THE ONE HIKE
Almost 600 kilometres off the NSW coast, out in the Tasman Sea, lies a crescent remnant of an extinct shield volcano hundreds of millions of years old. With its subtropical forests, migratory bird colonies, craggy outcrops, sandy and pebbled beaches and deep circular rock pools, Lord Howe Island naturally attracts outdoor types. Although the island's main walking trails are adequately marked for independent exploration, it's advisable to tackle the magnificent yet merciless 875-metre Mount Gower as a guided daytrip. See lordhoweislandtours.com
THE ONE LAGOON
The island's western side is protected by the world's most southerly coral reef which, in turn, protects marine life. Photo: Pro Dive Lord Howe Island
The island's western side is protected by the world's most southerly coral reef which, in turn, protects temperate and tropical fish, hard and soft coral, reef sharks, stingrays and turtles. Lord Howe Environmental Tours' trusty glass-bottom boat, Coral Empress, has criss-crossed this lagoon countless times. LHET is owned and operated by a local family who are deeply passionate about the UNESCO World Heritage listed environment of their island home and will also take you kayaking on the lagoon and possibly even night snorkelling. See lordhoweislandtours.com
THE ONE SEA STACK
The world's tallest sea stack, Ball's Pyramid, is a 563-metre islet positioned 23 kilometres south of Lord Howe. This outlying remnant of the shield volcano is shaped like a massive magnetic termite mound. Talk to Pro Dive about submerging in its marine sanctuary surrounds. Sea to Summit Expeditions and Reef N Beyond offer sightseeing boat tours when conditions are right. See prodivelordhoweisland.com.au; lordhoweislandtours.net; visitlordhowe.com.au
THE ONE INSECT
Lord Howe Island is a unique ecosystem supporting many endemic animals, birds and plants such as the Lord Howe Island Woodhen and Kentia palm. It's also home to hundreds of terrestrial insect species found nowhere else on the planet. One of those is the Lord Howe Island Phasmid. This giant flightless honey-brown coloured stick insect was thought to have become extinct after black rats were introduced to the island in 1918 when steamship SS Makambo ran aground on Ned's Beach. Almost a century later, in 2017, a Phasmid colony was found alive and thriving on Ball's Pyramid.
THE ONE MUSEUM
Many of today's 350 or so island residents are descended from or married into the handful of families who settled the island in the 1830s and 1840s. Read between the whitewashed lines of the island's relatively short human history in the museum's display and old film footage. Resident naturalist Ian Hutton gives informative talks most weekday afternoons and guided walking tours on request. Within the same building are the visitor centre and Coral Cafe – arguably the island's most delicious and friendliest casual dining experience. See lhimuseum.com; lordhowe-tours.com.au
THE ONE GOLF COURSE
Lord Howe Island Golf Club – "the Golfie" – recently turned 50 and its fairways have never looked finer. At the south end of the island, overlooked by Mount Lidgbird, this nine-hole oceanside golf course is not unlike the standard local's description of living on Lord Howe: beautiful yet challenging. A social game costs $50 an adult and that includes club hire and green fees. See lhi.golf
THE ONE COCKTAIL BAR
The Crooked Post, in the old post office building, overlooks the lagoon. Its vintage verandah draws in locals, transient tradies, tourists, everyone. People perch along its broad railings in the afternoon sun sipping beer, wine spritzer or the week's "island inspired" cocktail or mocktail. There are bar snacks available too. Even more recently, Lord Howe Island Brewery opened at the plant nursery near Joy's Shop. See thecrookedpost.com.au
THE ONE LODGE
Family-owned Pinetrees Lodge lies near the southern end of Lagoon Beach. Photo: Elizabeth Allnutt
Pinetrees has been taking guests since the 1890s and is still owned and managed by a descendant of the business's founding family. Not far from the airport, but far enough away you won't notice, Pinetrees Lodge is a compact property shaded by massive Norfolk pines and banyans near the southern end of Lagoon Beach. The staff and meals are exceptional. Pinetrees is also proud of their onsite spa, complimentary guest laundry and lack of Wi-Fi. See pinetrees.com.au
ONE MORE THING
Some aspects of Lord Howe don't change. There's still no phone reception, the island speed limit is 25km/ph, seatbelts are optional, bike hire is as cheap as chips, everyone waves, wetsuit hire at Ned's Beach works on an honesty system and you can leave everything unlocked.
Elspeth Callender travelled as a guest of Pinetrees Lodge.