Australia

HOWE GOOD

HOWE GOOD

Nine things you didn't know about Lord Howe Island, Australia's secret paradise.

You’d be forgiven for not knowing much about Lord Howe Island. No one even knew it existed (according to Western history books) until 1788, when European settlers became the first known people to set foot on the island.

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Nowadays it's a protected, pristine (UNESCO World Heritage Site, whattuppp) haven for wildlife and nature; a prime example of what the natural world could look like when it's preserved in its incredible integrity.

Lord Howe has long been one of Australia's best kept secrets, and we're going to let you in on it right now. Without further ado, here's nine things you probably don't know about Lord Howe and all the reasons why you should get there stat:

1. IT'S ACTUALLY SUPER EASY TO GET THERE

If you look Lord Howe Island up on a geopolitical map, you’ll find it is a part of New South Wales, an eastern Australian state.

But really, Lord Howe is out there existing on its own, just chilling, completely isolated in the Tasman Sea, about 700km northeast of Sydney as the crow (and plane) flies. While isolated, the flight time from mainland Australia clocks in at only two-hours. Making it unheralded but also accessible.

2. ONLY 400 PEOPLE ARE ALLOWED ONTO THE ISLAND

The official population of Lord Howe, at any given time, sits somewhere around 380 people.

From there, a maximum of 400 travellers are allowed onto the island. This rule is in place to keep the rainforests pristine, the reefs and oceans clean, and the animals undisturbed. The best part? If you do make it to Lord Howe, you’ll feel like you have it all to yourself.

3. LORD HOWE IS AUSTRALIA'S VERY OWN GALAPAGOS

Ever laid eyes on a Dryococelus? How about a double-headed wrasse? Or a Lord Howe woodhen? No, we bet ya haven’t because these creatures are endemic to Lord Howe Island.

That means you can find them on Lord Howe and Lord Howe only. The island has proven to be a spectacular environment for living creatures in the air, on the ground and in the water, and rivals the famous Galapagos Islands in terms of its unique biodiversity.

4. THERE'S TROPICAL LUXURY...

Built in an architectural style that's reminiscent of the luxury homes you might find along Victoria's Great Ocean Road, Capella Lodge is relaxed, charming and the epitome of coastal cool. You'd expect nothing less from a Luxury Lodge of Australia.

There are nine suites (all of equally stunning beauty, much like the island) with epic views. But we reckon the best vista might be from Capella's all-time swimming pool, which wouldn’t look out of place in our Hot 5 this issue.

5. ...AND AFFORDABILITY TOO

Your pockets don’t have to be as deep as the Tasman Sea to stay somewhere stunning on Lord Howe.

Nestled in quiet spot amongst a grove of Banyan trees are Milky Way Villas, right around the corner from the secluded Old Settlement Beach. The villas are comfortable and affordable, and allow your focus to stick to the important – like having turtles and fish of every colour swimming a minute from your front door.

 

 

6. THERE'S NO MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE

It’s one thing to encourage people to stay off their phones, and it’s quite another thing entirely to go to an island where there is no phone reception at all.

If it’s a digital detox you’re after, say no more fam. There’s also very little internet, meaning less dings and buzzing, and more feeling close to mother nature and your travelling companions. We’ll let you decide which relationship is more important to you.

7. YOU PROBABLY ALREADY KNEW THIS, BUT WE'RE GOING TO TELL YOU ANYWAY: THERE ARE WORLD CLASS WATER ACTIVITIES TO EXPERIENCE

Whether you love the water or you are figuratively – and literally – just wanting to dip your toe in, this is the place to do it.

Experienced divers can tackle Balls Pyramid, a legendary diving spot home to the world’s largest sea stack, and the only recreational dive site where you can see Ballina angelfish. While the less experienced can dive or snorkel the reefs closer to shore. And it’s Australia, so there’s surf, obviously – Blinky’s Beach is a ripping spot for uncrowded waves.

8. IT’S A SACRED SITE FOR HIKERS

Lord Howe is a hiker’s mecca, a pilgrimage that must be made at least once in order to experience the extraordinary trails in and around this natural paradise.

Although only 2km wide and 11km long, you can make your way through any number of landscapes in a single hike—rainforests, beaches and, most spectacularly, through caves. Goat House Cave is arguably the best one: a steep climb that leads to a natural volcanic ledge overlooking Lord Howe’s settlement to one side, and Ball's Pyramid on the other. If you're into travelling by foot, it doesn't get much better than this.

9. DON'T WORRY, THERE'S BEER

In fact, there's a few breweries (don't forget we're still in Australia, after all).

The island overcomes obvious proximity challenges to create the unlikeliest of food and drink scenes, punctuated by fresh fish, and delicious beers.

Our pick is Lord Howe Island Brewery, who brew their own beer on the island in a picturesque little brewery, and offer a great place for a well-earned knockoff (only you’re knocking off a mammoth day of island exploring, instead of work).

Get Informed

There is only one mammal on the island—the large forest bat.

Words Tim McGlone

Photos Tim McGlone

Tags: australia, island, lord howe

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