What to expect during Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring on Lord Howe Island
What to expect during Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring on Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island located 600km off the New South Wales coast is renowned for its spectacular scenery, important breeding grounds for colonies of seabirds, and its rich biodiversity including many endangered and critically endangered species not found anywhere else in the world.
Undisputedly one of the most unique and beautiful places in the world, World Heritage Lord Howe Island is made up of 75% protected park preserve, encompassed in a marine park, and is as fascinating as it is beautiful. With a legacy of world-class conservation projects under its belt, the latest project has been 10 years in the making and is the largest undertaking of its kind anywhere in the world.
Your involvement in our Conservation Volunteers LHI Program will assist in the species recovery of the world’s rarest insect as well as allowing you to participate in a program that will change the lives of critically endangered animals including the Lord Howe Island Phasmid and the Lord Howe Island Woodhen; all whilst enjoying the pristine natural environment of Lord Howe Island.
MAY – BIRDS – FEATURING PROVIDENCE PETRELS
Showcasing Lord Howe Island’s incredible bird species, including the Lord Howe Island Woodhen, one of the rarest birds on earth. With its thriving seabird colonies, Lord Howe Island is also a pilgrimage site for birdwatchers and was declared an Important Bird Area in 2008.
Lord Howe Island Woodhen: “During the mid-1960s the woodhen was one of the most endangered birds in the world, but with a successful breeding program and other conservation programs it has been brought back from the brink of extinction.” Australian Museum. Hear firsthand from locals involved in bringing this iconic species back from the brink of extinction.
Providence petrels: The only known breeding sites of the Providence Petrel are Lord Howe Island and Philip Island, NI. Included by David Attenborough in his series ‘Life of birds’ he described this species as ‘extraordinarily friendly to human beings’. You will accompany a team from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and experience the amazing phenomena of ‘calling’ wild seabirds down from the sky as you assist in research into the life of these rare seabirds.
Take part in Bird Species ID workshops, which contribute to Birdlife Australia’s LHI Bird Monitoring Project and participate in lectures and tours with local specialists and the Taronga Zoo captive management team as part of our current conservation project.
Partnering with: Taronga Zoo and OEH
May – Bird conservation
Lord Howe Island and its surrounding islets (the LHIG) are home to thousands of seabirds for breeding in spring summer. The island forest has eighteen breeding landbird species, and northern hemisphere waders visit the shores in summer. The LHIG was declared an Important Bird Area in 2008.
In May there will be a range of bird related activities for visitors
Partners: Taronga Park Zoo, NSW OEH
During the week of May 19 to 26:
There will be guided bird watching and Identification activities. Volunteers will be photographing and recording bird numbers for base-line monitoring pre and post rodent eradication. BirdLife Australia have teamed up with the Lord Howe Island Board and the Lord Howe Island Museum to set up a number of bird monitoring sites at well visited locations around the island. The data collected will flow into the BirdLife Australia Atlas and regular analyses undertaken to determine the health of the bird populations on the island.
While most of our seabirds migrate away during winter we will be showcasing the winter breeding Providence Petrels in a special week of monitoring with researchers Dr Terry O’Dwyer and Nicholas Carlile (Acting Principle Scientist) for the Office of Environment and Heritage. Visitors can go to the breeding grounds of the Providence petrel to experience the arrival of these special birds in a stunning mountain setting.
We will also be showcasing our endemic Woodhen. During the 1970’s the Woodhen was one of the most endangered birds in the world, but with a successful breeding program and other conservation programs it has been brought back from the brink of extinction.
There will be activities carrying out beach micro plastic monitoring and learn about the impact of ocean plastic on our seabirds.
JUNE –MARINE FEATURING SEABIRDS AND PLASTIC
Our seabirds are being impacted by ocean plastic debris. To combat this impact, Lord Howe Island has a number of successful community-driven waste reduction programs, working towards reducing single-use plastic and is home to a world-class waste management facility that diverts 86% of the island’s waste from landfill.
