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Old 11th October 2020, 09:40 AM   #1
KeithMEL
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Default Lord Howe Island - October 2020

Just came back from a week in Lord Howe Island. Were it not for international / interstate lockdowns, it's probably not a destination I'd have considered in the short term versus overseas or further afield interstate. But as the Tourism Australia campaign urges, 2020 is the year to #HolidayHereThisYear.

Within our limited choice of available domestic / intrastate destinations I was determined to go somewhere that:
- Is bucket list worthy
- Involves flying
- Has great beaches
- Is suitable for a week of 'doing nothing'
- Doesn't involve interstate border hassles - the Public Health Order imposed on travel to Lord Howe Island due to their limited medical facilities caused a bit of grief but it was repealed in time for our trip.

Located just a 2 hour flight out of Sydney, in the Tasman Sea between mainland Australia and NZ, Lord Howe Island met the brief and more. It's remarkable how I didn't even have to leave the state, yet arrive somewhere that feels like a whole world away. Like I keep telling people, Lord Howe Island reminds me of the Greek Islands; only swap lovely Greek people with equally lovely Lord Howe Islanders (has the vibe of a small country Australian town), hearty and generous Greek cuisine with no less hearty and generous country pub food, and minus Emirates First Class for us Sydneysiders. As a bonus, it's 20 hours closer than Greece, which means zero jetlag. During daylight savings there's no time difference with Sydney and Melbourne but outside daylight savings Lord Howe Island is 30 minutes ahead of Australian Eastern Standard Time.

Plus, I also got to tick a new aircraft type and airport off my list! First time on a Qantaslink Dash8 Q200, the smallest in the Qantas fleet. And landing at the very short air strip at LDH was quite the experience.

Those Orwellian images of normally bustling airport hallways totally devoid of people are definitely not exaggerating. Apart from staff, we were usually the only people at the airport, and at one point had the Qantas Lounge to ourselves. If you're normally only eligible for the Qantas Club, you get a 'free upgrade' to the Business Lounge which is otherwise reserved for Business, QFF Platinum+ and OWE pax. The service on QantasLink surprised me - I was expecting very bare bones service due to all the COVID safety measures, but we got generous pours of wine- a choice between a very quaffable Shiraz Cab or Chardy (both from Angove).

https://www.instagram.com/p/CF5nylGj..._web_copy_link

The magic starts immediately upon finals.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CF6B0zzj..._web_copy_link

The foreshore and main lagoon, a short walk away from our accom:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CF6NtHNj..._web_copy_link

https://www.instagram.com/p/CF8WcxRj..._web_copy_link

https://www.instagram.com/p/CF82LeWj..._web_copy_link

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGEmoIiD..._web_copy_link

Probably because it's quiet being the first week after the island's reopening, we almost literally had all the beaches to ourselves. Then again it never really gets busy on Lord Howe Island due to the strict limit on visitor numbers (400 per day).

There is jawdropping natural beauty at every turn... the jetty where you can find a lot of the locals fishing:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CF8VQB4D..._web_copy_link

Old Settlements Beach - we missed the Hemsworths who were also at the same beach 24h earlier... This is also the place to spot sea turtles if you venture out to the reef.
https://www.instagram.com/p/CGG0WMnj..._web_copy_link

Lord Howe Island waters see lots of fish:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CF8Vrncj..._web_copy_link

You can spend hours and hours hand feeding the fish at Ned's Beach. Lots of king fish, silver drummers and bluefish:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CF81GfwD..._web_copy_link

https://www.instagram.com/p/CF_fPFGD..._web_copy_link

The island also sees lots of seabirds - the diversity of wildlife here is just amazing:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CF-Vr-oj..._web_copy_link

A boat trip out to see Ball's Pyramid is a must. We also saw several pods of dolphins along the way and several types of fish we wouldn't see in shallower waters:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CF-54kIj..._web_copy_link

Snorkelling here was an amazing experience, and much better than up north in the Whitsundays! I need an underwater camera for next time...
https://www.instagram.com/p/CGCToyoD..._web_copy_link

The water is admittedly a bit too nippy for a swim at the beginning of the trip but was glorious when it got warmer towards mid October. We wanted to take advantage of a public holiday in NSW which reduced the number of annual leave days we needed to use. But I'd probably suggest coming here in November or December when it'd be truly nice and warm for swimming.

It was so difficult to leave such a magical place!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGJpdFJD..._web_copy_link

We also had an amazing view of Circular Quay when we came in to land at SYD - again the terminal was totally deserted apart from the 6 of us who arrived from LDH:
https://www.instagram.com/p/CGJpu_ej..._web_copy_link

When this whole COVID mess is over, do consider a trip to Lord Howe Island if you're looking for an amazing spot in Australia to relax and disconnect!

Feel free to AMA.
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Last edited by KeithMEL; 11th October 2020 at 05:02 PM..
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Old 16th October 2020, 01:55 AM   #2
Pinkfloyd
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Fantastic pics! Love the clear waters....
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