 20 times, start­ing as kids and now bring­ing their adult chil­dren and grand­kids with them. It’s a heart-warm­ing hol­i­day tra­di­tion we’d love to fol­low.

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