JOIN MOTHER NATURE’S VIP LIST
Alittle-known island off Australia’s east coast that is only accessed by air and was once described by Sir David Attenborough as “so extraordinary, it is almost unbelievable” conjures images of a magical Jurassic landscape. Here, the twin peaks of Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower preside over a 6km lagoon and the world’s most southerly coral reef.
Almost half of the island’s native plants are found nowhere else on Earth. In the air, hundreds of thousands of seabirds flock to nest on this protected paradise each year. And adding to Lord Howe Island’s allure is the fact it is only open to 400 lucky guests at once.
This is Mother Nature’s VIP list, but accessing it is easy – it’s less than a two-hour flight from Brisbane or Sydney.
Lord Howe Island Tourism Association executive officer Trina Shepherd says: “A lot of people don’t know this part of Australia and that it’s World Heritage listed.
“Every time I go, I am just absolutely blown away by the scenery ... it’s somewhere you’ll never get tired of the view, even if you’re just sitting and looking out with a glass of wine.”
Given its topography and the fact two-thirds of of the island is protected park reserve, its not surprising that lord Howe is riddle with wailking tracks, but ine hike in particular has shone an even brighter spotlight ib island of late
The challenging Seven Peaks Walk was welcomed into the Great Walks of Australia portfolio this year with guided his running in autumn (April to May) and spring (September to November).
But you don’t have to be a hiker or twitcher to enjoy a stay on Lord Howe. With a variety of accommodation options – from familyfriendly apartments to Pinetrees Lodge, rated the best hotel in Australia, according to the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards – Shepherd says visitors from all walks of life love this idyllic isle.
“A lot of people go there whose parents used to go there when they were little, and whose grandparents went there,” she says. “It’s got a special place in the heart of families.”
The island sings out to snorkellers and divers, photographers and honeymooners, while kitesurfing is a recent addition to the tranquil scene.
WHEN TO VISIT
“For most of the year, the island is at capacity, believe it or not, with the exception of the winter period,” Shepherd says.
“But even winter is becoming more popular because the climate is quite mild and the surrounds are just so beautiful for exploring and hiking anyway.
“If you’re looking for a particular activity like kitesurfing or kayaking, it’s best to travel outside the winter period, and also check that the activity you’re seeking to do is actually operating. Contact the Visitor Information Centre or go on to the website and check it out.”
WHEN TO BOOK
Much like trying to score tickets to an Adele concert, you need to plan ahead. If you intend to visit in the peak season – between mid-December and the end of March – it’s recommended that you book eight to 12 months in advance.
For the shoulder season, running from October to mid-December and April to mid-May, four to six months ahead should be fine. Between mid-May to September, Shepherd says: “If you have no preference on accommodation, then it’s not necessary to book in advance.”
Take the challenging Seven Peaks Walk on Lord Howe Island to experience the magnificent scenery.