Mountains meet a coral reef at one of nature’s wonderlands
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.
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.
PADDLE THIS WAY: Take a scenic kayak at Lagoon Beach on Lord Howe Island with Mount Gower as the backdrop.