The pristine waters surrounding World Heritage Lord Howe Island are home to 500 species of fish and 90 species of coral, and offer some of the best and most accessible snorkelling and diving in the Pacific.
The sparkling lagoon is protected by the world's southern-most coral reef, creating a spectacular line of white surf against a blue backdrop of the South Pacific Ocean.
A State Marine Park was declared in 1998 and a Commonwealth Marine Park in 1999.
This is the world’s cleanest and clearest ocean: it’s like swimming in an aquarium!
With 11 golden beaches to choose from, you can find your own strip of deserted, sheltered sand. Neds Beach was voted Australia’s Cleanest Beach in 2004.
Swimming and Snorkelling
The calm waters of the lagoon are ideal for kids: paddle at the edge, or snorkel above colourful corals just metres from the shore.
Hire snorkelling gear from the dive shops or, at Neds Beach, use the masks, fins and snorkels stored there for the cost of a contribution to the ‘honesty box’.
Body surf at Blinky Beach, or swim in the open ocean at Neds Beach.
Lord Howe’s extraordinary marine life and crystalline waters attract divers from around the world to some of the best diving on the planet.
There are over 50 dive sites, including the famous Balls Pyramid, 26km to the south of the island. In addition to the coral reef, there is a spectacular underwater topography of trenches, caves and volcanic drop offs. Qualified local Dive Masters can show you the best sites.
There are a number of breaks around the island – mostly on the outside of the coral reef bordering the lagoon. Hire a board or bring your own (Note that weight and size limits apply on flights).
Hand-feed the Fish
At Ned’s Beach, metre-long kingfish, wrasse, silver drummer and other species are ever-present in the shallows. Take some stale bread and wade in up to your knees – you’ll be instantly surrounded by a feeding frenzy!
Glass-bottom boat trips
Learn about the fish and corals of the lagoon during a glass bottom boat tour. Your guide will explain the intricacies of the reef’s ecosystem as hundreds of iridescent fish gather beneath the boat to be fed.
Jump in with them for an up-close-and-personal experience!
Round-Island Boat Tours
A number of tour operators offer round-island sight-seeing trips in calm weather.
Visitors find it hard to suppress awe-inspired gasps at the spectacle of courting pairs of tropic birds wheeling under the towering cliffs which plunge hundreds of metres from the cloud base to the sea.
The best way to explore the more than 6km of beaches, bays and reefs within Lord Howe’s protected Lagoon - nestled in the belly of the island - is to hire a kayak.
Game/Deep sea fishing
Deep sea, reef and fly-fishing are excellent, year round. Fish from the rocks, or local boat operators cater to adrenalin-seeking anglers with game fishing tours in local waters.
The catch typically includes kingfish, yellowfin tuna, wahoo and other oceanic species – many of which end up on local dining tables.
Each year, numerous cruising yachts visit Lord Howe, anchoring in the lagoon and welcomed by the locals. The Gosford to Lord Howe Island yacht race is an October tradition, with over 20 yachts competing annually.
At low tide, don a pair of old sneakers and wander out to explore the reef, right off the beach.