Living on Lord Howe Island


Magic moments under monumental mountains

Posted by Pinetrees Lodge – Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Petrels at Little Island on Lord Howe Island

Contributed by Denis Corcoran: With a picnic blanket under one arm and a basket full of goodies in the other, we’re off on a crusade seeking one of those magical Lord Howe Island moments.

We head to the ‘end of the road’ where we leave our two wheels and handle bars behind. It’s on foot from here - a 1.5km walk to Little Island.

The magic begins to build along the way, like a slow symphonic chamber of natural sights, sounds and smells as we edge our way closer towards the belly of the beast - the formidable and imposing giants of Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower.

We weave our way around the coast on a patchy track that criss-crosses puddles and the odd patch of mud, but hey, it’s organic. It’s soon apparent that this entire area is much wetter and greener than the north of the island as the moist forest floor starts to mesh with the wet sea shore. After a solid dump of rain, waterfalls tumble down the side of the two mountains and the cascades of water edge their way across the forest floor towards the lagoon.

But today, it’s not raining, and we’re hitting this location in its prime. The wind is in the east, there’s piercing blue sky up high and the forest floor is damp enough to smell (but not wet enough to tickle the canvas linings of my shoes).

A few hundred metres into the walk we leave the open blue skies behind and enter what could be described as a black hole - the entrance to a corridor-like green tunnel. Once our eyes adjust, it’s simply spectacular. Underneath the canopy of the trees, another layer of magic comes into focus.

Huge Banyan trees, no doubt hundreds of years old, dangle from the sky, their trunks large enough to step inside. For a few hundred metres, these beasts of trees form the backbone of the ecosystem at the base of the mountains. This is a special part of the walk as the light at the end of the tunnel comes into focus just as the weight of the picnic basket begins to pinch.

The clearing appears soon enough and our eyes shoot skyward. We’re suddenly standing at the base of Mt Lidgbird and it’s so gigantic that we’re cranking our necks to catch a glimpse of the top.

We’re here for the magic show and it’s already begun. The blizzard of birds are in full flight, the huge waves are crashing into the rocks, and the ocean is roaring. There are multiple layers to this amphitheatre, and the place is truly alive.

We lay the picnic blanket down on the grassy enclave teetering on the water’s edge. We’ve got free front row tickets to the show.

As we sit down and begin to take it all in, there’s an overwhelming sense of gratitude. We’re so privileged to do this, to see this, and to feel this.

This is paradise in a glass. Lord Howe in a basket.

Cheers to being alive!

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About Dani Rourke

HELP! I have 2 children, 25 staff and up to 75 guests. I was a lawyer for 10 years, but escaped. My husband and I moved from Sydney to beautiful Lord Howe Island to run Pinetrees Lodge, which has been in my family for 6 generations. I'm writing about family business, island life and the whole work/family disaster. Did someone say balance? When I'm not writing, my lovely staff do it for me - they see more of the island than I do.

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