Un­spoiled par­adise

Moun­tains meet a coral reef at one of na­ture’s won­der­lands

The Queensland Times - - ESCAPE - More at lord­howeis­land.in­foan­descape.com.au

LORD Howe Is­land con­jures im­ages of a mag­i­cal Juras­sic land­scape.

Here, the twin peaks of Mt Lidg­bird and Mt Gower pre­side over a six-kilo­me­tre 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 that it is only open to 400 lucky guests at a time.

This is Mother Na­ture’s VIP list, but get­ting there is easy – it’s less than a two-hour flight from Bris­bane or Syd­ney.

Why visit

Given its to­pog­ra­phy and that two-thirds of the is­land is pro­tected park re­serve, it’s not sur­pris­ing that Lord Howe is rid­dled with walk­ing tracks, but one hike in par­tic­u­lar has shone an even brighter spot­light on the is­land of late.

The chal­leng­ing Seven Peaks Walk has made the Great Walks of Aus­tralia over the years, with guided hikes 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 its va­ri­ety of ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions – from fam­ily-friendly apart­ments to Pine­trees Lodge, pre­vi­ously rated the best ho­tel in Aus­tralia, ac­cord­ing to the Trip Ad­vi­sor Trav­eller’s Choice Awards – vis­i­tors from all walks of life love this idyl­lic isle.

The is­land sings out to snorkellers and divers, pho­tog­ra­phers and hon­ey­moon­ers, while kitesurf­ing is a re­cent ad­di­tion to the tran­quil scene.

When to visit

The is­land is at ca­pac­ity for most of the year, with the ex­cep­tion of the win­ter pe­riod.

But even win­ter is be­com­ing more pop­u­lar be­cause the cli­mate is quite mild and the sur­rounds are per­fect for ex­plor­ing and hik­ing.

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 midDe­cem­ber 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 midDe­cem­ber and April to midMay, four to six months ahead should be fine.

Be­tween mid-May to Sep­tem­ber, if you have no pref­er­ence about ac­com­mo­da­tion, then it’s gen­er­ally not nec­es­sary to book in ad­vance.

Photo: Des­ti­na­tion NSW

PAD­DLE THIS WAY: Take a scenic kayak at La­goon Beach on Lord Howe Is­land with Mount Gower as the back­drop.

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