From luxurious suites with private hot tubs to comfy, conveniently located budget apartments, the range of accommodation options on Lord Howe Island might surprise you.
With its dramatic volcanic landscapes, lush vegetation and impossibly clear waters, Lord Howe is a tropical island paradise. And better still, you’ll only ever have to share this UNESCO World Heritage site with 400 other visitors, max.
Though the island has a reputation as pricey and exclusive, there’s a surprising number of more economical options to be had too. Just beware that some of the budget options don’t include wi-fi as standard, but almost every property includes airport transfers and evening shuttles to restaurants as standard.
This budget accommodation option wins rave reviews for its location, walking distance from almost everything you could need: Ned’s Beach, Lagoon Beach, plus a number of local restaurants and shops. Set amid subtropical palm groves, hibiscus and frangipani flowers, the self-catering Somerset Apartments can accommodate up to six: choose from five different unit types to suit the size of your party. Facilities are limited (there are gas barbecues for guests, plus a coin-operated laundry and a small library with a selection of books and magazines) and the interiors are a touch dated, but the reward is a cheap sleep in paradise.
Clean, comfy and located 20 minutes’ walk from the main town centre, the apartments at Beachcomber Lodge tick a few boxes. And with the Payten family as your hosts, you’re sure to feel right at home. Nuzzled within five acres of grounds, the lodge itself also represents a piece of island history; it’s one of the island’s original homesteads, though it has, of course, since been restored. There are six self-contained apartments on site – some studios, some one-bedroom apartments – plus a family cottage. Each has its own verandah and a bright and airy feel.
Blue Lagoon Lodge
A three-star lodge, Blue Lagoon has more facilities than your average entry-level accommodation option, delivering pretty decent value for money. Think an all-weather tennis court, a games room with billiards and table tennis, undercover gas barbecues, plus bicycle hire and a laundry. Run by the Thompson family, these apartments also happen to be on the same plot of land as Thompson’s General Store – a spot renowned for its lunchtime burgers.
Much more modern than most other self-catering options in the same price bracket, all the units at Ebbtide Apartments feature timber flooring, white walls, and plantation shutters in the bedrooms. Each of the three garden units boasts its own private barbecue and garden area, while the Admiralty View unit offers views of the eponymous neighbouring isles, and the more spacious cottage has room for a family of four with a timber deck.
The other distinguishing feature of this property is its location, atop a hill some 900 metres away from the island’s main strip of shops and restaurants. It’s ideal for those seeking to dial up the tranquility a notch, but perhaps less suited to those with limited mobility or different access needs.
A small eco-retreat located just behind Old Settlement Beach in among a banyan tree forest, Arajilla has long been known as one of Lord Howe’s finest properties. There are just 12 suites to pick from, all dressed in neutral shades and each with its own private timber deck. Travellers looking for a little more space and privacy should book the Blue Peter Beach House, which sleeps two.
Beyond the beautiful lodgings, it’s the inclusions that keep guests coming back for more. A stay at Arajilla includes a gourmet breakfast, a light lunch, tea and coffee, pre-dinner canapes, a three-course dinner at the property’s fine-dining restaurant, all non-alcoholic drinks, plus selected alcoholic drinks each evening, not to mention a daily turndown service, bicycles, light fishing gear, snorkelling equipment and wi-fi.
Bowker Beach House
Enveloped in native forest, this private beach house is the ultimate bolthole. If escaping to the shores of Lord Howe Island and spending some quality alone time with your significant other (and maybe a good book) is on the agenda, then consider Bowker Beach House. Tucked away in native forest on the western side of the island (hello sunsets) Bowker promises plenty of considered outdoor space as well as beautiful interiors.
The property’s timber king-size bed was made by local craftsmen, you’ll find Molton Brown toiletries in the bathroom, his and hers dressing gowns in the bedroom, and wine, champagne and gourmet nibbles in the kitchen. Outside, enjoy hammocks on a tree-enclosed timber platform, a rain shower for washing away the day, plus handmade racks housing a pair of McTavish surfboards as well as two standup paddleboards (all included in the tariff).
Five-star Capella Lodge is arguably the cream of the crop on the island, and an investment well-spent if your budget can stretch that far (the lead-in room rate is approximately $900). Part of the Baillie Lodges collection, the property’s nine guest suites are all individually designed and showcase different views and features: some have palm-shaded decks with hot tubs, others wrap-around verandahs. The crowning glory of barefoot luxury Capella is its startling views over Mounts Gower and Lidgbird, which you can seek out from the infinity plunge pool, or the lodge bar and restaurant, with its double-height floor-to-ceiling windows.
With its ‘grazing table’ lunches, weekly cooking class, and multitude of shared social spaces, Pinetrees takes the trophy for most welcoming, laid-back yet luxurious spot on the island. Activity here often centres around the lodge’s boatshed deck right next to Lagoon Beach: a plum spot for sundowners or morning yoga. We also love how the owners encourage you to get out and about by offering picnic packs, or gourmet barbecue hampers with an Esky full of drinks, that they’ll drop at any one of the ten wood-fired barbecue spots around the island.
For more great travel tips read our Ultimate guide to Lord Howe Island holidays