Water Sports on Lord Howe Island

Snorkelling or diving on the colourful coral reefs at Lord Howe Island is an incredible experience. More than 500 fish species and 90 coral species inhabit the UNESCO World Heritage marine park. Other fun water sports on the island include kayaking, kitesurfing and stand-up paddleboarding.

The crystal-clear lagoon is protected by a barrier reef UNESCO says is ‘the world’s most southerly true coral reef’. Teeming with marine life, the lagoon is the perfect place to begin your aquatic adventure. You can hire snorkelling and diving gear, as well as kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.

Couple snorkelling off Lord Howe Island

A wonderful way to explore the lagoon is on a glass-bottom boat and snorkelling tour with Marine Adventures, Islander Cruises or Lord Howe Environmental Tours. The remoteness of Lord Howe – 700km northeast of Sydney – and the tropical and temperate waters create the unique biodiversity.

The sheltered lagoon is home to green and hawksbill turtles. Blue knifefish, three-banded coralfish and doubleheader wrasse are just three species among the many brightly coloured fish. A sublime snorkelling and diving destination is Erscotts Hole, where a staghorn coral garden will amaze you.

Snorkelling off Ned’s Beach is a delight, too. Pretty coral is not far from the shore and hundreds of fish glint in the pristine waters that sparkle in the sunshine. You can wade into the waters at Ned’s Beach and hand-feed a variety of fish, including spangled emperor, silver drummer and kingfish.

Snorkelling, Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe is one of the best diving spots in the world, with more than 60 dive sites. Pro Dive, Howea Divers  and Greenback offer diving tours, with some Aqua Scooter options. You’ll be astonished by the underwater world around Ball’s Pyramid, the world’s tallest sea stack. There is a vivid coral wall, caves and numerous sea creatures.

Other great dive spots include:

Kitesurfing is growing in popularity, and island guides will transport your equipment. Other activities include surfing, kayaking and SUP. The uncrowded waves at Blinky Beach are excellent for surfing, and the calm shallows of North Bay and Old Settlement Beach are superb for kayaking and SUP.

NSW Swimming safety

Swimming safety information 

NSW has a wide range of wonderful swimming options including beaches, ocean pools, harbourside pools, lakes, rivers, and swimming holes at the bottom of waterfalls. However to ensure maximum safety and enjoyment, swimmers should follow this general advice:

Look for patrolled beaches (this is where lifesavers are on duty; you will see red and yellow flags that indicate this). You should always swim between the red and yellow flags as they mark the safest place to swim.

Never swim alone at night, or under the influence of alcohol, or directly after a meal.

Always check water depth, as rocks or trees could be submerged, and never run and dive into the water from a beach, riverbank or other surface.

Check for signs regarding advice on water conditions at your chosen swimming spot and at any natural swimming hole. Always proceed with caution as surfaces could be slippery and water conditions may not be immediately apparent; particularly if the area has recently experienced heavy rain or flooding.

Pay attention to the advice of the lifesavers and safety signs. Visit SharkSmart to understand any potential risks in the area you are swimming. 

Lord Howe Island water sport tours

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