This project monitors both micro and macro ocean plastic. Plastic is collected off the beaches, sorted and classified into various categories then recorded into national databases, including Tangaroa Blue – marine debris initiative. Partnering with DPI Marine Parks LHI help survey Lord Howe Island’s diverse intertidal ecosystems and provide valuable data to help understand the issue and support solutions.
June – Marine conservation
Lord Howe Island is surrounded by marine ecosystems in near pristine conditions, including the most southerly coral reef in the world. These waters are protected by World Heritage Listed Marine Parks which cover over 110,000km2 of State and Commonwealth waters. These Marine parks are home to a globally unique mix of tropical and temperate species, including many which are endemic and occur nowhere else in the world. The Marine Park is also free of any known marine pests, and volunteers can help keep it pristine by participating in marine pest monitoring conducted by marine park staff.
Following on from last month, some of Lord Howe Island’s seabirds and marine life are severely impacted by ocean plastic so volunteers can also take part in workshops monitoring macro and micro plastics on our beaches. Data collected will be entered in national databases as a tool to understand the problem and develop solutions.
In June there will be activities to learn about the Lord Howe Island Marine Park and contribute to its ongoing management.
Partners: NSW DPI (Lord Howe Island Marine Park), University of Wollongong
Critters of the Sea – Invertebrate Biodiversity in the Lord Howe Island Marine Park
During the week of June 3-9:
There will be intertidal marine biodiversity activities, hosted by resident researcher. Volunteers will be given a presentation and induction to the marine macro invertebrates commonly seen on the reef platforms at low tide, and can assist by surveying plots to count and record these species. Later in the week a dedicated species identification session will give volunteers an opportunity to look up any tricky critters they came across (during surveys or at any other time during their visit) and help with data entry.
This survey project will assist research in to the habitat associations of invertebrates on the intertidal platforms, and help inform biodiversity monitoring program within the LHI Marine Park.
The week will wrap up with a celebration of the very special marine ecosystems surrounding Lord Howe island, coinciding with World Oceans Day on June 8th
JULY- INVASIVE SPECIES – FEATURING REMOTE WEEK
Invasive weeds are identified as one of the most serious threats to Lord Howe Island’s biodiversity and world heritage values. The Lord Howe Island Board has implemented an ambitious 30 year Weed Eradication Program to remove at least 25 priority invasive weeds. This program will be showcased in July with Volunteers having the opportunity to hike remote and settlement locations of the island to assist in weed removal with our experts.
There will be rainforest plant identification workshops and an opportunity to assist in the revegetation of Blackburn Island – a project aimed at preparing the island for the reintroduction of the Lord Howe Island Phasmid, the world’s rarest insect.
Partnering with: Melbourne Zoo
July – Plant conservation
Lord Howe Island has a diverse flora with relatives from around the surrounding Tasman Sea – Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand. The Island has 240 native plants species and nearly half are found nowhere else in the world. The Island has a network of walking tracks that visitors can take to explore and observe the rainforest close up.
Like most islands where humans have settled, introduced plants have become weedy and have the ability to displace the native species. Lord Howe Island is half way through a thirty-year intensive weed eradication program funded by State and Commonwealth government grants.
In July there will be activities to learn about the island flora species and weeding programs.
During the week of July 21 to 28:
You will be able to participate in weed eradication projects alongside the Lord Howe Island Board weed team. You will learn weed identification and removal techniques in native forest areas. There will be supervised activities removing Sea spurge from the island beach dunes to protect the seabirds and the dune biodiversity.
During this week there will be plant identification workshops and guided walks to different parts of the island to discover the rainforest plant species. Learn bout the evolutionary stories and patterns of island plant species.
You will be able to participate in a project with Melbourne Zoo and the Lord Howe Island Board to replant parts of Blackburn Island with native plants as a trial area for future release of phasmids.
