Favourite Place #6 – Lord Howe Island, New South Wales

Mounts Lidgbird and Gower, Lord Howe Island

Mounts Lidgbird and Gower, Lord Howe Island

OK, I admit it. I’m shallow.

For a favourite place to make it onto my favourite places list, it’s got to be able to deliver experiences I can’t have anywhere else. In Australia, if not the world!

And a selection of good bakeries doesn’t hurt either …

Stepping onto the 1km airstrip bisecting Lord Howe Island and into a Bali Hai-esque panorama featuring the twin peaks of Mounts Lidgbird and Gower was a splendid start to our April 2011 stay.

And from there it just got better and better.

The only Golf Course anywhere on World Heritage Turf

The only Golf Course anywhere on World Heritage Turf

600km east of Port Macquarie, this unique island is a parallel universe – old favourites amongst birds, plants and insects coexist with endemic species, and it punches above its weight with with a disproportionately high number of state, Australian and world exclusives. Hardly surprising, then that the Lord Howe island group was World Heritage listed in 1982!

The lagoon surrounded by the world’s southernmost coral reef (and where new fish species are still being discovered) is the only place in NSW where the sun sets over the sea. And the 9 hole golf course, the only one anywhere on World Heritage turf, is in a setting so spectacular I could almost see the point of golf … hitting the ball into the sea in such a place would almost be an honour!

 

1% of World population of Lord Howe Is Woodhen#

1% of World population of endemic Lord Howe Island Woodhen#

And when a Lord Howe Island woodhen pecks your toes? Well, it IS is a thrill to be had nowhere else in the world … and by not many others.

Down to the last 30 birds in the 70’s, the woodhen narrowly escaped extinction through a successful breeding program and its population is now stable at around 300.

Ball’s pyramid – at 550m high the world’s tallest volcanic sea-stack and 23 km from Lord Howe Island – is visible from a few strategic points on the island.
Claimed for Australia in the 70’s by explorer and entrepreneur Dick Smith, it was once the last place on earth for the Lord Howe Island Phasmid – rarest insect in the world. Thought extinct for many years, a breeding program saved this giant stick-insect from extinction when a remnant colony was discovered on Ball’s Pyramid. Devastatingly, our sightseeing cruise was cancelled – but that’s just strengthened our resolve to return (we DID return – read about our Balls Pyramid Adventure HERE!)
Ball's Pyramid from Lord Howe Island#

Ball’s Pyramid from Lord Howe Island#

Tropical island, palm trees, cliché … yeah, sure! But not when the palms are Kentia palms – a Lord Howe Island exclusive, strong contender for world domination in the indoor plants market and the island’s major export. Knock off two world exclusives for the price of one by checking out the phasmids at the Kentia palm nursery … three if you spot a woodhen on the way!!
But … it’s not all moonlight and magnolias here in paradise – several endemic bird species are now extinct, courtesy of the colonial practice of importing animals for food and hunting and an invasion of shipwrecked rats.
My arty shot of the lagoon

My artfully crooked shot of the lagoon

That won’t scuttle our plans to return (SOON!), however, as the sound management and conservation practices are balancing the ecosystem to assure the island’s integrity. Although bakery sl*ts like us would be lured back by the fabulous baked goods at Humpty Mick’s Cafe and Thompsons’ Store anyway …

If this is paradise, I don’t care if I never get to me* – but just to show I can be balanced about a place I really like, there ARE some things it DOESN’T have. Here’s a list:

Top 5 things Lord Howe Island doesn’t have:

1. Public Transport: Walk, cycle, or hire a car – but only if you can drive at 25 kph or less!

2. Cats: All cats, feral or domesticated, have now left the island. Some bird species are showing their gratitude by increasing their populations significantly!

3. Mobile Phones: Clearly not Telstra shareholders, an island referendum voted against them! My care factor? Zero!!

4. Crime: Although I could be wrong about this. We DID see a couple of cyclists without helmets – could this be the start of an unprecedented crime wave???

5. Snakes: WOO HOO! Yeah!! ALL Right!!! Walk without fear in that long grass!!!!

My arty sunset shot!

My arty sunset shot!

And don’t think for one tiny instant you’ve heard the last from me about this magical, wondrous island and my new favourite place – I’ll be boring you rigid showcasing its delights in future posts so be warned look out for them soon!!

If you can’t wait for more, check out the best flights right now!

Want MORE?

# Pic by Pilchard
* Apologies to Charlene

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26 comments

  • @Bettyl – It is indeed! And not so far from NZ!

  • Wow! What a wonderful place!

  • @Eccentricess – more posts on this FAAAAABULOUS place to come!! Sadly, there ARE spiders there – but find me a spot in OZ without them!! They didn’t bother us …

  • Coming from the point of view of an almost anti-traveller, the historic and nature aspects you have described so vividly has made me drool with anticipation of visiting there one day. Hubby will be so delighted. Possibly also a little surprised.
    Since you have mentioned the lack of snakes, it leads me to wonder… what of the spidey variety of inhabitant?

