Lord Howe Island
National Geographic has named Lord Howe Island one of its best destinations for 2021 as part of the annual Best of the World list. Calling it ‘a last paradise in the Tasman Sea’, the editors marvel at Lord Howe’s pristine coral reef and the Protecting Paradise Program that is committed to preserving the island’s unique ecosystem.
An island paradise with pristine beaches, abundant wildlife and just 382 lucky residents, UNESCO World Heritage listed Lord Howe Island is a unique and untouched destination. A two hour flight from Sydney, only 400 visitors are allowed on the treasured island at any one time to experience its incredible natural attractions.
Lord Howe Island Marine Park
The pristine waters surrounding Lord Howe Island are a unique mix of warm tropical and cool temperate ocean currents, home to over 450 fish species and 90 species of coral, many of which only occur here.
A wonderful way to see the reef, colourful fish and turtles is on a glass-bottom boat and snorkelling tour. You can also hand-feed fish at Ned’s Beach Special Purpose Zone, which is protected by a no-take area.
Enjoy snorkelling in the iridescent blue playground that surrounds the island, where scores of seabirds nest. The world’s southernmost coral reef protects a crystal-clear lagoon perfect for swimming and other water sports. Plot your escape to Lord Howe to coincide with one of four Ocean Swim Weeks held throughout the year or the Summer Festival (the next event will be held in 2023).
The Lord Howe Island Marine Park is one of the best diving spots in the world, with more than 60 dive sites and many that remain undiscovered. The underwater world around Ball’s Pyramid, the world’s tallest sea stack, is home to a unique coral community with giant fan corals, as well as rare Spanish dancers and the rare and protected Ballina angelfish.
Find more information about the Lord Howe Island Marine Park here.
You’ll need a guide for the challenging day trek to Mount Gower on the island’s southern end. There are gentle walks too, such as Valley of the Shadows amid groves of Banyan trees and Kentia palms. You can also spot red-tailed tropicbirds perform their spectacular airborne courting displays on the Malabar Hill walk.
Catch garfish from the shore or join a fishing tour and head outside the reef to catch wahoo, kingfish, trevally and yellowfin tuna. Commercial fishing is not allowed within the Lord Howe Island Marine Park, so you'll find an abundance of fish. Be sure to check the regulations before you head out as there are sanctuary zones in the marine park and limits apply on certain species.
Getting there & where to stay
Lord Howe Island is 700km northeast of Sydney. QantasLink offers regular flights from Sydney. Regular flights from Port Macquarie and Newcastle are also available through Eastern Tour Services with Eastern Air Services. Places to stay range from apartments to luxury retreats, with rejuvenating spa treatments and restaurants available, too.