Lord Howe Island, NSW. © Trevor King, Destination New South Wales

Guide to Lord Howe Island

Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island, NSW © Nathan Dyer

Enjoy a gourmet getaway

Being away from mainland Australia, the residents of Lord Howe Island must use their natural resources to supplement the fortnightly deliveries they receive. You'll see locals' vegetable patches, and kingfish and other wild seafood abounds here. Since 1848, six generations of the Rourke family have run Pinetrees Lodge, known for its gourmet food offerings, including a legendary weekly Fish Fry night, and sunset viewing platform. Capella Lodge is a five-star luxury haven with a seasonal menu to match – enjoy sunset drinks and canapes with views of Mount Gower. Arajilla Retreat combines gourmet food, including produce from its kitchen garden alongside line-caught fish, with Ayurvedic spa treatments in a timber yurt.

Blinky Beach, Lord Howe Island, NSW © James Vodicka

Admire the scenery on foot

Get to know the island by walking some its many tracks. They range from a simple walk on the beach to a day hike – all abilities are catered for. A good intermediate challenge is Kims Lookout and Malabar Hill. Starting at Settlement Beach, you'll hike up to Kims Lookout, enjoying incredible views, then move across Malabar Hill where you will see Balls Pyramid. It's a natural obelisk, soaring 551 metres (1807 feet) from the ocean. Finish your walk at Neds Beach with a swim and a barbecue. Some hotels will even organise a picnic drop-off for you. If you're still up for more, head to Blinky Beach, which is known for its incredible surf.

Mount Gower, Lord Howe Island, NSW © Destination NSW

Hike Mount Gower

If you’re fit and up for some adventure, walking to the summit of Mount Gower should be on your list. The 14-kilometre (8.7-mile) return hike takes about 8.5 hours to walk and must be undertaken with a registered guide, of which there are just two. Jack Shick is an experienced guide on Lord Howe Island, having summited more than 1800 times. Alternatively, Dean Hiscox was the ranger on Lord Howe Island for 16 years and now shares his extensive knowledge of the local flora and fauna on his tours. Meander to Transit Hill for panoramic views over the island.

Snorkelling, Lord Howe Island, NSW © Destination NSW

See the vibrant bottom of the lagoon by boat

Lord Howe Island curls around a beautiful bright blue lagoon, full of fish, coral and other marine life. You can snorkel the lagoon from the beach, but to see some of the more spectacular snorkel sites, take a two-hour glass bottom boat tour with Lord Howe Environmental Tours. The boat allows you to see into the water without getting wet, but for a little bit more adventure, the tour stops at Erscotts Hole so snorkellers can see the coral seascape up close. It's a good idea to book ahead. The tour company provides all the gear you'll need.

Lord Howe Island Golf Course, Lord Howe Island, NSW © Destination NSW

Get outdoors and get adventurous

There's no shortage of adventure on Lord Howe Island. If you're a scuba diver, head to Balls Pyramid to enjoy the caves and waters at the base. Alongside dolphins, turtles and marlin, there are many rare species, including Spanish dancers, Galapagos whalers and Ballina angelfish. Pro Dive runs Open Water Diver Courses on Lord Howe Island and take divers out to Balls Pyramid. Golfers will be kept happy on the picturesque 18 hole golf course and anglers are well catered for, with a number of tour companies offering charters. 

Bird watching, Lord Howe Island, NSW © Destination NSW

Enjoy the rare flora and fauna

After a volcanic eruption seven million years ago, the newly formed island became a haven for plants and seabirds. Rare flora and fauna includes 64 unique species of flowering plants and more than 130 bird species, like the endangered flightless woodhen. Watch red-tailed tropicbirds court each other with backward somersaults. Lord Howe Island provides the only known breeding ground for the providence petrel – at the very base of Mount Gower it's said that you can make loud bird calls, like Sir David Attenborough did when he visited the island, and petrels might come down to investigate. Norfolk Island pines grow around the lagoon shore and you'll find luxuriant ferns and beard-like lichen in the misty forest atop Mount Gower.

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