LORD HOWE ISLAND
Lord Howe Island Marine Park is internationally significant, with the world’s southernmost coral reef and the only fringing coral reef lagoon in NSW. The convergence of warm and cool waters results in a unique mix of temperate and tropical species, many of which can be seen in clear waters close to shore. Visitor can swim, dive, snorkel and kayak amongst colourful marine life, enjoy fishing from shore or on a charter boat and simply relax on pristine sandy beaches.
Located approximately 700 kilometres from Sydney, Lord Howe Island Marine Park is a multiple-use marine park that caters for many different recreational and commercial activities. The park protects marine biodiversity and areas of ecological and cultural importance and provides for sustainable recreational and commercial activities. Visitors from around the world visit the marine park to dive, swim, snorkel, fish and holiday.
HOW TO GET THERE
Qantaslink flies most days from Sydney, and from Brisbane on the weekends, throughout the year. There’s also a seasonal service direct from Port Macquarie weekly from February to June and September to December. You can sail to Lord Howe and moor on the lagoon but you need to contact the Lord Howe Island Board before your arrival and apply for a public mooring.
Enjoy a gourmet getaway
Being away from mainland Australia means the residents of Lord Howe Island must use their natural resources to supplement the fortnightly deliveries they receive. You’ll see locals’ vegie patches as you walk the island, and kingfish and other wild seafood abounds here. Since 1848, six generations of the Rourke family have run Pinetrees Lodge, known for its gourmet food offerings, including a legendary weekly Fish Fry night, and sunset viewing platform, complete with honesty bar. Capella Lodge is a five-star luxury haven with a seasonal menu to match – enjoy sunset drinks and canapes with point-blank views of Mount Gower from the terrace. Arajilla Retreat combines gourmet food, including produce from its kitchen garden alongside line-caught fish, with Ayurvedic spa treatments in a timber yurt.
Admire the scenery on foot
Get to know the island by walking some its many tracks. They range from a simple walk on the beach to a day hike – all abilities are catered for. A good intermediate challenge is Kims Lookout and Malabar Hill. Starting at Settlement Beach, you’ll hike up to Kims Lookout, enjoying the most incredible views back down the island, then move across Malabar Hill where you will see Balls Pyramid. It’s a natural obelisk, soaring 551 metres (1807 feet) from the ocean. Finish your walk at Neds Beach with a swim and a barbecue. Some hotels will even organise a picnic drop-off for you. You can buy a portion of fish food in the beach hut nearby and feed the jostling wrasse, silver drummer, garfish, spangled emperor and metre-long kingfish that visit the Neds Beach Sanctuary Zone.
Hike Mount Gower
If you’re fit and up for some adventure, walking to the summit of Mount Gower should be on your list. The 14 kilometre (8.7 mile) return hike takes about 8.5 hours to walk and must be undertaken with a registered guide, of which there are just two. Jack Shick is the more experienced guide on Lord Howe Island, having summited more than 1800 times. Alternatively, Dean Hiscox was the ranger on Lord Howe Island for 16 years and now shares his extensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna on his tours. Meander to Transit Hill for panoramic views over the island or walk further to Blinky Beach, loved by locals for its “Champagne surf”.
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Looking for more travel ideas? Try Best Attractions in Sydney