A bit of everything
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.