  • @diane b – yeah, everyone said we were lucky to have reasonably calm, fine weather!! Mutton birds great – but killer beaks!!

  • It sure is a great place. We visited in the 90’s and loved it. I remember cycling along the airstrip road and the wind was so strong I wasn’t moving forward. The return trip was a breeze though. I’m glad they have got rid of all the cats. The Mutton Birds were my favourite. Watching them return from their day fishing was a delight, especially watching them crash land in their hundreds.

  • @Trish – yeah, same! Had no idea I didn’t even have to leave OZ for such a good time!!
    @Linnea – one of life’s great experiences! And no worries about my comment – blogger’s been a bit unstable recently to say the least, so do what you’ve got to do!
    @Alessandra – get outta here! You ROCK, girlfriend!!
    @mmbear – welcome! Cool name!! And thanx for following – look forward to seeing you again!!
    @Glowless – yeah, the unkind would call me a w**ker!!

  • Had to remove the whole posting about Cecil Beaton, it was moving more or less around my blog, really spooky, so sorry for having to delete your comment at the same time. I just can’t take the chance of keeping it.

  • Glowless @ Where's My Glow

    Love the arty shots!!

  • Oh, I would love to ride a bike along a coast! That time has come and gone for me though. I am a new follower thru GFC and would love a follow back when you get the chance. Very beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    Mary@http://mmbearcupoftea.blogspot.com

  • Stunning, especially that Ball’s Pyramid!

    ciao
    A.

    PS
    I am putting your link on my blog roll 🙂

  • Looks splendid!

    Sorry about my blog post, I don’t know what happened… There were some problems with it last night and this morning.

    Have a great weekend!

  • •´.¸¸.•¨¯`♥.Trish.♥´¯¨•.¸¸.´•

    OH I why didn’t know all this …why I am very bad OZzie.

    Here from FYBF.

  • AAARRRGGGHHH!! Thanx to those who left comments before the blogger-NOT thing – and apologies on their behalf if they’ve been lost forever …
    @Betty – My ultimate fave so far!! Even with the things I left OFF the list …
    @Lily – thanx so much! But I suspect it’s just one of those places impossible to take a bad picture of!!
    @TTT – You Like Me?? I look forward to your return visits and comments on posts you’ve enjoyed!!
    @Dianne – it’s BEYOND fabulous … already planning a return trip – with Ball’s pyramid HIGH on the agenda!
    @Mrs Tuna – Yeah! Snakes suck!!
    @

  • So pretty, and no SNAKES!

  • This looks like a fabulous place for a holiday – great photo of the lagoon.

  • TanyasTreasureTrove

    Hi! I’m following you from YLM
    blog hop!I hope you visit me and
    return the follow:0)

  • I really like your sunset shot and the beach – HECK – I like em all – NICE PHOTOGRAPHY OZ
    Cheers
    Lilly

  • @Betty – ‘Cold’ and ‘bored’ are two more things you don’t get on LHI!!!
    @Glen – yeah, don’t know how the lone LHI policeman can sleep at night!!
    @Lily – do yourself a favour … next time we go, we aim to give the policeman something else to do – go into hiding and miss our flights home!
    @Marie – can’t wait for our LHI return trip so we can see it up even closer! It’s AMAZING!! And you have to train yourself not to worry about the snakes when you’re trudging through long grass and/or leaf litter!!
    @Magsx2 – I can’t actually believe it’s part of Australia!!
    @Windsmoke – apparently the first ships to land on LHI left feral pigs and goats as a kind of sea-goers ‘takeaway’ for next time!
    @Sailor – it’s going to take a lot to topple this one from the very TOP of my faves list!!

  • This looks like a little heaven. Very beautiful. I do not blame you for adding this place to your favorite list.

  • The early settlers have a lot to answer for bringing feral pests that decimate the local flora and fauna. The first and last photos are breath taking as for the crime wave i reckon everybody can live with it :-).

  • Hi,
    I have never been to Lord Howe Island, but after reading your post, and seeing the wonderful photo’s I will definitely have to make an effort to go and check it out.

  • Ball’s Pyramid is such a striking looking place, that I feel drawn to it even in the picture. And yes, I vote for anywhere that doesn’t have snakes. God they give me the willies 🙂

  • sounds like a little bit of heaven, just my kind of roughing it. Crime wave, eh , well….. there are some things worth putting up with. I definately will leave my “helmet” home 🙂
    Thanks, lovely photos and story
    cheers, Lilly

  • sounds glorious.

    bit concerned about that crime wave though 🙂

  • Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry

    sounds like the heck of an amazing place to visit.
    lord howe island looks magical. i love that list is absolutely great!

    magnificent landscape and marvellous photos!

    betty xx

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