"Shh, it’s a subtropical paradise!" Lord Howe Island by tiabunna
Lord Howe Island Travel Guide: 23 reviews and 40 photos
Lord Howe Island has the world’s most southerly coral reefs, pristine forests, lovely beaches, striking landscapes – and, incredibily, it’s only two hours flying from Sydney or Brisbane. Not much noise is made about Lord Howe Island, because it suits eveyone concerned to keep it quiet. And ‘quiet’ is the operative word – this is not where you’ll find bright lights!
Lord Howe popped out of the ocean 7 million years ago through volcanic activity and subsequently developed a range of exotic endemic wildlife, from ground-dwelling birds (how did they get there?) to a giant stick insect. It was not discovered until February 1788, when sighted by Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball from the HMS Supply, en-route from Sydney to Norfolk Island. It is about 11km long and 3km at the widest, and is situated at about 30degrees south, some 750km to the north east of Sydney. A 6km long coral reef fringes the western side, creating a sheltered lagoon. To the south it is dominated by the twin peaks of Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower, while much of the northen end also is hilly.
The island was first settled in the mid-1800s and now has a permanent population of several hundred. Access was only by the occasional supply ship until 1946, when a regular flying boat service commenced. That operated until 1974 when a small airstrip was built (with quite some controversy). At that time, this was the last regular air service in the world still operated by flying boats.
Lord Howe is administered by a Board, itself responsible to the NSW National Parks Department. Land tenure is strictly limited and tourist numbers are limited to a maximum of 400. The island was given World Heritage List status in 1982. Should you visit, It is guaranteed that you will not be battling crowds and nobody is in a hurry to change that! Staying on Lord Howe is not inexpensive, but no longer affordable only by the well-heeled who have always used it as a quiet hide-away.
I visited on one of the last flying boat trips. In 1974 I worked in the Australian Environment Department and was seeking a site for the planned Baseline Air Pollution Monitoring station (later built in Tasmania). Meanwhile, reports came in that the airport construction works were damaging the island’s coral lagoon. The flying boats were being sold and their last scheduled trip had passed, so the Department chartered one specially for an inspection visit – and I was offered a spare seat.
Although my visit was extended, as you will read later, my visit was in winter and sadly the weather was mostly grey and unwelcoming: which shows in my photos. To see Lord Howe Island at its best (and for more information), go to this website.
Suggestion: start reading the tips from the “General” section.
- Pros:The antidote to big cities, bright lights, crowds and resorts
- Cons:Still not an inexpensive stay, otherwise near perfect
- In a nutshell:It’s hard to think of anywhere better.
We had to wait five days before the other flying boat Islander, a converted ex-RNZAF Sunderland, could be refitted to... more travel advice
This vertical-sided sawtooth shaped rock rises 522 metres sheer from the ocean. It is about 25km from Lord Howe Island... more travel advice
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