UNESCO-listed Lord Howe Island is part of New South Wales and just two hours away by plane from Brisbane or Sydney. It caters to less than 400 tourists at a time and has secluded beaches, sky-high rainforests, rugged mountains, rare plants and animals, superb walking tracks, and the world’s southernmost tropical reef. Here are 12 of the best things to do on Lord Howe Island.
It only has 9 holes but Lord Howe Island’s golf course is one of the most scenic you’re every likely to play. You’ll need around an hour and a half to play all nine holes as they’re rather tricky par 3s or par 4s. With such beautiful scenery to distract you, you’ve got the perfect excuse for missing a shot or two.
There are plenty of free woodfired barbeques dotted around the island. If you’re visiting in winter, a barbeque lunch is perfect. In summer, enjoy a sunset dinner as you watch the colours change over the lagoon. It’s important to take the time of year and the weather on Lord Howe Island into account when you’re booking your holiday to ensure you’re able to do the activities you’re looking forward to the most.
Kayak around the lagoon
Pro Dive hires out one and two person kayaks for around $20 per day. Go for a spin around the lagoon or tie up at a lagoon mooring and go snorkelling. If you’re a confident paddler, you could head round to North Bay for a picnic lunch and a swim.
Lord Howe Island Museum
Discover Lord Howe Island’s fascinating past, including the early days of tourism when visitors arrived on the island by flying boat, as you stroll around exhibits covering the island’s natural history, early settlement, shipwrecks, and evolution as tourist destination.
Deep sea fishing
Join a deep sea fishing trip and catch your own lunch or dinner. Even if you don’t haul in an impressive catch, you’ll enjoy a great day out on the water. If you’re travelling with a group, it’s possible to book a private fishing trip.
Climb Mt Gower
Climbing to the summit of Mt Gower is rated as one of Australia’s best hikes but it’s not for everyone. The eight hour return trek must be completed with an experienced guide and includes rope-assisted climbs, dizzying drops and a 12 kilometre walk across rugged terrain. However, it’s well worth the effort. Standing atop Gower’s iconic peak inside its famous ‘cloud forest’ and enjoying 360 degree views of the island will take your breath away (and not just because of the climb to get there).
If you’re not up to tackling Mt Gower, Lord Howe Island has plenty of other walking tracks to suit every age and ability. Some of our favourites include Malabar for its superb views and the Clear Place which offers a great view of Ball’s Pyramid on a clear day. If you walk down Little Island Track during nesting season, you can call Providence Petrels down so they land at your feet (just clap your hands and they’ll come).
More than a dozen species of seabirds breed at Lord Howe Island, plus there are around 130 permanent other bird species including the rare Lord Howe Island Woodhen which was in danger of becoming extinct not that long ago. Throughout the year the birds put on unique displays such as the airborne courting rituals, flocks of Mutton birds flying in at sunset and pretty birds nesting around the island.
Feed the fish at Ned’s Beach
The fish at Ned’s Beach are so used to being fed that they zoom over and swim around people’s legs whenever anyone walks into the water, even if they are just there to go snorkelling.
Fish off the jetty
Throw in a hand line or hire a fishing rod and tackle at Thompson’s Store which is just a five minute walk from the jetty. You can buy bait here too. Not surprisingly, you can’t throw in a line at Ned’s Beach as fishing is banned there.
There are virtually no cars on Lord Howe Island which means everyone gets around on bicycles. Some accommodation has bicycles for guests to use free of charge or bikes can be hired from Wilson’s Bike Hire. Tandems, tag-alongs, baby seats, etc are all readily available. If our family is visiting for 10 nights, we often make do without a bicycle for a few days at either end of our stay and opt for a seven night rental to save money as hire prices can quickly add up when you are hiring multiple bikes.
Sit on the grass by the lagoon and enjoy takeaway fish and chips from Thompson’s Store or pack a picnic lunch and hike to a spectacular view point overlooking the island. There are loads of great places to enjoy a meal in the great outdoors on Lord Howe Island. If the weather isn’t good you should probably leave your picnic to another day. There are very few uncover picnic spots aside from the shelter shed at Ned’s Beach.
Disclosure: The writer has visited Lord Howe Island many times and pays for her stay and activities whenever she is on the island.
Want to travel smarter and save money? Check out our tips for flying a low cost airline, keeping your luggage safe, visiting Europe in peak season, getting a great car hire deal, avoiding travel scams, saving money at the airport, staying at an Airbnb, finding cheap five star hotel deals, catching public transport overseas, staying safe in a big city, getting the best round-the-world airfares, making the most of a five star hotel stay, travelling during low season, visiting a theme park in peak season, packing a carry on bag, visiting a wine region, planning a romantic getaway, early morning flights, visiting the Great Barrier Reef, multigenerational travel, travelling in a motorhome, buying the best souvenirs, going on safari, visiting the Eiffel Tower, travelling with pets, holidaying with adult children, travelling with teens, and sleeping on a plane.