Hit the road: Natural seclusion on Lord Howe Island

Famous for aquatic adventures… Lord Howe Island. Image: Shutterstock.

Petrels and shearwaters, herons and owls — the scope of birdlife on Lord Howe mean the skies of this small island, off Australia’s east coast, never stay empty for long. A diverse range of butterflies, a spectacular underwater menagerie and an oddball giant snail add to the island’s unique fauna.

The crescent-shaped landmass is around ten kilometres long and home to a human population of
less than 350 permanent residents, lending a castaway feel that is the pride of the local population. For visitors, the sight of rugged green mountains stretching down to a clear coral reef make a staggering first impression from the air (access to the island is only possible by plane, unless you charter your own yacht).

Jutting from the ocean to the southeast is the pillar of Ball’s Pyramid. Like the island itself, this rocky outcrop is a relic of volcanic activity; the eroded remains of an ancient shield volcano.

Oceanic adventures are Lord Howe’s prime attraction. Snorkelling and diving in the world’s southernmost reef is enhanced by the unusual variety of large fish such as kingfish and yellowfin tuna. Surfing, swimming and relaxing around the pristine beaches is equally rewarding, while those yet to grow sea legs can tackle one or more of the many available hiking tracks.

Visitor access to Lord Howe Island is restricted to 400 at any one time in order to preserve the local ecosystem — a precious luxury among the many well-trodden tourist destinations around today.

Getting there: QantasLink flies from Sydney to Lord Howe Island several times a week.

Getting around: Bikes, cars, kayaks and boats are all available to hire from various outlets on the island.

Where to stay: Booking ahead is thoroughly recommended due to the limit of 400 visitors on the island at any time. There are many fine accommodation options; see www.lordhoweisland.info for more information.

What to take: Be prepared for both land and sea adventures, and pack some warmer clothing. Even in the summer, the weather can be mild.

Find out more: For more details visit www.lordhoweisland.info

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