Lord Howe Island
You’ll feel special on Lord Howe Island, a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage paradise 700km northeast of Sydney. Only 400 visitors are allowed on the treasured island at any one time to experience the unique natural attractions, from the vivid coral reef to the famous twin peaks.
An iridescent blue marine park surrounds the small island group, where scores of seabirds nest. The world’s southernmost coral reef protects a crystal-clear lagoon perfect for swimming, snorkelling and other water sports. You can also conquer Mount Gower on one of the best walks in Australia.
You’ll need a guide for the day trek to Mount Gower, on the main island’s southern end. There are gentle walks, too, such as Valley of the Shadows among Banyan trees and Kentia palms. You can spot red-tailed tropicbirds perform their spectacular airborne courting displays on the Malabar Hill walk.
QantasLink offers regular flights from Sydney and weekend flights from Brisbane to the island. Places to stay range from apartments to luxury retreats, and there are rejuvenating spa treatments and delicious restaurants. You can even play golf on a picturesque nine-hole course with postcard vistas.
The pristine waters are home to more than 500 fish species and 90 corals. A marvellous way to see the corals, brightly coloured fish and turtles is on a glass-bottom boat and snorkelling tour. You can also hand-feed fish at Ned’s Beach, in a sanctuary zone where recreational fishing is not allowed.
The marine park is one of the best diving spots in the world, with more than 60 dive sites. Around Ball’s Pyramid, the world’s tallest sea stack, the underwater world is home to a coral wall with huge soft coral fans, as well as rare Spanish dancers and protected Ballina angelfish. Tours operate here during fine conditions.
Fishing is popular, with game fish including marlin, wahoo and tuna. A catch-and-release policy is encouraged on the island, which was discovered in 1788 by the British ship HMS Supply. To find out about local charters and others tours, as well as the island’s history, stop by the Lord Howe Island Museum and Visitor Centre.