AUGUST – INVERTEBRATES – FEATURING PHASMID CELEBRATION
Rodents are voracious predators of invertebrates. The loss of invertebrates is particularly significant because invertebrates play an important role in maintaining natural ecological functions on Lord Howe Island. Rodents are also responsible for the local extirpation of the endangered Lord Howe Island Phasmid, now found only on the nearby rock stack Balls Pyramid, the world’s tallest rock stack.
This month we will celebrate the discovery and revival of the rare Phasmid and the wider context of invertebrate conservation on the island and across the globe.
Partnering with: Melbourne Zoo and Australian Museum.
August – Invertebrate conservation
Lord Howe Island has a prolific invertebrate fauna, with relatives from around the surrounding Tasman Sea – Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand. The Island has about 1600 described invertebrate species, including 530 different beetle species and 130 different snail species. Having evolved in the absence of predators, many of these invertebrates were heavily impacted when rodents arrived on the island.
One of these invertebrates has received a lot of worldwide attention- the Lord Howe Island phasmid. This 10cm long stick insect was believed to have been eaten into extinction by the rats; however in 1964 rock climbers photographed a dead one on nearby Balls Pyramid and in 2001 scientists found living phasmids there. Melbourne Zoo has carried out a world class breeding program with the phasmids and have sent some of this rare insect back to the island for public viewing.
During this month (final date TBC) there will be a celebration of the re-discovery of the phasmid. Meet locals and scientists involved in the rediscovery of the phasmid, and scientists who have been successfully breeding the phasmids.
In August there will be activities to learn about the island invertebrate species.
During the week of August 11 to 19:
During this week there will be guided walks and workshops with invertebrate specialists with groups such as beetles or snails. This will involve carrying out a variety of survey techniques in different forest habitats and recording species as baseline data for pre-rodent eradication to compare with future surveys post-rodent eradication.
SEPTEMBER –PROTECTING PARADISE – SHOWCASING THE BEST OF THE BEST
September will showcase the very best of Lord Howe Island’s conservation and sustainability initiatives.
Lord Howe Island’s renowned pristine natural environment is maintained through world-class conservation efforts that began more than 100 years ago and continue today.
With a long history of successful and ongoing sustainability and conservation programs to protect and enhance the World Heritage values; Lord Howe Island’s sustainability programs have recently been recognised with five prestigious environmental awards in 2018. Winner of the 30th Anniversary Gold Banksia Award for excellence in sustainability for the island’s holistic approach over more than a century, the Lord Howe Island Board were also awarded the Banksia sustainability award for a government. Adding to two Green Globe awards for Regional Sustainability Award and the Natural Environment Award and a SERA (Society for Ecological Restoration Australasia) award, recognising Lord Howe Island as a flagship for sustainability, providing a model that can be shared by others.
These programs include the development of the tourist bed cap of 400 people at any one time, community-driven recycling and waste reduction programs and a world class waste management facility that diverts 86% of the island’s waste from landfill.
From a conservation and rehabilitation perspective the island has delivered many successful programs over several decades including eradication of feral pigs, cats and goats, a world-renowned Weed Eradication Program which is in its 14th year and our volunteer programs (inc: LHI Conservation Volunteers 2018), whilst recovery programs have brought species back from the brink of extinction including the Lord Howe Island Phasmid and Woodhen.
We are now on the cusp of one of the most significant conservation projects in the world in 2019 – the Lord Howe Island Rodent Eradication Project. The eradication of rodents from Lord Howe Island will have significant ecological impacts, with our conservation volunteers establishing important baseline monitoring data for this incredible conservation effort.
In September, we will also be focusing on specialised Marine Park projects that monitor endemic fish including the Lord Howe Island McCulloch’s anemonefish (Amphiprion mccullochi).
The LHI McCulloch’s anemonefish is an endemic fish, found only within Lord Howe Island Marine Park and nearby Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs. Due to its small geographic range, low abundance at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs to the north, and its reliance on anemones, A.mccullochi may have the greatest extinction risk of the endemic fishes for LHI Marine Park. This anemonefish is locally abundant at LHI where its host anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor) is also abundant. LHI Marine Park is the last remaining stronghold in the world for these anemonefish. Volunteers will be logging data on this and other endemic species which along with our coral health checks make up the key indicator species for the marine park.
