Lord Howe Island had been on my bucket list for a good 10 years, so I was very excited when I was able to tick it off last week. My brand new husband and I went as Part One of our honeymoon (Part Two is tropical Fiji, so stay tuned!) and we made sure we told everyone we met, in the hope of acquiring free upgrades and champagne. Luckily the hotel we were staying in coughed up the goods and we were into our first bottle within the first minute of arriving.
We had a fantastic five days but at the end, we felt we had ‘done’ the island (and each other – there had to be at least one obligatory honeymoon sex reference in this article, didn’t there?). Upon reflection, I think four days would be the ideal amount of time for anyone wanting to check the place out.
Here’s what I loved about Lord Howe Island:
1. Pristine natural environment
The place is stunning, there is no denying it! Crystal blue water, volcanic mountains, dramatic shorelines and white sandy beaches. It is a nature lover’s paradise. There’s also plenty of different bird species if that rocks your boat. The masked boobie was my favourite, for obvious reasons.
A reef borders much of the island and as the water is so clear, you can easily view a vast array of coral and marine creatures. Keep an eye out for turtles and Galapagos sharks as they are relatively common and always awesome to watch. (Don’t worry, the Galapagos sharks are small and non-threatening…looking).
All of the hills and mountains have walking tracks and most have great lookouts along the way. Some will take you a couple of hours, and some, a day. They range from easy to extremely difficult.
4. Being able to get everywhere on bikes
To ride from one end of the island to the other takes about half an hour. Most places you can reach within 10 minutes of your accommodation.
5. Maximum of 400 visitors on the island at any given time
That equates to plenty of personal space.
6. Having a good excuse to go to bed early each night.
I’m a grandma and my husband is a night owl, so usually, there is a bit of compromise required from both parties when it comes to a suitable bed time. Luckily for me, there’s not much (or any) night life on the island so we were tucked in good and early every night.
Here’s what I didn’t love so much about the place:
1. The opening hours of every shop and restaurant
They were as unpredictable as one of Donald Trump’s speeches. Places don’t just close early each day and shut on weekends. There appears to be no logic to the opening hours of anywhere. Some places are open for an hour a day, others two random nights a week. The most reliable place we found was The Anchorage restaurant and thankfully, it had fantastic food.
2. No venue to simply hang out at if you get sick of being active (or maybe even your partner’s company)
I guess I mean a bar of some sort that’s open every day. One that has pool tables, live music and large screen televisions showing events happening in the outside world. Somewhere you can go for 15 minutes or 5 hours. Somewhere where you know other people will be and where ‘something’ will be happening so that you can feel like you are doing ‘something’ (unlike sitting in your hotel room staring into space).
3. Unreliable plane service
Due to the extreme weather conditions synonymous with any offshore island, and the type of aircraft that can land there, many planes get cancelled. It is not uncommon for passengers’ trips to be delayed for days.
The island is very remote and getting any goods to it for businesses is expensive. So the fact that everything wasn’t cheap was no surprise. For flights and accommodation (which was relatively basic) alone was $4200 and I booked five months in advance. Most dinners cost $125 for each of us which included a glass of wine each and dessert.
All up, though Lord Howe was brilliant. It was the perfect escape filled with adventure, picturesque surrounds and plenty of downtime. Would it be the perfect place for you? If you’re into hiking, nature and water sports, I think you would love it. If not, I think you would probably get bored pretty quickly.
If you do go, be prepared for all the old people that also visit. There’s a lot!
Have you been to Lord Howe Island? What was your experience?
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