Let me take you to a place still untouched by the voracious tourism that comes along with social media. Last month I visited one of my favourite places in the world. Recognised by Australia as a National Heritage Item, and on a global level by its listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the entire place), the Lord Howe Island Group is recognised for its biodiversity (including a number of endemic animals and plants found only on the island/group) and of course its outstanding natural beauty.
Did you know that Lord Howe is the world’s most southerly true coral reef? This means that tropical coral and other sea life mix with cooler water species, resulting in a pretty amazing underwater world if you care to stick your head underwater to take a peek (which I did, multiple times, every day, with the Disney soundtrack for Arial running through my head).
Talking of mermaids (as we all do now and then, right?), this trip I decided I was going to learn to scuba dive. Push yourself outside your comfort zone and try new things every chance you get etc etc.
Even though I’m Australia and grew up right by the beach, I have always been a little nervous in the water. Come on…as if sharks can’t just sneak up underneath you in the ocean?
Long story short Aaron at Pro Dive Lord Howe is amazing and yes, you need to go diving with him. This very nervous first time diver literally had their hand held through most of the dive. Lucky for me this meant that I could actually enjoy and look around me (when I wasn’t busy focusing on not panicking about the fact that I was breathing underwater – which is really weird by the way!)
I have been coming to Lord Howe Island since I was a little girl, my grandparents having first ‘discovered’ the place for our family (arriving by sea plane to land on the lagoon!)
These days a small propeller plane landing on the Island’s little airstrip sees you arrive to this little crescent shaped paradise. Step out of the plane and look to your left, Mounts Lidgbird and Gowa rise emerald green against a blue sky. The air feels so fresh, if it was a colour I imagine a deep lush green.
The days merge into a palette of a myriad shades of blue and green, with flashes of white and red as the sea birds snap and swirl past.
In the lagoon to the west, or just off Ned’s Beach (on the eastern side of the island), fish of every size and colour flit past through rays of sunshine wavering across the white sand. And that’s saying nothing of the turtles, rays, moray eels and every other sea creature I tried to seek out.
Have I managed to paint a picture yet? I hope so! I don’t know what gives this island group it’s magic. Hopefully these shots can give you some idea…and no, they do not do this place justice.
Happy travel dreaming.