LORD HOWE ISLAND
We had a great time on Lord Howe Island.† It was nice to stay in one place for a few days.† Lord Howe Island is a UNESCO World Biosphere Refuge and a beautiful place to visit.† †It was a great place for some sightseeing and relaxation.† The air is fresh and clear and the scenery is amazing.
85% of the island is still covered with the original forest which is mainly made up of Kentia Palm trees.† Kentia palms are temperate palm trees that are used around the world as house plants.† ††They are extremely slow growing so the trees you see along the road are over 100 years old.† Actually, there are four distinct varieties of the Kentia Palm that you can see if you hike up to Mt. Gower.
Only 400 visitors are allowed at one time, but since this was off season there were far fewer than that during our visit.† Here are pictures from this great island.
Here is some information on traveling to Lord Howe Island.† I would recommend the hike up to the top of Mt. Gower.† It is an arduous trip, but well worth the effort.
∑ There are a few travel agencies that organize trips to Lord Howe Island.† We used Oxley Travel based in Australia and everything went smoothly.† We stayed at the Somerset Apartments and this was also very good.† Information on Lord Howe Island is available from the New South Wales tourist information site.† We were handed a Lord Howe Island Planner when we checked in for our flight.† Get yours ahead of time at Lord Howe Island Holiday Planner here.
∑ There is a baggage allowance of 14 kg of luggage and 7 kg of hand baggage.† We had to plan the rest of our trip around this so we had carry-on baggage for the entire 3-week trip.† We did laundry several times!† Camera equipment is heavy so I had to be careful how to pack.† Hotels provide a lot of items for you so check ahead and bring what you need.
∑ Sometimes the planes canít land on the island so the baggage limit is to allow additional fuel for a return trip.† On the way back, the runway is short so the weight is also restricted.† If the plane is full even the passengers are weighed!† Only Dash-8 aircraft passenger aircraft are used for regular service.
∑ Bikes are the best mode of travel on the island and are great for getting to the trailheads and the grocery store.†† Get your bikes right away from Wilsonís Rental on the main road.† Nobody locks their bikes.† When you rent one note the rental number of your bike so you can find it when you come back.
∑ Book your extracurricular activities as soon as possible.† For example, you need to book the hike up Mt Gower this usually happens only once or twice a week, weather permitting.† We also went on the glass bottom boat tour on the reef which was very nice.
∑ Fresh drinking water is available in a creek about one third of the way up Mt. Gower so you donít have to take enough water for the entire trip.† It is about 6 Cį colder at the top than the bottom so you may need a shell depending on the temperature.† Our guide was Jack Shick and he is highly recommended.
∑ We hoped to go to Ballís Pyramid, the highest sea stack in the world, but ocean conditions were too rough.† I would love to go back to see this.† Several charter boats and tours go here.
∑ Hiking is great on Lord Howe Island and we had great hikes on the island.† We ran out of time to do all the hikes we wanted to.† You can do these anytime as fill in for unscheduled time.† There are great trail markers on the path (see photo).† Pay attention to the contour lines to let you know how much vertical hiking you need to do!
∑ It is very dark at night and there are no streetlights so it is important to take a flashlight with you.† Bikes donít have lights.
∑ Restaurants or your hotel will drive you to dinner and the restaurant will drive you back.† You need reservations for restaurants.† I imagine that in high season this is more difficult.
∑ Lord Howe has a special issue stamp that you can buy at the post office.
∑ We had a housekeeping cottage with a full kitchen so we bought food at the grocery store.† There are two main stores in town, one is near the post office and the other one is on Middle Beach Road.† Prices were high, but not unreasonable for a remote island.† Fresh fruit and vegetables are difficult to get.† These can be purchased at the coop in the middle of town.
∑ Stale bread can be purchased for feeding the fish on Nedís Beach.† This is a great activity.
∑ Fresh fish is available for sale at the Pandanus Restaurant during high season.† Feed the fish Ė eat the fish!
∑ Star gazing is great when the weather is clear.† We brought along a planisphere for the southern hemisphere to help us find stars.† The Southern Cross is great to see for us Northerners.
∑ Two large rays live under the main wharf.† You can see them cruising around late in the afternoon.† They are about 5 feet and 4 feet in diameter.
∑ There is a large natural cross visible on Mt. Gower formed from patterns of light and dark colored rock.† This is best visible from the Lagoon Beach in the morning.
All text and photos are copyright 2010, Frank Hada