SIX THINGS TO DO AT LORD HOWE ISLAND FOR NATURE LOVERS

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Looking for things to do at Lord Howe Island in Australia? I’ve just come back from a week in paradise, yes the gorgeous Lord Howe Island. This World Heritage listed island is located just under two hours by Qantas Link from Sydney and Brisbane in Australia and is renowned for its natural beauty, abundance of wildlife, super friendly locals and delicious food. It really is an island where you can adopt nature’s pace and either luxuriate at one of the many secluded beaches or get active by doing one of the many different day hikes. The charm to Lord Howe is that with only 380 locals living on the island, only 400 visitors are allowed on the island on any given day. Which means you’ll find palm forests, secluded beaches, secret caves and lily soaked mountainsides all to yourself.

So what can you do on Lord Howe Island? Below are my top seven activities that will keep you relaxed but also fuel your passion for adventure and nature.

1. DAY HIKE TO THE TOP OF MT GOWER Although only 11km long and 2km wide, Lord Howe has many delightful, well-marked walking trails. In fact nearly two thirds of the island is a Permanent Park Reserve. If you have a full day to spare, organise a guided 8 hour hike to the top of Mt Gower. The 875m climb is challenging, so make sure you wear proper hiking gear and footwear. Rated as one of the best day treks in the world, you can’t leave Lord Howe Island without doing this epic hike.

2. CORAL REEF GLASS BOTTOM BOAT TOUR Organise a glass bottom boat tour where you’ll explore many different parts of the island. This is perfect for those who want a relaxing adventure but also want to indulge in a bit of snorkelling (this however is not mandatory). Some of the tours also stop at North Bay beach to serve you lunch or a snack. From here you can hike 300m to Old Gulch, which is a rocky inlet beach covered in large stones. The heat radiating off the rocks at the beach (there is no sand) is intense, so make sure you wear shoes!

Below: Making our way to North Bay with Mt Lidgfield and Mt Gower in full viewMister Weekender_Lord Howe Island_Jaharn Giles_4 Below: Anchoring our boat at North Bay for a spot of snorkelling and turtle watching Mister Weekender_Lord Howe Island_Jaharn Giles_5 Below: Old Gulch, only a 300m walk from North Day Beach Mister Weekender_Lord Howe Island_Jaharn Giles_6 Below: Walking through dense palm tree forests to get back to North Bay Beach Mister Weekender_Lord Howe Island_Jaharn Giles_7

3. HAND FEEDING FISH AT NED’S BEACH I love the many honesty systems at Lord Howe Island, and fish feeding at Ned’s Beach is no exception. For a $1 donation, you can grab a small packet of fish feed by which you can feed the bright, colourful and amorous fish swimming in the lapping crystal clear shores at Ned’s Beach. They are hungry fella’s and not shy at all!

4. WATCH THE SUNRISE FROM GOAT HOUSE CAVE Sunrise anywhere on Lord Howe Island, but the most beautiful spot is from Goat House Cave – but you need to earn it. Get up early, grab a head torch, pack a backpack with plenty of water, sunscreen and a camera. I would say to take your mobile but there is literally no reception on the island! Start your hike at 4.30am, which should leave plenty of time to make it to the cave for sunrise. It is a tough hike, very steep and rocky so you must be fit but there are ropes where it get particularly steep to guide you up and down. It shouldn’t take more than an hour if you’re fit, but leave one to two hours if you want to take your time. I was out of breath myself a couple of times and had sweat pouring down my face as it was a warm morning but we made it to the top under an hour. The views Goat House Cave were magical, unforgettable and totally rewarding. Although I will say if you are scared of heights, it will make you nervous! I’m not but I definitely felt the height. You’ll also cool down quickly at Goat House Cave as it can get quite breezy so pack a light jumper.

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5. HIKE TO MALABAR I absolutely love to solo hike. It’s the perfect time to appreciate nature without the sounds of conversation distracting you from the beauty that lies ahead. It’s also great for a little sole searching. The choice of solo hikes on Lord Howe Island ranges from easy strolls at sea level through to lush Kentia palm and banyan forests, to moderate cliff top hikes, such as Malabar Hill, where you’ll see seabirds soaring around the stunning Admiralty Islands. Start this hike from North Bay, walk up the steep hill past Kim’s look out and finally to the top of Malabar. Continue along the track along the cliff and then eventually you’ll pop out at the top of Ned’s Beach for a well-deserved swim. Be careful as you make your way down the grassy hill to Ned’s, I slipped several times. Standard. This hike can take up to five hours, depending how fit you are and how quickly you want to hike. It took me about two and a half hours, but I easily spent an hour stopping, admiring and taking photos.

Below: The view from Kim's Lookout and out over to North Bay Mister Weekender_Lord Howe Island_Jaharn Giles_10 Below: The view from the top of Malabar Hill looking towards Mt Lidgfield and Mt Gower Mister Weekender_Lord Howe Island_Jaharn Giles_11 Below: The spectacular Admiralty Islands Mister Weekender_Lord Howe Island_Jaharn Giles_12 Below: Ned's Beach from a bird's eye view Mister-Weekender_Lord-Howe-Island_Jaharn-Giles_17

6. SUNSET FROM PINETREES AND CAPELLA Bubbly? Check. Tapas? Check. Sunrise? Check. My two favourite places to watch sunset was at Pinetrees and Capella. You’ll have to see it for yourself to believe it…

Below: The stunning view at Pinetrees Lodge Mister Weekender_Lord Howe Island_Jaharn Giles_2 Below: After sunset everyone heads back to Pinetrees for a delicious three course dinner Mister Weekender_Lord Howe Island_Jaharn Giles_3 Below: Possibly the best view of Mt Gower from Capella Mister Weekender_Lord Howe Island_Jaharn Giles_8 Below: Sunset at Capella is an absolute must! Mister Weekender_Lord Howe Island_Jaharn Giles_9