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Lord Howe Island

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Australia : New South Wales : Lord Howe Island
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Lord Howe Island [1] is an island territory of the Australian state of New South Wales situated in the Tasman Sea some 550 km (341 miles) east of the mainland. Lord Howe Island was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1982 due to its beauty and biodiversity.

Understand[edit]

Geography[edit]

Lord Howe Island is crescent-shaped, approximately 11 km (6.84 miles) long and 3 km (1.86 miles) wide at its greatest width. The island forms the top of an extinct underwater volcano and seamount, projecting above the surface of the ocean. It has the southern-most coral reef in the world.

People[edit]

The population of Lord Howe Island is approximately 350 people. Only 400 tourists are permitted to visit the island at any one time.

Governance[edit]

The island is governed by the Lord Howe Island Board, a New South Wales (NSW) Statutory Authority established under the Lord Howe Island Act, 1953. This has given the island a high level of autonomy. Unlike the rest of NSW, Lord Howe Island has no freehold title, and therefore the island is entirely NSW Crown Land.

The Board reports directly to the NSW Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water, and is charged with the care, control and management of the island. Its responsibilities include:

The protection of World Heritage values, Development control, The administration of all Crown Land including the island’s protected area (the Permanent Park Preserve), The provision of community services and infrastructure, The delivery of sustainable tourism

The Board is comprised of seven members, four of whom are elected from the Islander community. The remaining three members are appointed by the Minister for Climate Change to represent the interests of business, tourism and conservation. The full Board meets on the island every three months and, on a day-to-day basis, the affairs of the island are managed by the Board’s administration.

History[edit]

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Lord Howe Island is approximately 2 hr direct flying time with QantasLink from Sydney (daily), Brisbane (weekends) and Port Macquarie (weekly, seasonal). Connecting services are available from most Australian state capital cities. This flight is one of the most expensive domestic flights in Australia.

Be aware that there are baggage weight and piece restrictions for all flights into Lord Howe Island. Service is by Dash 8 aircraft.

Get around[edit]

Travel on the island is primarily on foot as there is little that is very far away. There is/was a mini van that functions as a "bus" to transport you towards the airport, golf course (9 holes) and the mountainous (Mt. Lidgbird - 777m or 2,549 ft. and Mt. Gower - 875m or 2,870 ft.) south end of the island.

Bicycles (bikes) are also used by many to get around. Be advised that Lord Howe Island is part of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) and therefore NSW laws prevail. Those riding a bike are required to wear a helmet and the NSW constable residing on island can (and may) ticket infractions. Bikes and helmets are available for "hire" (rent).

Regardless of where you go on the island, if you anticipate that you might not return to your accommodation prior to the commencement of sunset, ensure that you carry a "torch" (flashlight) as you will need it. There are no streetlights on the island and dark is "DARK" once the sun sets. Get caught once and you will never again forget your torch. The island is small, but there is much to bump into when you cannot see.

See[edit][add listing]

Look around, it is a beautiful place. The views from all vantage points are amazing.

It is reasonably inexpensive to hire a small, fixed wing, aircraft to make a flight out to, and around, Balls Pyramid, the remnant of an extinct volcano that juts out of the ocean about 23km (14 miles) SE of Lord Howe Island. As there are also boat charters to this, the World's tallest sea stack at 551m (1,807 ft.) tall, you have an opportunity to experience some of the Australia's best snorkeling and scuba diving adventures.

On September 28th, 1948, a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Catalina flying boat crashed on Malabar Hill (towards the north end of the island) killing 7 RAAF crew members. Remnants of the aircraft still litter the crash site and, unfortunately, bear the signs of abuse (graffiti) attained over the years. The story of the incident is available on-line and there are still residents who were present when the crash occurred. The walk to the crash site is not particularly strenuous and you will be exposed to a bit of the island history.

For an entirely different experience, don't miss the return of the shearwater (locally known as mutton) birds at dusk each evening. The adult birds fly far out into the ocean to feed and to gather food for their young (residing in underground burrows until they are about three months old). When the birds return from their long journey they are at, or sometimes past, the point of exhaustion, and many "crash land" on the shore line. An amazing spectacle.

Do[edit][add listing]

Lord Howe Island is very much geared to outdoor recreation: bush walking, trekking, guided and self-guided walks, fish feeding, swimming, surfing, Scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, bird-watching and reef walks are all very popular.

Sports are also an option: golf, tennis and bowls (lawn bowling) especially.

Deep sea, rock and shore fishing charters are available.

For the more laid back, options include picnics, barbecues, bicycling and dining out.

Available for hire (rent) are golf clubs, tennis racquets, bicycles and helmets, scuba and snorkeling gear, paddle skis and spy boards.

The 9 hole golf course operates on an "honor" system. At the time of our visit, a round of golf (with club rental) was 50¢ (AUD) per person. A most interesting undertaking. Tip: Do not start your round of golf at noon. The sun will make short work of any energy you might possess.

Spear fishing is "not" permitted.

Buy[edit][add listing]

A variety of small stores on the island carry groceries, liquor, fruit, vegetables, pharmaceuticals, clothing, souvenirs and snacks. There is also a small hairdressing salon, limited beauty and masseur facilities and arts and crafts. You should note that island prices are generally somewhat higher than mainland prices owing to freight costs.

Only Australian currency is accepted on Lord Howe Island. Foreign currency and travellers cheques are not generally accepted or processed on the island. Credit cards are accepted widely but not everywhere (so have cash or a cheque book as a back-up). There are no ATMs on the island.

Note: Foreign currency and/or travellers cheques are not processed on Lord Howe Island.

Eat[edit][add listing]

There are no "formal" restaurants on the island. Dining establishments are, generally, attached to guest residences and if you chose to eat at a particular location, you must make reservations prior to noon of that day, so that the facility can prepare sufficient food to accommodate those who will attend that evening. Menus are somewhat limited.

Do not forget to take your "torch" (flashlight) with you. You will need it to get to your guest house.

All guest houses offer the use of outdoor BBQ's (grills), generally within steps of your accommodation. We frequently chose to "eat in", as meats (from the frozen food case) were available at the small market(s) as were vegetables.

Drink[edit][add listing]

There are no "pubs" or "bars" on the island, however, some of the dining establishments offered alcoholic beverages, however, selection is limited.

Liquor and beer are also available for purchase at the store (limited hours and selection).

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Capella Lodge, +61 2 9918 4355 (fax: +61 2 9918 4381), [3]. Doubles $550-590.  edit
  • Pinetrees, +61 2 6563 2177 (fax: +61 2 6563 2156), [5]. Doubles $300-310.  edit

Contact[edit]

Mobile (cellphone) phone reception does not extend to Lord Howe Island.

Landline telephone (in the form of pay phones), fax and internet services are readily available at a number of public outlets.

Australia Post has a postal agency on Lord Howe Island which is open M-F 09:00-13:00 and 14.00-17:00. From Sep - May airmail is dispatched and received every day except Friday. In the winter months, mail is dispatched whenever flights operate.

Surface mail arrives fortnightly (every two weeks) by ship from Iluka in northern New South Wales.

Get out[edit]

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