Partnering with: DPI Marine Parks
September – Protecting Paradise
Lord Howe Island Marine Park has a high number of regional endemic marine species, many of which are found no-where else in the world. The McCulloch’s anemonefish are found only within LHIMP and nearby Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs. Due to its small geographic range and its reliance on anemones, they may have the greatest extinction risk of the endemic fishes for LHIMP. Ongoing monitoring is undertaken on these populations to provide consistent long-term data. LHIMP is the last population stronghold for this endemic fish and monitoring their numbers will provide valuable information on their conditions across locations on LHI reefs
In September there will be activities to learn about the island unique marine and terrestrial species.
Partners: NSW DPI (Lord Howe Island Marine Park), Southern Cross University and James Cook University and UNSW
Finding Nemo – surveying for endemic McCullochs anemone fish in the Lord Howe Island Marine Park
During the week of September 1-8
Join local marine tour operators and marine experts to snorkel and survey various locations within the Lord Howe Island Marine Park to record and document abundance of adult and juvenile McCullochs anemone fish and their associated host anemones.
Methods involve snorkelling, and participants will need to be competent at snorkelling techniques. No specific survey experience needed.
Due to its small geographic range and its reliance on their host anemones, McCullochs anemone fish may have the greatest extinction risk of the endemic fishes for LHIMP. Ongoing monitoring is important for these populations to provide consistent long-term data on their population numbers.
Would you like to spend your honeymoon scuba diving, snorkelling, or enjoying some of Australia’s least crowded surf? Or do you picture starting married life in a luxury suite, escaping from the stresses of everyday life. Perhaps you want it all! Lord Howe Island is an idyllic destination that has the perfect balance of action, adventure, rest and relaxation.
Escape to a paradise of solitude
A pristine paradise where time stands still, Lord Howe Island has everything you need to celebrate your nuptials and begin your life together. There are no high-rise buildings, no traffic jams, no pollution and nothing to spoil the view.
There is no mobile phone service and wifi is limited, offering you the rarest of opportunities – to be unencumbered by technology and live completely in the moment. As Lord Howe Island is a world heritage listed site, only 400 tourists are allowed on the island at any one time allowing you to enjoy an intimate break with your new husband or wife. It’s also just a short two-hour flight from Sydney, so you don’t have to fly half way around the world to enjoy your romantic adventure.
Experience an adventure unlike any other
Thrill seeking couples should check out one of Lord Howe Island’s impressive peaks. Standing at 875 metres, Mt Gower is the island’s highest mountain and is rated as one of Australia’s best day walks. The hike is a challenging eight-hour return trek, complete with rope-assisted climbs and dizzying drops. But once you and your partner are standing atop Mt Gower’s iconic peak, amongst the misty forest, experiencing breathtaking views of the island and its crystal clear waters, you will truly feel on top of the world.
Newlyweds can also enjoy the wonderful waters and beaches of Lord Howe Island. At Ned’s beach you can hand feed fish and snorkel the calm waters above colourful coral. Use the masks, fins and snorkels stored there for the cost of a contribution to the ‘honesty box’.
For those who prefer to go a little deeper underwater, Lord Howe Island’s abundant marine life and crystal clear waters attract divers from around the world to explore some of the best diving on the planet. The underwater topography of trenches, caves and volcanic drop offs give an awe-inspiring, unforgettable diving experience for you and your other half.
Relax in style
Couples hoping to unwind and de-stress after planning the perfect wedding, will love the island’s luxury spas available in three of the island’s luxury lodges, where they can enjoy calm and serenity in an idyllic setting.
Lord Howe Island has a range of lodges, guesthouses and self-contained apartments, for those who want peace and privacy.
Lord Howe Island is an intimate, exclusive, romantic setting for you to enjoy your honeymoon. QantasLink offers year-round scheduled services to Lord Howe Island departing daily from Sydney and Brisbane on the weekends. There are connecting services with Qantas from all Australian capital cities and with QantasLink from many regional centres.
