by Kay Donnelly, March 2016
Lord Howe Island – just two hours flying from Sydney, and what a little gem. World heritage listed, it packs so much in to its 11km length and 3 km width (at the widest point).
The flights to and from are operated by Qantas Link Dash8 prop jet aircraft, and strict luggage conditions apply, due to the weight requirements for take off and landing on the island airstrip.
Resident population is about 340 and visitors are capped at a maximum of 400 at any one time. This coupled with the lack of mobile phone coverage ensures the visitor will relax. There are many opportunities to do so; secluded beaches and many easy walks through to the more rugged climb of Mt. Gower. Feeding the fish at Neds Beach, glass bottomed boat trips, bowls, tennis, bike hire, snorkelling and fishing trips offer the visitor plenty of choices. Not to mention the many restaurants on offer. Island life is casual, the children walk or ride bikes to school with bare feet, and we were warned to avoid the CBD at 3:00pm! School finishes then and everyone heads into the CBD to collect mail and newspapers which will have been flown in that day. With 4 shops and a post office comprising the CBD we were also told that the peak hours lasts about three minutes.
Lord Howe is home of the Kentia palm which is their main export, with seeds sent all over the world. The abundance of these palms adds to the tropical, relaxed atmosphere. Cars are few and speed limit is 35kms per hour. I think that is to allow the locals to give a wave to visitors along the roadside, as is the practice in the Northern Territory too.
One of our Travelling Ladies was heard to say, when flicking through her many photos, “I don’t think it is possible to take a bad shot of this place”. That is true, great scenery, friendly people, wonderful climate and relaxed atmosphere – all that is needed for a holiday break.