Imagine a paradise island. A place where you can snorkel, scuba dive, climb mountains, have your choice of beaches, swim with turtles and hand feed the fish. A place without traffic jams, pollution and wifi. Imagine a place where you can get away from it all. Seems to good to be true? It isn’t. It’s Lord Howe Island, a world heritage site where you can immerse yourself in spectacular surroundings and experience some of the world’s best day hikes, surf some of Australia’s least crowded waves, and see unspoiled coral reef. What’s more, Lord Howe Island is just a short two hour flight from Sydney, making it the perfect getaway from the city.
Lord Howe Island is a world away from the city hustle and bustle. With only 400 tourists allowed on the island at any one time, it’s a reminder of more innocent times when doors weren’t locked, honesty boxes were the rule and cars gave way to bicycles. Life on Lord Howe Island is relaxed and unhurried. There is no mobile phone reception, the island’s motor vehicles are restricted to 25km/h and bicycles are the main mode of transport. There are no high rise buildings and no power or telephone lines to spoil the view. While Lord Howe Island is steeped in tradition, it still enjoys contemporary luxuries like great coffee, alfresco dining and spas - the perfect fusion of old treasures and new delights.
What to do
There is something for everyone on the island. Adventure seekers can follow in David Attenborough’s footsteps and climb Mt Gower. Standing tall at 875 metres, Mt. Gower is Lord Howe Island’s highest mountain. It’s rated as one of Australia’s best day walks. The Mt. Gower hike is a challenging eight hour return trek, complete with rope-assisted climbs and dizzying drops. But once you are standing atop Gower’s iconic peak, amongst its misty forest inhabited by the island’s famous woodhens, you will experience breathtaking 360 degree views of the island and its crystal blue waters.
If hiking isn’t your thing, you can enjoy the wonderful waters and beaches of Lord Howe Island. At Ned’s beach snorkel the calm waters of the lagoon above colourful coral. Use the masks, fins and snorkels stored there for the cost of a contribution to the ‘honesty box’. For those who prefer to go a little deeper, Lord Howe Island’s abundant marine life and crystal-clear waters attract divers from around the world to some of the best diving on the planet. The underwater topography of trenches, caves and volcanic drop offs give an awe-inspiring diving experience.
Where to stay
There are just 400 tourist beds on Lord Howe Island, which is part of what makes it so special. Choose from lodges to guesthouses, self-contained apartments and luxury spas, a full list of options are available on the Lord Howe Island website (http://www.lordhoweisland.info/). Many of the accommodation also offers transfers to and from the airport, outdoor BBQs and the some owners will even give a tour of the island.
What to eat
Foodies will not be disappointed by Lord Howe Island’s culinary delights. The island offers the best of home-style and contemporary cuisine – from home-baked roast dinners and ‘fish fries’ to sophisticated menus featuring internationally inspired cuisine and the finest dining. Every visitor to the island must try the local freshly caught kingfish, it is a fixture on almost every menu and once you try it you will understand why.
So make Lord Howe Island your next getaway. Summer or winter, a visit to the island is an unforgettable experience. QantasLink offers year-round scheduled services to Lord Howe Island departing from Sydney on most days. A seasonal weekly service to the Island is also available direct from Port Macquarie from February to June and September to December. There are connecting services with Qantas from all Australian capital cities and with QantasLink from many regional centres.