Lord Howe Island is one of those places that actually lives up to its marketing spiel. While the word ‘paradise’ gets thrown about rather casually and a bit too often, the unspoiled natural beauty of this Aussie island makes it an alluring travel destination. With its forest-covered volcanic peaks jutting out of an aquamarine sea, perfect white-sand beaches and pristine coral reef, this half-moon island is often referred to as Australia’s answer to Tahiti.
Laidback and exclusive
Beyond its obvious visual appeal, Lord Howe’s main drawcard is its ability to deliver a genuine experience. The island is home to only around 350 residents and the number of visitors allowed on its shores at any one time is restricted to 400. So there you have it: no big crowds and no big tour groups.
The island’s locals are happy and approachable, always ready for a chat and to offer a suggestion or two. The majority of the businesses on the island are family-run so there is a warm and welcoming feel. This friendly atmosphere extends to the weather too, with Lord Howe enjoying a moderate climate and balmy highs of around 25 degrees.
Embrace the slow pace of holiday living and hire a bike. With very slow car speed limits (25km/h), cycling is the best, and most fun way to get around.
Secluded beaches speckle the coastline of Lord Howe Island, so you can take your pick depending on what you feel like doing. For an unforgettable experience head to Ned’s Beach to snorkel and swim with an abundance of fish. You can hire a snorkel, mask and fins at the beach, simply leave your contribution in the honesty box. There is colourful coral to be explored in the water close to shore. The sheltered waters of this pretty lagoon are perfect for families with kids in tow. For those after a bit of surf, head to Blinky Beach where keen boarders can experience what the locals have dubbed ‘Champagne Surf’.
Pure marine wonderland
This World Heritage-listed island boasts an extensive barrier coral reef, the southernmost on the planet. Glass-bottomed boat tours glide over pristine waters to take in the spectacular marine life. You can go on a safari to spot huge, gentle turtles or visit one of the island’s dive centres to learn about the scuba diving sites scattered off the idyllic coast. There are water activities to suit everyone’s tastes, from fishing and windsurfing to kayaking.
Take a hike
What better way to take in Lord Howe Island’s natural beauty than with a walk to one of its peaks. Mount Gower is the island’s highest mountain and the challenging eight-hour return trek to its summit and back involves rope-assisted climbs, not to mention vertigo-inducing drops. Alternatively, the Malabar hike is an easier two-hour return trip with unforgettable panoramic views encompassing the dramatic volcanic peaks of Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower to the south and the Admiralty Islands to the north.
A unique getaway
Unlike mainland Australia, Lord Howe Island has hardly any snakes or spiders, instead you’ll find an interesting range of endemic plant and animal species.
Unwind, take in a rocky volcanic view, watch the sunset and immerse yourself in the luxurious slow pace of island life. To find out more about an idyllic trip to ‘The Last Paradise’ speak to Escape Travel http://www.escapetravel.com.au/holidays/lord-howe-island
Author: Becky Hillard is an expat living in Australia; she loves the laidback lifestyle and amazing weather in Queensland.