The Locals' Guide - Lord Howe Island


Simple island, simple life

Posted by Pinetrees Lodge – Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Fishing on Lord Howe Island

Contributed by Denis Corcoran: The surreptitious seclusion of this subtropical island presents its few hundred odd residents an opportunity to forget or be forgotten. The island lends itself to a mindset where it’s easy to forget about the pressures that city life constantly churn up on a daily basis. The frustrations of not being able to find a parking spot. The rage induced from receiving a ticket. The rush or be rushed feeling of being wedged into a cattle truck commute. The speed, the noise, the air, and the fear. The pernicious influence of advertising billboards reminding you that you’re not quite there yet, wherever ‘there’ is. Your image, your assets, your job, your place and purpose in this world. It’s funny how it all starts making more sense the minute you slow down. When you remove yourself from these ephemeral bursts of pleasure and pain, of boom and bust, of insatiable drive and voluptuous lust, for things and stuff.

Minimising the ‘noise of life’ is therapy in itself. The centuries old methodology of meditative practices seek to reduce this everyday hectic-ness so that we can concentrate on what’s really important beneath all these discombobulated layers of life - the forgotten simplicity of it all.

It is this unadulterated truism which Lord Howe Island does so well and which makes it so appealing for visitors and residents alike. With no cell phones in our pockets, no public transport whizzing by, and no corporate advertising up in your grill.

Lord Howe forces you to forget those things, because they are not here. They don’t matter.

What matters is the strength and direction of the wind. Will the planes land?
The power of the swell. Will the fishing boats get out?
The rain from the sky. Will the tanks run dry?

In some shape or form, it is simplistic challenges like these that have been present in the lives of island residents even from the epoch of the early settlers. As they stumbled upon this slice of paradise in a rickety old boat, two mountains towering out of the vast blue rolling sea, broccoli-blanketed hills adorned with swarms of sea birds, the salivating thought of fresh water by the barrel load must of been like descending on the pearly gates of heaven itself. The mere thought of the taste of roasted bird over hot coals would have been enough to send them overboard swimming for shore.

Occupied with these anachronistic thoughts, I find myself ambling along on a bush track in the far south of the island, far from people, and far from anything that’s not natural.

This island can have that effect on you, throwing you back in time, slowing you down, simplifying things, capturing you in the moment and holding you aloft in its magical grasp, until reality beckons you back to earth with the squawk of an approaching bird. 

I’m not alone. The simple presence of nature is here with me and all I need to worry about is this moment.


The Locals’ Guide to Lord Howe Island is written by Denis Corcoran, Pia Funch, Luke Hanson, Geordie Tennant and Dani Rourke. We regularly visit the island’s iconic locations (and our secret spots) in different conditions, seasons and times of day (by foot, bike, kayak, boat and snorkel), and hope to share our experiences with you. If you need some travel inspiration, details on locations and the best activities, or just a brief online escape from your daily routine, then read our posts about life on Lord Howe Island.