New South Wales’ idyllic paradise Lord Howe Island has been ranked the world’s fifth best region to visit next year by global travel authority Lonely Planet in their new publication, Best in Travel 2020, released today.
The UNESCO World Heritage-listed island 600km off the north coast of NSW is recognised by Lonely Planet as a must-visit destination for the upcoming year – the only Australian location featured in the Best in Travel lists of Top 10 Regions, Countries and Cities for 2020.
Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres said the accolade was a huge coup for the State and would boost the island’s profile among international travellers in particular.
“There’s something special about Lord Howe Island and it’s fantastic that this spotlight will encourage the rest of the world to discover this too,” Minister Ayres said.
“The natural beauty and charming remoteness of the island make Lord Howe a ‘must visit’ destination for all kinds of travellers including luxury seekers and nature lovers.
“These visitors often extend their journey in Sydney before or after their island escape, and many are high yield travellers who contribute significantly to the State’s economy.”
This edition of Best in Travel 2020 focuses on sustainable travel experiences, helping travellers to consider the impact of their holiday and make informed decisions when planning an itinerary.
Lonely Planet recognises Lord Howe as a “shining example” of sustainably managed tourism through its commitment to accommodating only 400 visitors at one time, and encouraging guests to participate in ecological projects.
“Parked in the middle of nowhere… this visually stunning island makes an instant impact on the senses with its jaw-dropping World Heritage-listed beauty,” Lonely Planet writes.
“Two soaring green mountains overlook a perfect lagoon and the world’s southernmost coral reef; perfect crescents of beach and splendid hiking trails…add to brilliant outdoors possibilities.”
Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said Lord Howe Island deserved the inclusion.
“Lord Howe Island is just so unique so I’m delighted that this peaceful haven with its breathtaking natural environs has been acknowledged by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s must-visit destinations,” Ms Williams said.
Spend your days exploring the island in many ways, some of which include:
1. Hike world-class mountains: It’s not for the faint-hearted, but the one-day hike to Mt Gower (875m) is considered one of the world’s best climbs. The guided, eight-hour return, class 5 walk provides some of the island’s most rewarding experiences including encounters with rare flora and Lord Howe’s famous woodhen. This trek will further reward you with astounding views leaving you truly feeling on top of the world.
2. Dive right in: Tropical and cooler waters collide in the ocean around Lord Howe, resulting in the world’s southernmost reef, 90 coral species, green and hawksbill turtles and 500 species of fish – perfect for scuba diving and snorkelling. More than 60 dive sites lure divers of all skill levels; local operators offer PADI diving courses, while glass-bottom boat tours are another option.
3. Get involved in the Conservation Program: Experience nature like nowhere else and be part of sustaining this amazing environment whilst experiencing firsthand the species that the conservation projects are safeguarding. The globally recognised conservation project has experts from all over the world working side by side with conservation volunteers, monitoring, collecting and exploring this unique natural environment.
4. Visit Ball’s Pyramid: Twenty-three kilometres to the south of Lord Howe Island is a spectacular 550-metre spearhead of grey basalt that seemingly explodes from the ocean. The world’s largest sea stack is home to extraordinary birdlife and the waters surrounding Balls Pyramid are teeming with marine life. A cruise to Balls Pyramid is astonishing. For experienced divers, Balls is an unparalleled adventure.
5. Big-game fishing: Lord Howe is a top destination for big-game fishing for yellowfin tuna, wahoo, marlin and more. The island’s abundant waters are home to more delicious fish including whiting, trevally, bonefish, Australian salmon, spangled emperor, bluefish and wrasse.
6. Experience your own private rainforest: Lord Howe Island is home to the incredible five-star Arajilla Retreat. For guests seeking the ultimate immersive experience, stay in the Arajilla Suite and soak up the serenity of the surrounding rainforest from your own private deck.
7. Bird watching: With 14 species of seabird breeding on the island, Lord Howe is Australia’s premier bird-watching destination, boasting more than 130 permanent and migratory bird species, among them the woodhen, unique to the island. In the Winter, it’s a breeding ground for providence petrels that wheel in the sky in huge numbers.
8. Capella Spa’s ‘Dreaming’ Treatment: Tough day exploring this idyllic paradise? Enjoy some rejuvenation at the incredible Capella Spa. For the ultimate indulgence, try the three-hour ‘Dreaming’ treatment, including everything imaginable to leave you feeling balanced and renewed.
9. BBQ Islander Style: Lord Howe’s 11 beautiful beaches are perfectly suited to barbequing outdoors, with their golden sand and spectacular views of the island. Make the most of the abundance of locally sourced seafood and cook yourself some dinner in this picturesque setting.
10. Awe-inspiring accommodation: For those luxury lovers, look no further than the Lidgbird Pavilion of the Capella Lodge. The superlative all-inclusive double story apartment features panoramic views of the ocean, mountains and subtropical rainforest. Sumptuous ground level living blends seamlessly with the private outdoor lounging area and the private plunge pool.
11. Feed the marine life: Neds Beach is known for the colourful fish and occasional turtles that inhabit the crystal-clear waters. Just wade in and hand-feed mullet, butterfly fish and stingrays, or snorkel the shallow reef to see giant clams and corals.
12. Board a wave at Blinky Beach: Have you ever dreamed of catching a wave without the hassle of competing with a crowd? The unspoilt, white sand beach known to locals as “Blinky’s” has some of the best breaks on the island and is crowd free so wax up and fulfil your dreams.
13. Try the famous Fish Fry Buffet at Beach House on the Moon: Available for only two nights a week, this dining experience is renowned to locals and travellers alike, and is a must for anyone staying on the island on Monday or Friday evenings.
14. Get the money shot: Wake up early, you won’t regret it, and head to the top of Malabar Hill to witness 360-degree views of the sunrise over this incredible wonderland that is Lord Howe Island.
15. Challenge yourself: For those experienced hikers who enjoy a challenge, join The Seven Peaks Walk by Pinetrees. Explore the variety of this island paradise with pristine beaches and exposed coral platforms, through subtropical palm forests, freshwater creeks, rugged sea cliffs and volcanic peaks, to the mist forests of Mt Gower.
16. Kayak into the sunset: Rent a local kayak and take to the water to witness the phenomenal sunset behind this idyllic paradise.
17. Enjoy your catch of the day: Head chef of the Arajilla Retreat, Ben Crompton, offers guests the opportunity to enjoy their own catch of the day. If you’re lucky enough to have caught something on your fishing expedition, Ben and the team will prepare the catch and serve it to your liking.
18. Cycle through lush forests: Rent or borrow a bike from your accommodation and explore the island at your leisure, with little or no traffic at all.
19. Discover the history: Learn more about this incredible island by visiting the Lord Howe Island Museum. A treasure chest of natural history, fantastic collections, excellent learning resources, changing displays, inspiring information, great gifts and lots of interactive ways to enjoy learning more about this truly unique place on our planet.
20. Play a round of stellar golf: Originating from a market garden in 1969 the course has been developed and expanded into one of the most picturesque and challenging courses in Australia. From the shadows of the imposing Mt. Lidgbird and Mt. Gower the course meanders through the lushly vegetated Kentia Palm forest out into the gently undulating open fairways along the ocean foreshore providing the golfer with many challenges along the way.