Earlier this year I discovered a local gem with pristine beaches, stunning lookouts and a laid back island lifestyle that I fell in love with. Returning six months later I set out with the hope of uncovering and experiencing some of the island’s best spots, and I think I may have done just that! Here are some of my favourite spots to explore on the spectacular Lord Howe Island that you probably won’t find featured in any guide books, travel blogs or magazine articles.
Without a doubt my favourite beach in Australia. There’s no surf, bikini babes or local ice cream shops but the secluded cove and turquoise water make up for all of that. The effort of the bike ride keeps most people away… I just think of it as payment for the gift at the end!
The view from Malabar in the island’s North would have to be a close contender for the best Lord Howe Island vista, and certainly holds the underdog position when compared to the famous view from the summit of Mt Gower or picturesque Mt Eliza. I like to venture a little way down an unofficial path that leads off the clearing at the top of the track to a rocky clearing which offers an unimpeded view over the island. Time it right and you can watch in awe as the sun casts a golden glow across the idyllic landscape in the last hour of the day.
Old Settlement Beach
Staying at Milkyway Villas, I was lucky to have Old Settlement Beach, the island’s turtle hot spot, just a one minute walk from my bed. It’s crazy to think that at the start of this year it was one of my dreams to swim with a turtle and in the past six months I have had the chance to do just that on four separate trips! Old Settlement is often forgotten and at times even completely secluded, as the island’s ‘main’ beaches (Ned’s Beach & Lagoon Beach) are a shorter ride from the majority of accommodation places. Just you and the turtles; can it get any better?
Blinky’s Beach Cave
Hidden down the South end of Blinky Beach is a little sea cave carved out over millions of years by the violent winter waves that pound the Eastern side of the island. It requires a bit of a scramble over the rocks and is only accessible at low tide, but will always provide a stunning view to enjoy once inside.
I have only experienced the underwater world of Comet’s Hole once, but it was enough to take the top spot on my list of the island’s best underwater spots. The 8m deep naturally formed crater is a haven for marine life and the breeding ground for a huge number of local species; a natural phenomenon possibly explained by the unique presence of both salty sea water and fresh water that rises up through the sand. In just a few minutes under the water I came up close and personal with a Bull ray, a couple of sharks, a multitude of Butterflyfish and even a couple of rare Lionfish! (A first for me!).
At the very Southern tip of the island, Little Island is a secluded stretch of coastline where volcanic cliffs reach into the sky from the waters edge and the sea makes music as large black boulders wash over each other along the shoreline. In the late golden hours of the day, rare Providence Petrels soar above the volcanic landscape, untouched for millions of years as the sun sets out to sea.
When you wake up at 4am and hike to a secluded spot like Muttonbird Point, it’s scenes like this that make it all worth it. I was hoping to find some spectacular locations to witness the sunrise, and Muttonbird Point instantly stood out as the potentially perfect spot. East-facing, well signposted and perfectly set up with a lookout overhanging the cliff that points straight out to sea with the stunning point below, I’m surprised this isn’t one of the ‘must-visit’ spots on the island. If you wake up for just one sunrise on the island, this is your spot.