Published: April 17th 2011April 17th 2011
Lord Howe Feb 5th – 12th 2011
Lord Howe is a small volcanic island in the Tasman Sea 570 Km from Port Macquarie. It is officially part of NSW; it is about 11km long and 2.8km wide at its widest point, it was listed as a world heritage site in 1982 and when you get there you see why. Port Macquarie is about 2.5hrs drive south of where we live and the flight to Lord Howe was 1.5hrs, so pretty much round the corner in Australian terms.
Everyone we talked to who had been before said a week would not be long enough and everyone was right.
When we arrived at the airport in a 36-seater plane (see picture of the runway to see why) we were greeted by our host Ginny and driven the 5min drive to our accommodation at near the speed limit of 25km per hour. On route we were taken via the bank, Joy’s shop and the bottle shop to get some basic provisions.
We then went to Mary Challis cottages where we were staying, we were in one of 2 comfortable and private 1-bed cottages on a smallholding where Ginny and Bill
live. We were a mere 2-minute walk from the stunning lagoon with crystal clear blue water. The temptation was too much and we were in as soon as our swimmers were located.
Next stop was Howea Divers a 5 min walk to book some diving; we had already emailed Brian and warned him of our arrival.
That night we booked a table at Humpty Mick’s one of the local eateries and were surprised to hear that we got the last available table. When we arrived it was one of their themed nights this one being pirates, apparently about 80% of the cliental were locals and this was a big night with live music. My favourite costume was on a holidaymaker, he improvised adorning himself in a sheet from his accommodation in the form of a roman citizen with a hand written note pinned to him identifying him as Pontias pirate! The night evolved into a very entertaining evening as people got more and more trashed. Stephanie was asked to dance by a young guy of about 19-20, and as she said at the time if he wasn’t so drunk she may have been flattered, as he left our table
he accidentally spilt beer down her arm just to prove the point.
The next morning we woke to blue skies and our first dive, with Vis of about 30metres, with pristine coral, interesting gutters and lava tubes to explore we were not disappointed, our second dive at the arch was just as good and the greeting committee of sweet lips were there as promised.
We then called in to Wilson’s hire to rent some bikes, as this was the preferred method of transport for most visitors. There were some people from the posh resort Capella Lodge who drove golf carts around in preference. We then decided to have a cycle around to get our bearings and have a look at some of the alternative eateries on offer for the week. That night we ate at the bowling club which was almost next door to us; we had king fish for the 2nd night in a row and found it on the menu everywhere we went. Our next-door neighbour went on a fishing trip and they caught 40 between them proving why. We dived again on the Monday and the Vis was even better at about 40 metres at Malabar west.
A little deeper today and mooch around a cave as a bonus. The other thing that was noticeable was that on every dive we saw multiple painted Cray fish proving that marine parks work, as we never saw them on any menus. We then cycled over the island at its narrowest pint to Ned’s beach, which has stunning coral accessible with snorkel and fins, we also witnessed the fish feeding which happens daily from the beach, the fish included trevally, king fish and the elegant wrasse aptly named with it’s beautiful colours.
The next day we dived again at Malabar as the weather was not as good as we had hoped, we got part way to Ball’s Pyramid but had to turn round as the sea was too big for the extended journey, and the site would not have been safe as it is very exposed. We had that afternoon off and did some island sightseeing, cycling and walking to little island at the base of Mount Gower.
The following day proved unsuitable for diving due to the swell, and we decided to have a go at climbing/walking to the top of Malabar instead of diving it, having got the
top of the first of 2 peaks we saw a massive black cloud heading our way from Mt Gower, we took cover for a while but decided to go back as we really did not have suitable footwear for wet weather and hills. As you would expect by the time we got down the rain had stopped and the sun was shining again. So back to Ned’s beach for more snorkelling.
Our final day saw the weather good for diving, something we could not do as we were flying the following morning. So we went walking/climbing again this time to Transit Hill where the views again were spectacular taking in both sides of the island. That night we went back to Humpty Mick’s with Brian from Howea divers and John and Chris, 2 divers we had met there from the central coast.
We loved Lord Howe, uncrowded, beautiful and perfect for water babies and definately have to go back as our underwater camera housing did not arrive on time due to delay in delivery from Cairns re-cyclone YASI.
There are more photos below