Imagine you’re on a majestic and isolated island, the remains of a nearly seven million year old extinct volcano, teeming with some of the world’s rarest, oddest and most spectacular wildlife. You’re not in the Galapagos. You’re in Australia’s vibrant Lord Howe Island.
For nature lovers, Lord Howe Island provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a variety of unique species found only on the island. These species have evolved over millions of years to adapt to their unique and isolated surroundings – as varied as sandy beaches, dense rainforests, a sheltered lagoon, mountains, valleys and sea cliffs – all within an area less than 15km2 and bound by the southernmost coral reef on the planet.
Here’s our list of the most incredible species you can only find in Australia’s very own Galapagos, Lord Howe Island.
Not many species can claim to have been brought back from the dead. Yet, this is the fascinating story of Lord Howe Island’s Phasmid, a large stick insect endemic to Lord Howe Island, recently rediscovered on Balls Pyramid after decades of presumed extinction.
The large insect known as the ‘land lobster’ roamed the island in great numbers for years until the population was eventually devastated by rodents and the species was declared extinct in 1960. Fast forward 40 years, and upon further exploration it was discovered that the Phasmid indeed still existed in extremely small numbers on the remote Balls Pyramid. Now the incredible insect is protected and part of a breeding program at Melbourne Zoo The population is growing and eventually will be released back onto Lord Howe Island.
The Phasmid joins 1,600 other terrestrial insect species recorded on the island, with approximately 60 per cent found nowhere else in the world.
The Lord Howe Island Woodhen is a large flightless bird, only found on Lord Howe Island. Many thousands of years ago the Woodhen’s ancestors flew across the Pacific Ocean, making Lord Howe Island their home. Thriving in a natural habitat plentiful in food and lacking in predators, their numbers grew. Over time their wings became redundant as they lost the need to fly.
In the 1800s, as sailors visited the island, bringing with them introduced species and also hunting the bird as game, the Woodhen’s population declined to near extinction. By the late 1970s, there were fewer than 30 Lord Howe Island Woodhens on the island confined to Mount Gower and Mount Lidgbird.
Now listed as an endangered species, the Woodhen is protected and now flourishes on the island. Thanks to a rescue program which commenced in the 1980s, the population is now over 300.
3. Lord Howe Island Providence Petrel
From March each year, visitors to Lord Howe Island will be lucky enough to see tens of thousands of Lord Howe Island Providence Petrels descending on the island for the winter breeding season. Lord Howe Island is the only remaining breeding ground for the Lord Howe Island Providence Petrel in the world. The petrels are found on Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower, and witnessing their dramatic courtship flights and calls is a once in a lifetime experience.
The Lord Howe Island Providence Petrel is a large grey-brown bird with a wide wingspan of up to 105cm, making for a graceful sight when in the air. The species is classified as vulnerable due to its confined breeding areas and is protected.
4. Lord Howe Island White Eye
Lord Howe Island has over 170 sea and land bird species which visit or live on the island, and which visitors can enjoy when exploring the island’s many walking tracks. One of the most common is the Lord Howe Island White Eye (also known as the Lord Howe Island Silver Eye).
Endemic to the island, the bird is yellow-brown in colour with a white ring of feathers around its eyes. The small bird lives in the forests of Lord Howe Island and feeds on insects and fruit. The bird is one of 207 different bird species you can see on the island, 32 of which breed on the island.
5. Lord Howe Double-Header Wrasse
Boasting the southernmost coral reef on the planet and an extensive 25km² marine park, Lord Howe Island is host to thousands of marine species including tropical, subtropical and temperate fish species, 90 different coral species, starfish, worms, snails and sea urchins.
While it’s hard to choose just one species from such an abundant and diverse group, the Lord Howe Double-Header Wrasse is a standout.
The species is notable for its unique look and biology. It has a prominent bump on its head, giving it its name, is extremely large (about 80cm in length) and is blue-grey in colour.
