Discover Lord Howe Island

Discover Lord Howe Island An ecological wonder

Known for its natural beauty and rich biodiversity, Lord Howe Island is located in the Tasman Sea 700k northeast of Sydney. In 1982 the Island was given World Heritage Listing; in 2020, it was recognised by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s top five travel destinations. A year later, National Geographic named Lord Howe one of the best destinations in its Best of the World list. Yet despite the growing renown, the island’s cap of 400 tourists ensures that it continues to feel remote and unexplored.

Recognised as a World Heritage Site, an incredible 85% of the island is still covered in its native forest and 70% is completely protected in a Permanent Park Preserve. The Lord Howe Island Marine Park surrounds the island by 12 nautical miles on all sides, protecting the area’s unique marine diversity. The Administration Board and the population of 350 permanent residents are committed to preserving the island environment at all costs.

Exceptional for its scenic beauty, Lord Howe Island is a remnant of a long extinct volcano. Erosion over millions of years has created distinct and diverse landscapes within the island’s 14.5 square metres. From an 875-metre-high mountain towering straight up from the sea, to a turquoise lagoon fringed by white coral sand beaches to the most southerly coral reef in the world: there is so much to explore on one tiny island.

This varied landscape, combined with the island’s isolation has resulted in a diverse array of habitats which are home to many distinctive flora and fauna groups, some of which can be found nowhere else in the world. Any amazing 240 species of plants have been recorded, 113 of which are unique to this island. Look up to discover the hundreds of thousands of breeding seabirds from 14 different species that flock to Lord Howe. Look down to spot the 1600 terrestrial insect species, 60% of which can be seen nowhere else. Look carefully, and you might even spot the Lord Howe stag beetle, with its metallic green wings.

The exceptional nature of Lord Howe does not stop at the shoreline. The Marine Park protects a unique mix of temperate, subtropical and tropical species. Some 500 species of fish visit these waters, which are also home to over 80 species of coral and various cetaceans. Bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales are frequent visitors. Only a few metres off the beach, snorkellers can commune with this huge diversity of fish, coral, algae and other marine creatures.

Lord Howe Island is a unique, protected paradise that we are lucky enough to call home. We invite you to explore this oasis with us and bear witness to its ecological splendour.

Living on Lord Howe

Outside my front door is the Island rainforest – alive with the calls of rare endemic birds. A 30-minute walk through the palm forest and into the hills takes me to 200-metre-high cliffs, and from there I can see many of the Island’s 14 seabird species, which breed in tens of thousands every year. The Island’s mountain-summits are slightly less accessible, but where else on such a short trek, could one enter a mysterious “coal age” mist forest, clad with mosses, ferns and ancient flowering plants, most of which are totally restricted to that environment. Alternatively, if the mood takes me, I can motor out in my dinghy to the Island’s coral reef (in less than five minutes) and snorkel over a dazzling realm of colourful corals and fish, whose myriad variety stuns the senses.

A Guide to World Heritage Lord Howe Island Ian Hutton, Naturalist

SNAPSHOT: LORD HOWE ISLAND

1788
"Discovered"
1982
World Heritage Listed
Home to:
*240 species of native vascular plants * 100 species of moss * 14 different species of seabirds * 18 different species of landbirds * 47 species of regular and rare visiting birds * 3-4000 species of invertebrates (creatures without a backbone like snails, spiders and ants) * 500 species of fish * 350 permanent residents (with a cap of 400 tourists)
85% of Island
Still covered in native forest
70% of Island
Protected by Permanent Park Preserve
12 nautical miles
Distance Lord Howe Island Marine Park extends beyond the island
551m tall
Balls Pyramid - the highest sea stack on the planet
875m high
Mount Gower - rising almost straight up from the sea