For a small island – it’s only 11km long and 2km wide – Lord Howe is big on walking.
And it’s built for self-guided wandering. There’s about 14km of walking trails and there are thankfully no snakes or venomous spiders (unlike on mainland Australia). All the trails are clearly marked with signposts showing distances and walking times. You can even refill your water bottle at taps or streams at some spots, such as North Bay and Erskine Creek.
The island’s best-known trek is the epic, all-day Mt Gower walk, but there are plenty of other shorter walks that are just as beautiful. Here are five more must-do walks:
1. Transit Hill (2hrs return, 2km): An easy walk to a high point in the middle of the island, giving a 360-degree overview and a great way to get your bearings early in your stay. It’s a good walk to do from Blinky Beach, so you can cool off with a swim afterwards.
2. Little Island (40mins, 3km): A short, level walk that’s ideal just before sunset when you’ll see the day’s last rays light up Gower and Lidgbird towering above you. You might even see providence petrels coming ashore (see Birdwatching). This is also the start of the Mt Gower trek, so if you’re planning to do that one you can get a glimpse of what’s in store.
3. Malabar Hill & Kims Lookout (5hrs, 7km): Accessible from North Bay, this walk takes you up and over the ridge at the northern end of the island. From there you’ll see seabirds wheeling around the cliffs and take in possibly the best views of Lord Howe, all the way to the mountains at the southern end.
4. Goat House Cave (5hrs, 6km): If you don’t have a full day to climb Mt Gower, this is the next best thing and can be done self-guided. It takes you up to a cave on the north face of Mt Lidgbird and although it’s steep and exposed at the top, the views are incredible.
5. Clear Place (1-2hrs): This one takes you through an almost spooky, subtropical rainforest to reach a clearing from which you can look over the rugged eastern side of the island. If you’re going in the afternoon, allow plenty of time to walk out before sunset; it gets dark early in the forest.
Guidebooks and maps of walking tracks are available from Lord Howe Island Museum.