The crescent of the island protects a coral reef and lagoon and the seamount chain extends north for 1000 kilometres. The basalt Mt Lidgbird rises 777 metres and Mt Gower 875 metres. They are the result of lava flows which occurred 6.4 million years ago. Ball’s Pyramid, 23 kilometres south of Lord Howe, is the world’s tallest volcanic stack.
This protected marine reserve is one of Lord Howe’s secret treasures. It was voted Australia’s Cleanest Beach in 2005, and is where you can enjoy marine life by reef walking, beachcombing, snorkelling or feeding the fish. Take along some stale bread crumbs, wade in up to your knees and you will be instantly surrounded by a feeding frenzy. As if by magic, hundreds of hungry fish appear the second the crumbs break the surface. Metre-long kingfish, coloured wrasse, parrot fish and trevally will swam around your ankles. Beware though – they might give you a bit of a nip!
Take a pair of old sneakers with you and enjoy the most fascinating walk around the rocky seashore. Biologist Ian Hutton runs Lord Howe Island Nature Tours and in 2 hours you will know more about the secret lives of marine creatures and plants than you thought possible. Just 2 minutes from shore you will explore pools, a rock ledge and Ian will pull marine creatures from the water and tell you about their very existence. Sea urchins, sea cucumbers, sea slugs, starfish, snails, brittle stars and little crabs are gently removed from their hiding places in green weed as Ian tells you all about the way they live and survive. He has written 10 books about Lord Howe and in 2006 was awarded an Order of Australia medal for his services to conservation and tourism.
A little further off-shore is a world-class SCUBA site. The water is so clean and clear it’s like swimming in an aquarium. Adventurers love bushwalks, all sorts of hikes or you can just laze on a beach.
So, with all this beauty and history to explore, you need somewhere to stay.
The most exclusive address on the island, Capella Lodge has the best views of Mt Gower. It’s recently had a $1 million makeover. It is beach-chic with white-washed walls and timber shutters.
The Lidgbird Pavilion now has a second level with wraparound verandahs, plunge pool and bathing area. It’s the ultimate retreat. You can dine on your private deck, have canapés delivered at sunset or cruise around on Capella’s electric buggy.
The new Makambo loft is a two level loft suite which has postcard views of Lord Howe’s iconic twin peaks. It has fun furnishings from Mambo artist Bruce Gold as well as a plunge spa and extended verandahs.
All up there are nine contemporary suites. They are spacious, light-filled with timber floors and custom furniture pieces. They all have king beds made up with superior cotton linens. Beach towels, robes and backpacks are provided.
The restaurant is for guests only and expect to dine on local fish, regional seafood, farmed meats, home-made pasta, daily baked breads and churned ice cream.
Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, less than 2 hours flying time from Sydney.
Don’t forget your old sneakers so you can go exploring around the rocky seashore.