Love coral reefs? Hate crowds? Then Time Out has just the place for you
Discover the full abundance of the reef’s marine life by taking a two-hour Lord Howe Environmental Tour out in the Lagoon in a glass-bottomed boat to Erscott’s Hole. Jump in and observe an undersea wonderland populated by the likes of the doubleheaded wrasse, butterfly fish, silver drummer and hundreds more colourful species, many unique to the island.
Islander Cruises offer a 3.5 hour North Bay Turtle and Nature Tour that takes you to coral reefs and to view the giant turtles who frequent North Bay and Old Settlement Bay. Local nature expert Ian Hutton will introduce the nesting grounds of birds like the sooty tern as well as the island’s world famous kentia palm.
The adventurous may opt for a guided all-day hike to the summit of Mount Gower. A shorter but equally adventurous climb will take you to the Goat House Cave on the side of Mount Lidgbird where the views are incredible. On the north side of Lord Howe the peaks at Kim’s Lookout and Malabar Hill offer panoramic vistas of the island and the chance to see many seabirds.
When you’ve done these and some of the island’s shorter walks you may be ready for a boat expedition to Balls Pyramid, a 550m mountain of grey basalt that soars out of the ocean 23km south of Lord Howe. It’s twice the height of Sydney Tower and a superb site for fishing and snorkelling.
The island’s premier luxury resort is Capella Lodge, where all rooms are kitted out in designer fittings and furnishings and command jaw-dropping views of Mounts Lidgbird, Mount Gower and the turquoise ocean. Breakfast and three-course dinner is included in the tariff and Capella’s day spa offers facials, massages and foot treatments to weary hikers. The ambience may be luxe but the welcome is down to earth, with a maximum of 18 pampered guests. The two-level Lidgbird Pavilion includes private pool, outdoor bath, panoramic views and use of a golf buggy to get around.
Qantaslink operates daily flights from Sydney to Lord Howe Island. Flight time is just under two hours but there is an 18kg luggage restriction. There are weekend flights direct from Brisbane.