Love Jurrasic World and all things prehistoric? Skip flying all the way to the ancient Daintree Rainforest and make a beeline for Lord Howe Island instead, right here in NSW. The small island has been dubbed Australia’s most exclusive luxury island. So much so, that only 400 people are allowed on the island at any given time so you’ll need to put some work into planning your trip. Located off the coast of NSW, just two hours by air, it’s filled with picturesque beaches, lush subtropical forests and crystal clear water making it the perfect getaway for those seeking a quick and relaxing escape from the city. Aside from consistently being named one of the world’s best destinations, its dramatic, tropical landscapes have long been compared to Jurassic Park. Here’s everything to see, eat and do at Lord Howe Island.
Lord Howe Island, NSW
Aside from bearing a striking resemblance to Isla Nublar, an interesting thing to note about this tiny island is that it’s actually a remnant of an extinct shield volcano, dating back over 7 million years according to the official website, so we don’t use the word prehistoric lightly.
Things to do at Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island is a paradise for nature lovers with endless opportunities for swimming, snorkelling, diving and other water sports. In fact, with over 60 diving sites, the resident Lord Howe Island Marine Park is considered one of the best diving spots in the world. Its many famed beaches to explore include Binky Beach where you can ride the waves without the crowds. If you want an even more private experience, you’ll want to seek out North Bay, at the North of Lord Howe, a beach so secluded you can only get there by foot or water.
Another must-see is the towering Ball’s Pyramid. At 551 metre, it’s the world’s tallest sea stack and the erosional remnant of a shield volcano. Lord Howe Island is also home to the world’s southernmost coral reef ecosystem which offers an unforgettable diving experience.
There are plenty of opportunities if you prefer staying on land. For a hit of golf, head to the picturesque Lord Howe Island Golf Club or try and tackle the day trek to Mount Gower or the challenging six-day Seven Peaks Walk. It’s also an excellent bird-watching destination with over 130 recorded species to see.
As for accommodation, there are a number of luxury lodges and family-friendly stays to choose from. Popular luxury spots in Lord Howe Island include Pinetrees Lodge which was ranked the Top Hotel in Australia and Top Hotel in the South Pacific by Tripadvisor, Capella Lodge, and Arajilla Retreat. Capella Lodge is the place to book for all the Jurassic-Park-like vibes and then some. Find more accommodation options here. Keep in mind, there are only 400 beds on the island so you’ll need to plan well in advance.
How to get there
This picture-perfect island is so remote that the only way to get there is by sailing your own yacht or by air. Luckily for us here in Sydney, this surreal part of the country can be reached in just about 2 hours by air with flights departing daily. Regular flights from Port Macquarie and Newcastle are also available. Whether or not you manage to snag one of the 400 beds is another story.
What is the best time to visit
The warmer months between September and May are perfect to visit Lord Howe Island but it’s an excellent spot all year round as the days remain sunny and warm even during the colder months. The summer months are ideal for swimming and water activities with average temps being 30-40 degrees Celsius.