Lord Howe Island Overview
- Peaks, palms and pristine beaches
- Coast life
- The life aquatic
With its soaring volcanic peaks, turquoise lagoon, unspoilt beaches and rare plants, birds and marine life, ruggedly beautiful eco-retreat Lord Howe Island should bring out your inner David Attenborough.
This crescent-shaped South Pacific sanctuary, 700 kilometres north east of Sydney, is only 11 kilometres long, 2.8 wide and is bordered by the world’s most southerly reef. With just 350 locals, and visitor numbers restricted to 400 at any one time, you’re almost guaranteed to have one of its seductive beaches all to yourself. So whether you’re into swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving, or more mellow boating, birdwatching and bushwalking, this subtropical paradise should feel like your own personal Garden of Eden.
Literally Lord Howe Island
One of only four island groups possessing World Heritage status for the global significance of its natural beauty, flora and fauna, Lord Howe Island’s dramatically diverse landscape is home to many indigenous species of bird, marine and plant life. Hundreds of thousands of migratory sea birds nest here and on nearby Ball’s Pyramid, the tallest sea stack in the world.
- There are no cabs on Lord Howe, and not many regular cars, but your hotel can help with transport (most offer airport transfers). Packing tips Binoculars for close-ups of rare birds, hiking gear, and a pair of old trainers for reef-walking.
- Tipping culture
- Tipping is not expected but 10 per cent is acceptable if you have received good service.
- Siesta and fiesta
- There are only a handful of shops and eateries on the island, all of which keep their own, idiosyncratic opening hours. There are two banks but no ATMs.
- Packing tips
- Binoculars for close-ups of rare birds, hiking gear, and a pair of Crocs, or old trainers, for reef-walking.
- Recommended reads
- Ian Hutton, a local naturalist, has written several books including Birds of Lord Howe Island Past and Present, Rambler’s Lord Howe Island, Marine Life of Lord Howe Island and The Australian Geographic Book of Lord Howe Island, which cover all of those geeky eco questions.
- Freshly caught local fish graces plates here, especially lip-smackingly tasty kingfish, and be sure to have a barbecue on one of the many blissful beaches. Due to the island’s remote location and limited agricultural land, most food arrives by ferry from the Australian mainland once a week, which can make it pricey. A small amount of vegetables and fruit is grown locally and there are some beef cattle.
- Australian Dollar (AU$).
- Time zone
- GMT+ 10.30.
- Dialling codes
- Australia: +61; New South Wales: (0)2 (drop 0 if calling from overseas). Mobile phones do not work on Lord Howe Island.
- Do go/don't go
- September to May has the best beach weather, with water temperatures hitting 25 degrees from February to April; cooler days from June to August attract hikers and an older crowd. Lord Howe Island has a perpetual spring climate, though, so any season is a good time to visit.
Don't go home without...
spotting endemic species such as the Lord Howe woodhen, a flightless bird saved from extinction and not found anywhere else in the world.