Lord Howe is unusual among Australia’s ‘holiday’ islands in that it has a permanent resident population. The island is home to around 350 people, many of whom can claim an ancestry dating back to first settlement. It’s a small, friendly and hospitable settlement, where there is no crime and the pace of life is relaxed. The most popular mode of transport is bicycle and the speed limit for cars is 25kmh.
The main industries on the island are the Kentia Palm Nursery and tourism. There is a limit of 400 tourists on the island at a time, which means there are just 18 accommodation properties to choose from, most of which are owned and operated by islanders. You’re sure of a warm welcome – your hosts will meet you at the airport – probably in bare feet!
Bare feet are ‘official uniform’ at the Lord Howe Island Public School, which caters for 32 children from Kindergarten to Year 6. Most island kids go to the mainland for their secondary and tertiary schooling, but the lure of Lord Howe sees most of them returning regularly, if not permanently, once they’ve completed their studies.