Its strong teeth enable the species to crush the shells of its food, such as crabs, to access the soft tissue within. It then has a second set of pharangeal teeth which further grind the food. The hard tissue is released via the mouth and the soft tissue is digested.
The Lord Howe Double-Header Wrasse, like so many fish species in the area, only occurs in the subtropical waters of Lord Howe Island, Elizabeth Reef and Middleton Reef.
Lord Howe Island – Australia’s little piece of paradise rivaling the Galapagos – offers visitors the magical opportunity to become fully immersed in a spectacular and genuinely unique natural environment.
For divers looking for a once in a lifetime dive experience, diving Australia’s coral reefs is it.
Australia is host to some of the most untouched and abundant coral reefs in the world. UNESCO World Heritage listed Lord Howe Island enjoys the world’s southern-most coral reef, offering some truly incredible diving experiences.
Here are our five reasons why you need to dive Lord Howe Island’s extraordinary coral reef now.
Lord Howe Island is a remnant of an extinct volcano which has created a truly unique geography.
Divers can choose from the west side of the island which enjoys an extensive barrier coral reef, a sheltered lagoon and a sandy beach or the east side of the island which enjoys fringing coral reefs immediately offshore of its beaches.
Lord Howe Island’s unique underwater topography of trenches, caves and volcanic drop-offs creates an underwater playground unlike any you’ll see anywhere else in the world.
The world’s tallest sea stack, Ball’s Pyramid, located 26km south of the island provides some of the best diving in the world.
Lord Howe Island is located at the crossroads of five major ocean currents, including the warm East Australian Current which runs down the Great Barrier Reef and into the Tasman Sea. Combine this with the island’s isolated location and you get a truly unique marine ecosystem around the coral reef.
The reef exists within Lord Howe Island’s protected Marine Park and is subject to fishing restrictions, meaning that marine life is abundant. The reef is host to over 90 species of coral and 500 tropical, sub-tropical and temperate fish species, many of which are endemic to the island.
On a dive at Lord Howe Island you can see a number of incredible fish species including the Lord Howe Double-Header Wrasse, McCullochs Anemone fish, Violet Sweep, Amberjack, Kingfish, Silver Drummer, Rainbow Runners, Trevally and occasionally Marlin, Wahoo and Ballina Angelfish. Spanish Dancers and dolphins make for a colourful and vibrant underwater world. You can even dive with sharks – Galapagos whalers are a frequent and harmless visitor. A variety of species of turtle also inhabit the reef.
Because of Lord Howe Island’s isolated location which is far offshore, the island enjoys some of the most crystal clear waters on earth.
Visibility is so good that those on glass bottom boats, swimmers, snorkelers and kayakers will have excellent visibility of the reef and its plentiful marine life. Visibility on a dive is up to an incredible 40m outside of the lagoon and up to 20m inside the lagoon.
For keen underwater photographers, there are countless opportunities to capture the many colourful and diverse fish species in these clear waters, with fish unafraid of humans and therefore easily approached.
Access to Lord Howe Island’s amazing dive sites is only a 10-20 minute boat ride from shore, and there are over 60 world-class dive sites to choose from. Dive sites range from beginner to advanced and average 25m in depth. More advanced dives are available at Ball’s Pyramid and include drift dives and cave dives.
For Australians, this means we have some of the world’s best diving on our doorstep. Located only 500km from the North Coast of NSW, Lord Howe Island is a short and direct flight from Sydney, Brisbane or Port Macquarie – meaning you could be having a once in a lifetime diving experience within hours.
Lord Howe Island is in a remote and protected location. Lord Howe Island has a truly pristine and untouched marine environment, with one of the most vibrant and colourful coral reefs in the world.
Experience a once in a lifetime dive experience at Lord Howe Island. For your chance to win 7 days and 7 nights on Lord Howe Island tell us in 25 words or less what paradise means to you. Visit www.lordhoweisland.info/competition to enter.