Lord Howe Island is one of the most awe inspiring destinations in the world, which is why it comes as no surprise that National Geographic named Lord Howe as one of their ‘Places of a Lifetime’.
Situated 660km off the east coast of Australia, this island paradise is home to an abundance of lush forests, pristine beaches, sensational scenery, colorful marine life, and unique biodiversity.
Whether you’re after a romantic getaway, an adventure fueled escape, or a family friendly vacation, the combination of temperate climate, vibrant local community, and world class activities make Lord Howe the destination of choice.
What To See
Hike Mt Gower
The 14km Mt Gower hike is one of the most invigorating day walks in the whole of Australia, allowing you the unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of rare island plants, unrivaled panoramic views, and unusual animal inhabitants such as Woodhens. The trek is as challenging as it is beautiful, taking you past long drops, up steep rope-assisted climbs, and through unmarked wild terrain. All walks up the mountain must be carried out with an experienced island guide to ensure the safety of the walkers and the preservation of the area.
Explore the Island’s Community Markets
For a fun and friendly island experience and a chance to chinwag with the locals, head over to the Lord Howe Island central school on the second Sunday of the month. Here you’ll be able to purchase lots of fresh island produce, handmade arts and crafts, and the famous Lord Howe Island pandanus baskets.
Cave Diving at Ball’s Pyramid
At 551 meters, Ball’s Pyramid is the world’s largest basalt sea stack and the surrounding waters are home to an incredible array of marine life, as well as fascinating underwater caves. Divers at Ball’s Pyramid regularly encounter Amberjack, Rainbow Runners, Ballina angelfish, Marlin, Dolphin, Violet Sweep, and Wahoo in this colorful underwater paradise.
All Corners of The Island Tour
Despite its small size and remote location, Lord Howe Island is full of incredible places to explore, intriguing historic sites, and hidden natural gems, and the best way to discover all of this is by taking a guided tour around the island. The tour guides will take you to locations that you would never stumble across on your own and they will share their in depth knowledge of the island with you as you travel around the picturesque route.
Around Island Cruise
In order to get a unique perspective of Lord Howe Island, take an around the island cruise to see it in all its glory from the sea. You’ll get to see the island like never before, and thanks to the local guide commentary, you’ll learn about its fascinating history and unique ecosystems. For many, the highlight of the two hour cruise is passing the ‘Admiralty Islands’ which are a hotspot for unusual birds.
The Valley of the Shadows
Explore the islands complex forest ecosystems by going on a bushwhacking adventure in The Valley of the Shadows on the east side of the island. Huge banyan trees dominate the skyline and from underneath the canopy you can see an array of strange and wonderful creatures. The banyan trees spread their roots from the branches, creating a huge web towering into the sky.
The dramatic coastline at Malabar Hill is a nesting ground for the red tailed tropicbird, making Malabar Hill the place to go for any bird lovers visiting the island between May and September. Their nesting grounds are located in the cliffs on the north edge of the island, and during mating season, they perform acrobatic courting displays in the skies above. The two hour round hike to this location also takes visitors past some amazing palm forests, up to some of the best 360 degree panoramic views of the island.
A popular location to catch some waves, take a relaxing swim, or discover the underwater marvels with a snorkel, Blinky Beach is a great spot to wind away the day surrounded by dramatic coastal scenery and calm safe waters.
Anyone wishing to get up close and personal with the island’s marine life should definitely make a trip to Neds Beach Sanctuary Zone. This specially protected marine area is a safe haven and feeding ground for a wide variety of marine species including silver drummer, spangled emperor, garfish, mullet, and meter-long kingfish, and visitors can actually hand feed them with special fish food which is distributed at the beach. The sheltered bay is an amazing snorkeling site with incredibly clear waters which are teeming with fish.
Old Settlement Beach
This picturesque spot on the north coast of Lord Howe Island is another great place to kick back in the sun. The views are spectacular, the water is warm and shallow, and there are many meandering walks along the coastline to explore. The beach is a popular location for picnics and bathing, making it one of the more relaxing beaches on the island.
North Bay is a secret sandy paradise which can only be found on foot or by sea. The secluded bay is perfect for a snorkeling adventure as the waters are rich with marine life and the wreckage of Favourite, a ship which has been at the bottom of the bay since 1965. Snorkelers exploring the wreckage regularly see stingrays and turtles as well as hundreds of brightly colored fish and the surrounding intricate coral systems. When you want to put your feet back on dry land, there are some impressive hiking paths leading to the high peaks of Mt Eliza and other equally beautiful viewpoints.
What To Do
Join The Buzzing Atmosphere of Rockfest
Every March Lord Howe Island comes alive with the sounds of its week long rock festival. With an eclectic mix of local and international bands, the island puts on an exciting festival which is full of free concerts and entertainment. The festival has grown year on year, and is now a big part of the island’s social calendar, so if you want to experience this magnificent event, it’s a good idea to book your accommodation nice and early.
Take a Guided Walk and Witness Mesmerizing Wildlife
During the first week of November, the islanders celebrate the amazing birds which inhabit the islands with guided walks, boat trips, lectures, displays, and photography sessions that you can get involved with. Lord Howe Island is home to more than 130 permanent and migratory land birds, and is a breeding ground for 14 sea birds, and is Australia’s top bird watching location.
Attend a Workshop During Lord Howe Island Art Trail Week
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Lord Howe Island during the first week of December, you’ll be able to take part in Art Trail Week, which brings together some of the most talented artists on the island, to showcase their impressive works. Each artist invites visitors into their studio for special showings and workshops that are based around their shared love of Lord Howe. Photography, oil painting, watercolors, dyed textiles, and other mediums are all displayed by specialist artists, and the central theme behind all of the work is island life.
Where To Stay
The Capella Lodge is situated in a secluded seafront location in Lover’s Bay beneath the twin peaks of Mount Gower and Mount Lidgbird, and the contrast of elegant modern chic and stunning natural beauty make this the perfect Lord Howe Island accommodation. The rooms are fitted with state of the art entertainment systems, lavish king sized beds, sleek furnishings, and trendy rainfall showers, creating a high end luxury experience for guests. To top it all off, each suite has breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
As well as the luxe suites, the lodge also boasts an expansive outdoor terrace and infinity pool from where you can relax, unwind, and soak in the spectacular natural ambiance of the Lover’s Bay. After a long day trekking up one of the island’s many mountainous trails, or snorkeling in the crystal clear waters you can return to the lodge and treat yourself to a Capella Spa treatment, complimentary sunset drinks, and a delicious freshly cooked meal in the top notch restaurant.