How to Make the Most of Your Time on Lord Howe Island

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Apr 19, 2016

by FIONA JOY

The mutton birds aren’t keen on a lie-in and with cats banned from the island 20-odd years ago, there’s nothing to stop their rousing dawn chorus. Here’s how to make the most of the beautiful day that lies ahead on Lord Howe.

What to do

Kim’s Lookout

Lord Howe is criss-crossed with scenic walks from beachy afternoon ambles to challenging hilltop hikes. Put a pin somewhere near the middle and you’ll find the 5km trail from Old Settlement Beach up through the palm groves of Malabar Hill to Kim’s Lookout. It’s a two to three hour round-trip (picnic stops notwithstanding) and you’ll be rewarded by sensational views over the lagoon to Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower.

Neds Beach

The calm, sparkling waters and clean-as-a-whistle soft sands make this a family favourite, where a simple snorkel and mask will reveal the wonders of the reef’s fringe – colourful corals and a rainbow of tropical fish. A beach tradition is to wade in and help hand-feed the huge kingfish.


Image credit: Destination NSW

Balls Pyramid

At 23 km south east of the island, Balls pyramid is the world’s tallest sea stack, the remains of a volcano that is judged to have erupted about seven million years ago. Climbing was not long after Dick Smith conquered the peak in 1980 but you can appreciate it by boat. Divers come to get up close with the marlin, dolphins, turtles and a kaleidoscope of fish.

Where to eat 

The Anchorage, Neds Beach Rd

Former Otto chef David Chlumsky runs the kitchen at this popular spot that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with live music during peak season (October to April). There’s an in-house bakery and local produce is used where possible through the mod Oz menu. Dinner bookings recommended.

Pandanus

Located in the lush surrounds of Pandanus Lodge, the restaurant serves an assortment of cuisines from Italy to Asia, starring locally caught fish. Linger on the garden veranda on a balmy evening or take it inside and soak up the ambience of the intimate dining room.

Pinetrees lodge

With a claim to being one of the oldest restaurants in Australia, the signature ‘fish fry’ is a Lord Howe tradition and has been served here for over 70 years. Once a simple serve of deep-fried kingfish and chips, it has evolved into five courses including sushi, sashimi, beer-battered kingfish, salads, desserts and a cheese platter. Come hungry.


Image credit: Destination NSW

Where to stay

Arajilla

Arajilla Retreat encapsulates the essence of Lord Howe: laid back tranquillity and escape with a hint of luxury. Situated at the sheltered northern end of the lagoon and a short stroll from Old Settlement Beach, accommodation is in standalone suites, set in lush native gardens under a canopy of Kentia Palms and Banyan Trees. Choose from a range of therapeutic and pampering massages and facials at the Ayurvedic spa then enjoy an aperitif in the al fresco guest lounge before taking a seat for dinner at the elegantly casual restaurant. If a fishing trip is on your to do list, head chef Dennis Tierney is happy to prepare and cook it just the way you like it.


Image credit: Destination NSW

Capella

‘Beach house chic’ sums up this luxury lodge, designed and owned by the same team behind Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island. It has nine relaxed, contemporary suites with shutters that open to the mesmerising views of the two mountains, Gower and Lidgbird, and the brilliant turquoise lagoon below. Add a Pacific themed restaurant, light and airy lounge / bar area and a world class spa and you won’t want to stay away too long. 

Pinetrees

This is Lord Howe's oldest (and largest) lodge, with an enviable location on the shores of the lagoon. A few steps over Lagoon Road is the hotel’s Boatshed where guests can gather barefoot of an evening for sunset drinks and a chat about their days. The original 1870s guesthouse building is now home to the restaurant, bar and lounge and the accommodation (all recently renovated) includes elegant en-suite rooms, luxury garden cottages and larger, three and four bedroom family cottages. Wander through the sub tropical gardens to take an early evening drink on the waterfront deck and you’ll understand the meaning of serenity.

Qantas flights to Lord Howe Island from Brisbane and Sydney are currently on sale, until 31 May 2017.

SEE ALSO: The Best Walks Around Australia