Lord Howe Island Tourist Destinations

You may never have heard of this remote, reef-fringed island before, but once you see it you’ll never forget it. That’s because Australia’s Lord Howe Island is a one of those New South Wales destinations that’s so photogenic it seems like it can't possibly be real. Located 373 miles off the NSW coast, under two hours by air from Sydney or Brisbane, Lord Howe Island rises from the sapphire-blue Tasman Sea in a dramatic, boomerang-shaped arc of rocky ridges, including 2,871-foot-tall Mount Gower. Completing the visual drama are dozens of white-sand beaches and a pale turquoise lagoon. Home to only 350 permanent residents plus a few intimate luxury resorts and small inns, Lord Howe Island welcomes just 400 visitors at a time. No wonder it bills itself as “The Last Paradise.”

If that’s not enough to make you realize that Lord Howe Island stands apart from other NSW tourist destinations, the island’s natural assets allow for a range of activities for adventurers, romantics and families. Divers can explore pristine reefs just offshore or explore the world’s tallest sea stack, 1,807-foot-tall Balls Pyramid, located nearby and renowned for the sea life that gathers at its base. Families can head to Ned’s Beach, where fish congregate waiting to be hand-fed, and Erscott’s Hole, a tranquil snorkeling area with more than 500 species of fish. Lord Howe Island is also among the unique honeymoon destinations NSW offers — it may look like Bora Bora, but it’s an active couple’s dream isle, ideal for both bird watching and hiking (it’s crisscrossed by trails and two-thirds of it is a permanent park preserve).

Best of all, when the sun goes down romance takes over at upscale lodges designed to showcase the island’s natural splendor as they pamper guests with tranquil suites, fresh-from-the-sea cuisine, Australian and New Zealand wines, and rejuvenating spas. And just in case you’re wondering just who Lord Howe was, he was not the man who discovered this paradise (that was Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball in 1788), but rather the British Admiral Ball honored, choosing to name the sea stack after himself.

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