Lord Howe Island
Key information: Lord Howe Island
- Viewed with some justice as an island paradise, Lord Howe Island is blanketed in forests and palm trees and surrounded by crystal clear sea, which laps the immaculate beaches and provides a home to over four hundred species of fish.
- Limited visitor numbers maintain the pristine beauty, and do not overwhelm the small permanent community.
- Walking on the island takes you from the exotic palm forests and golden beaches at sea level to the misty forests of the two mountains which dominate the southern end of the Island.
- Maps and guides are available once you are there, tracks are well marked and vary in difficulty.
- Walkopedia rating81
- Natural interest16
- Human interest2
- Negative points0
- Total rating81
- Length: Variable
- Maximum Altitude: 875m
- Level of Difficulty: Variable
Formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago, Lord Howe Island appears to have been discovered only in 1788. On the World Heritage List, the island is often described as a paradise. With only a very small group of permanent residents and restricted visitors, it has not only beautiful scenery, but also an intrinsic peace.
The southern end of Lord Howe Island is dominated by Mount Gower and Mount Lidgbird, both surrounded by misty forests; whilst further north golden beaches, plentiful kentia palms and a lagoon bordered by the only coral reef this far south provide a heavenly setting for relaxation.
Wet and dry rainforests, abundant flora and fauna, rewarding climbs and views over wide vistas of dramatically blue ocean make this a thrilling place to trek.
The climb up the slopes of Mount Gower is the most challenging, although this takes only around 8 hours return each walk can be done in a day or less, and the size of the Island means you can unwind at the same place each night.
Numerous fish and bird species provide a great deal of natural interest, but the island is also fascinating geologically. It is an exposed peak of a volcanic seamount, at the southern end of a chain which extends for over 1,000km; the rock goes 1,800m down to the bottom of the ocean and is around 65km long and 24km wide.
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
New South Wales – Lonely Planet
There aren’t any books on Lord Howe Island which are currently available, however there are a number which can be found second hand – try www.amazon.com. Those available include:
Landfall the Unknown: Lord Howe Island 1788 – Evelyn Cheesman, and
Discovering Lord Howe Island – Jean Edgecombe
Maps of the various walking trails can be bought once you arrive on Lord Howe Island; if you want an overview of them, there is quite a good one at http://www.lordhoweisland.info/library/walking_tracks.pdf.
Best times to walk/weather
Best times to walk
Anytime! The average daytime temperature in the summer is about 25 degrees, in the winter it falls to 19 degrees. Neither is unmanageable, and there is shade all over the island, and an almost constant wind helps to keep walkers cool. In the winter, the only problem may be with facilities and accommodation, not all of which operate.
Average daytime temperature in the summer is 25 degrees, in the winter 19 degrees – the climate is usually fine, mild and at least warm from September through to May. However, the weather is also very changeable, and sudden showers and squalls can occur at any time of the year; the island is windy most of the time.
Qantaslink run regular flights from Sydney to Lord Howe island, using small planes (The luggage allowance is strictly 14kg). Once there, there is no public transport – you will be met by someone from the place at which you are staying, and from then on walking and cycling become the main methods of moving around. (Although there are a limited number of rental cars).
There are various walking trails criss-crossing the Island, offering stunning scenery and views, here are a few which we think sound great! (The times given may sound very generous, but given the often rough terrain and sometimes steep climbing, they generally have to be.)
The most challenging of these climbs Mt Gower (875m), following an unmarked track through scenery which changes rapidly with the ascent. The Island Board requires that walkers only undertake this with a licensed guide, owing to the difficulty of a sometimes very steep climb and the lack of markings. The flora and fauna along the way is often fascinating, and the views of Mt Lidgbird and over the Island are stunning. (Around 8hrs return, 14km)
The Goat House Trail begins at the base of Mt Lidgbird and climbs up through rainforest to Smoking Tree Ridge and carries on up the slope until you reach the 400m cliffs, with ropes put in especially steep places to help walkers. Here, you go left to find Goat House Cave. From up here there are great views of the settlement and, if you go round the ledge far enough, views of Ball’s Pyramid. (Around 4hrs return, 4km)
An easy walk, known as Transit Hill, begins at the Administration Centre, heading through dry rainforest up Bowker Avenue. It passes into more forest after following the fenceline of Pinetrees Paddock, and here there is a 360 degrees viewing platform. From this point, head south down the hill and you’ll reach Blinky Beach before following the road along the airstrip. (Around 2hrs return, 2km)
Possible problems, health, other warnings
See also the websites in our useful links page for more detailed, and up-to-date, information.
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk. Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Guided or independent?
You can walk here independently.
While this walk can be done independently, some people form or join organised/supported expeditions, and travelling with a knowledgeable guide has advantages. Expedition organisers include:
There is limited accommodation on the island, in order to limit visitor numbers, but there is a reasonable variety. Most of it is run by families, the smallest with just 4 beds, the largest with 85: while they do cater for various budgets/needs, there are not as many options as in more developed places.
Other information and tips
Useful websites and information
There are many websites with information on Lord Howe Island. Here are some that we think are useful or have been recommended to us.
Other things to do in the area
Feeding the fish (many species gather in the shallow water of ‘Ned’s Beach’ in the expectation of the daily feeding!)
Glass bottom boat trips
SCUBA diving and snorkelling
Golf, Tennis and Bowls
Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
share your experiences
Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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