Plan A Tropical Vacation To This Australian Island For Fun Outdoor Adventures

Lord Howe Island off the coast of Sydney is not your typical island paradise. While it does have the hallmark white sandy beaches, clear waters, and an array of amazing amenities, you won't find the throngs of tourists and jam-packed beaches typical of most tropical getaways. Instead, only 400 visitors are allowed on the island at a time, along with about 380 permanent residents, protecting this UNESCO World Heritage Site from the woes of overtourism. With no litter or pollution, it's no surprise that this island is known as one of the cleanest places on Earth.

You can thank an ancient volcano for Lord Howe's beauty. On shore, you'll find a combination of jagged basalt peaks, lush forests, and sandy beaches tucked undersea cliffs, perfect for hiking around the island or taking a stroll in the sunshine. Bird watchers may be able to spot some of the 207 species that call this island home, especially the hundreds of thousands of seabirds that nest in the area, more than anywhere else in Australia.

Things to do on Lord Howe Island

Ned's Beach is an ideal spot for family adventures, as the shallow waters provide a haven for children while giving them the chance to view wildlife up close. Grab a handful of fish food from the nearby dispensers, and you'll have scores of mullets, garfish, bluefish, and others come over to say hello. While it's never a good idea to feed wildlife, in this case, it's an island tradition allowed within a 165-foot radius along the sandy channel.

Just offshore, you'll find a world-class diving destination. Not only is Lord Howe Marine Park the southernmost coral reef in the world, but the merging of warm and cool waters creates a diverse marine ecosystem unlike anywhere else in Australia. Of the 500 species of fish and 90 species of coral, many are unique to this area, giving visitors the chance to see marine life they won't spot anywhere else. More than 50 diving spots draw in nature lovers from all over the world. Keep your eyes peeled, as dolphins, turtles, whales, seals, and sea lions frequent the area.

How to get there and accommodation

Lord Howe Island is about 435 miles off the coast of Sydney. There are no ferry services available. So, unless you have your own boat, the best way to get there is a two-hour flight. Qantas has daily flights starting at $1285 for a round trip, though prices are subject to change depending on when you fly. Accommodation is limited, so you'll need to book your stay simultaneously as you book your flight.

From one-bedroom apartments to luxury lodges, there are 21 properties to choose from, depending on what you're in the mood for. For example, a one-bedroom apartment at Waimaire ranges from $390 to $490 per night during the off-season and $590 during peak season. On the higher end, a stay at Capella Lodge with premium amenities could cost $2600 to $4200 per night, depending on your travel dates.

To conserve the island's resources and protect the natural environment, keep in mind that only 400 visitor beds are available at any given time. The peak season for travelers is September through May, so it's best to lock in your plans as early as possible. While you're not quite renting a private island, this might just be as close as you can get. With so few people and unspoiled scenery at every turn, it's no wonder the island's slogan is "Just Paradise." Here, they mean it.