March 17, 2023
7 mins Read
You don’t expect a lot of company on a 5am walk. A couple of other early risers, maybe? But the scene’s different on Lord Howe Island, where the main population – 130 permanent and migratory bird species – are your chaperones on every walk around this UNESCO World Heritage-listed isle.
It’s not a heart-starter, but the Foreshore Walk along Lagoon Beach is definitely a magical start for the heart. It’s a short 500-metre stroll with a sweet view of Mt Gower; if you’re an early bird, you can meet and greet thousands of white terns then snag freshly baked pastries in town before most people have even left their nests.
On the opposite side of Lagoon Road, Stevens Reserve is home to a lovely 1200-metre loop. From Middle Beach there’s another easy stroll through palm forest to the Clear Place, with a short diversion to the Valley of the Shadows.
At the end of Lagoon Road there’s Little Island walk, a three-kilometre track through forests of ancient banyan trees and Lord Howe’s world-famous kentia palms, which are endemic to the island.
Transit Hill’s name says it all: this track, up to the town’s lookout, has traffic. The good news? You’ll pass half a dozen walkers at most.
You can start opposite the Administration Office or from Blinky Beach, then use your ‘library voice’ if you want to spot some of Lord Howe’s rare birds, like the golden whistler or emerald ground dove. Even if you miss them, the 360-degree view is worth every step.
One other must-see? Sunrise overlooking Ned’s Beach is a scene you’ll have on memory repeat forever.
All walks on Lord Howe have breathtaking views. Add red-tailed tropicbirds to the trail and you’re in extraordinary territory.
The climb up Malabar Hill is a two-hour-return hike along cliffs renowned for being the world’s largest nesting ground of these unique birds – watch for their fabulous tail feathers trailing like party streamers in the breeze.
White terns also love this place and they hover in their thousands, posing fearlessly for photos and Insta reels.
When it’s time to refuel, enjoy a barbecue at Old Settlement Beach, home to resident green and hawksbill sea turtles. You’ll find them close to shore as the tide starts coming in, or hanging out near the coral at Sylph’s Hole, a small sanctuary zone 50 metres from shore.
Bring your own snorkel or join a tour with Islander Cruises or Marine Adventures.
Few know Lord Howe better than Ian Hutton, the resident naturalist, biologist, conservationist, bird expert, museum curator and owner of Lord Howe Nature Tours. You’ve missed an experience if you don’t go walky-talkies with him; there are half and full-day excursions available for all levels.
Looking for something different? Peter and Janine Phillipps from Chase ‘N’ Thyme run guided tours that tell the story of Lord Howe Island from past to present. They’ll pick you up in their bus and take you to some fabulous lookouts.
Meanwhile, Wildside Walks’ Jae De Clouett will customise a walk depending on your interests, covering the island’s history and occupation, photography, birdlife and geology.
Got eight hours and a brave heart? Mt Gower is lauded as one of the most spectacular day hikes in the world. You’ll hike 14 kilometres of rugged terrain, stare down dizzying drops and scramble along rope climbs to get to the top.
It’s 875 metres high and your mountain-top reward is a unique mossy-cloud forest with plants not found anywhere else in the world, great views the length of the island and seabirds galore.
You must climb with a guide from Lord Howe Environmental Tours or Sea to Summit.
You can do the hike to Goat House Cave alone – it’s a five-kilometre round-trip through rainforest on the side of Mt Lidgbird. While steep, it’s the best lunch spot you’ll ever see.
With daily visitor numbers capped at 400, island accommodation is highly sought after and often booked over a year in advance, so plan ahead.
There’s everything from guesthouses and self-contained apartments to exclusive luxury lodges.
If you want to live like the Hemsworths, book Island House; equally beautiful are Capella Lodge and Arajilla Retreat.
Milky Way offers a sweet retreat just a short walk from Old Settlement Beach, where a swim could have you in the company of turtles munching on the beds of seagrass.
For a good meal with an awesome view, Lord Howe Island Golf Club at sunset is a must do – Mt Gower glows and the atmosphere is friendly.
Anchorage Restaurant has renowned chef David Chlumsky cooking freshly caught seafood, while up the road in a jungle of banyan trees Lord Howe Island Brewing Co serves wood-fired pizza, smoked meat rolls and fresh salads (all home-grown) – and, of course, beer, made from endemic species.
In the mood for Southeast Asian-inspired cuisine? Check out the tasty treats at Driftwood Bar & Restaurant.
If you’re not hiking, you’re biking. Cycling is Lord Howe’s main form of transportation; cars are limited to 25 kilometres per hour, so two wheels are often faster than four. Many of the walking tracks are great for bikes too.
The lagoon calls like a siren: swim, snorkel or dive in the world’s most southern coral reef.
You can also swim with the world’s happiest fish at Ned’s Beach, a marine sanctuary where you can hand-feed mullet, wrasse, garfish, silver drummer, spangled emperor and kingfish.
Lord Howe Island is also the only place in Australia where one can see the Galapagos whaler shark. Join Dive Lord Howe to swim with these curious creatures – as a bonus, any photos you take will help scientists collect data for their research.
If staying dry is more your thing, take a half-day boat trip with Reef N Beyond Eco Tours to marvel at Ball’s Pyramid, the world’s tallest sea stack, or stay in the lagoon for a glass-bottomed boat trip with Lord Howe Island Environmental Tours.
Enjoy 10% savings when booking our experience Arkaroola package. Including accommodation, tours, breakfast, and 2-course dinners.View More >
Enjoy a complimentary upgrade from a dinner bed and breakfast rate to an all-inclusive getaway at Spicers Tower Lodge.View More >
George Town in Northeast Tassie is for adventure junkies. Mountain biking, diving — both sky and scuba — fishing, kayaking, surfing, wildlife experiences and more, the Wild Tamar has it all.View More >
Exploring the paradisiacal island of Lord Howe responsibly is easy, given the island is a world leader in sustainability. Here, we list the best thing...
From luxurious suites with private hot tubs to comfy, conveniently located budget apartments, the range of accommodation options on Lord Howe Island m...
Gorge on the freshest locally caught fish, the best daily baked bread and stellar sunsets on this island paradise This tropical, UNESCO World Heritag...
Score: 8.89 In 2012, the youngest American to have ever visited every country in the world, Lee Abbamonte, was asked to write an article reflecting o...
WHERE IS IT? 600km north-east of Sydney, NSW The locals call it “the last paradise”, and Lord Howe certainly does have that South Pacific kin...
For the best travel inspiration delivered straight to your door.
LEAVE YOUR COMMENT