Although only 11km long and 2km wide, Lord Howe is laced with dozens of delightful, well-marked walking trails; nearly two thirds of the island is a Permanent Park Preserve.
The choice ranges from easy strolls at sea level through lush kentia palm and banyan forests, to moderate cliff-top hikes where you’ll see seabirds wheeling on the thermals, to the challenging 875 metre Mt Gower climb – rated as one of the best day treks in the world.
Max Nichols memorial track to North Bay
1.5 km one way, moderate. This walk commences at the picnic area at Old Settlement beach. The track crosses a cleared paddock and then winds its way up to the top of the ridge. The climb is demanding, though made easier by the steps. The track then descends steeply to the picnic area at North Bay where there are toilets and barbecue facilities. Return can be either by the same track, or at the Dawsons Point Ridge junction take the track to Malabar, and continue down to Ned’s Beach.
0.6 km one way, moderate. The Mt Eliza walk starts at the picnic area at North Bay and climbs up to the summit of Mt Eliza, 147m above sea level. The track is very rocky and steep. From September to March, sooty terns nest along the trail and on the summit. During this period the track is closed to the public, to protect the birds and their young.
0.3 km one way, easy. This is a short level walk, mostly along a timber boardwalk, from the picnic area at North Bay to the small rocky cove known as Old Gulch.
Malabar Hill to Dawsons Point Ridge
1.5 km one way, moderate. The Malabar walk commences at Neds Beach, with the start of the track located off to the side of the road, before you reach the grassy section at Ned’s Beach. A climb up an open grassy slope to Pooles Lookout with its commanding views. From the lookout, the track leads to the summit of Malabar Hill, 208m above sea level. This section of the climb is interspersed with tree roots and rocks, and is of a relatively moderate grade. The track then follows the cliff edge to Dawsons Point Ridge, past Kim’s Lookout, you can either turn left and walk back down the Max Nichols Memorial Track to Old Settlement Beach, or turn right and walk down the many stairs that lead to North Bay.
Goat House Cave
2.1 km one way, difficult. Access is from Lagoon Road, turning left at the bottom of the hill after Capella Lodge. The track leads initially to up Smoking Tree Ridge. From this point you turn right and continue up the ascent to the Goat House Cave . The track up to the Goat House Cave is very steep, and is a demanding climb. The track is narrow and is interspersed with tree roots and rocks. There are sections of trail where ropes are used to assist the climbers.
4.5 km one way, difficult – only accessible with a guide. The Mt Gower walk is very hard and demanding, and takes about 8 hours to complete. This walk must only be attempted with a licensed Gide. Ask your lodge proprietor for contact details for licensed guides. In preparation for this walk, ensure you have adequate footwear and clothing.
Coastal Track to Boat Harbour via MuttonBird Point Lookout and Rocky Run
3.5km one way, moderate. This walk commences on Lagoon Road near the turn-off to the airport. It follows the eastern coastline. The track is narrow in parts and is interspersed with tree roots, rocks, fallen vegetation and leaf litter. Approximately 1.4 km along the route, a sidetrack descends a short distance to a lookout platform with views across to Muttonbird Point. The main track leads to Rocky Run Creek. Here you can branch off and follow the creek to the ocean, or you can continue the walk to Boat Harbour. From Boat Harbour, you can return along the coastal track or branch off at Rocky Run Creek and continue over Smoking Tree Ridge to the southern end of Lagoon Road. Follow Lagoon Road north up the hill past Capella Lodge and the golf course to your original starting point.
1km one way, moderate. The track to Intermediate Hill branches off 0.2km from the commencement of the Coastal track (see above). It is a steep and demanding climb to the summit of Intermediate Hill, 250m above sea level, but well worth the walk as the viewing platform at the summit provides some of the best vistas on the island including excellent views of Ball’s Pyramid. From there you can backtrack to Lagoon Road, or continue to Smoking Tree Ridge. The descent to Smoking Tree Ridge is very steep and extra care should be taken on this section of the walk.
3km return, easy. The Little Island track starts at the southern end of Lagoon Road. It is an easy walk along an old service road meandering through forest and arriving at a grassy section. The furthest location one can reach before you need a guide to climb Mt Gower.
1.2km one way, easy. This track starts opposite the Administration Office and goes part way up Bowker Ave before branching off through the palm forest and coming out along the fence line about the Pinetrees’ paddock. From there it climbs steadily to the summit of Transit Hill. The lookout platform on the summit gives an excellent 360 degree view. Return can be either the same track, or continue further for another 0.5km to Blinky Beach. This section of the walk is much steeper and slippery when wet. From Blinky Beach you can walk back along Lagoon road.
1.2km return, easy. The Stevens Reserve loop track is a walk that starts opposite the boat sheds on Lagoon road. The track is relatively flat, narrow in sections and is interspersed by tree roots. Interpretive signs along the way make this an informative and interesting walk.
Clear Place / Valley of the Shadows
1.2km return, easy. This is an easy, fairly level walk that starts at Middle beach, and continues around a large land slip, through palm forest and out to The Clear Place. A short diversion just before The Clear Place takes you down to the Valley of the Shadows.
0.5 km one way, easy. This track commences at the boat sheds, head south to the Aquatic Club blind the hind dune and continues south along the foreshore past the Pinetrees boatshed. It offers an alternative to walking along Lagoon Road. Another option is to take a stroll along Lagoon Beach. We’re sure you’ll find your own way along this one.