The Locals' Guide - Lord Howe Island


To hike or bike

Posted by Pinetrees Lodge – Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Contributed by Denis Corcoran: Decisions like these are about as hard as life gets on Lord Howe Island. The island’s leisurely 25km/hr speed limit is somewhat symbolic of the pace of life on this subtropical island. Slow and steady. However if you want a quick perv at Lord Howe Island’s natural curve, then ‘get on your bike’. From north to south is a paltry 25 minute cycle, and that’s not even breaking the law pushing past the 25km limit needed to turn heads.

A cycle around the island can cover you some serious ground, ticking off the ‘best of’ attractions in no time. But before you start spinning two wheels, here’s some hot tips.

Avoid Joys Hill, at all costs. It claims many victims each year, fact. Don’t think you’re too good of a cyclist to not be a statistic, sometimes it’s just the chain that will skip, the car that won’t see you, the brakes that don’t brake. Slow and steady if you must, but don’t whizz because you’ll bounce. There’s no joy to be found on this hill.

Respect the speed limit - there’s no need for speed on Lord Howe.

Always wear your helmet. When Ronald McDonald said ‘make it click’, he was metaphorically referring to the bike helmet chin straps on Lord Howe. If it’s not big Ron who’ll be disappointed it will the the local copper who’ll be busting ya nut, and quite rightly, he’s the one who has to scrape your skin up off the tarmac here. No one wants to do that, so buckle up sunshine.

Cruising around on a bike is what you do on Lord Howe. It’s part of the fabric of the community. Embrace the pace. Respect the law. Wave at everyone.

However if two wheels ain’t your thing then you’re on two legs and a hike around some of Lord Howe Island’s seven peaks is what you've got in store for the soles of your feet.

With around ten different official walking trails, the intrepid hiker has a walk for every occasion. Walking on Lord Howe is as safe as you’ll get anywhere in Australia. No snakes, no poisonous spiders and nothing aggressive like a swamp crocodile or angry tourist-only ‘drop bear’. All the island’s trails are clearly marked with sign posts at the start and finish, some of them with little maps along the way showing you where you are.

It’s worth noting, that hikers should stick to the paths and not wander off blindly following multi coloured tags or tapes around trees. These are sporadic and are not walking tracks, rather signs for the local rangers who use them for various environmental projects.

Like any hike, plan for plenty of sunlight hours, it gets dark quickly beneath the canopy of the trees. Carry water and if setting off alone, let someone know where you’ve gone.

That’s all the scaremongering this article will do. A hike on any of the bush tracks on Lord Howe is a liberating and wholesome experience. The absence of others, the serenity of the bush and the vistas that surprise you are a real treat.

Life is already pretty slow on Lord Howe, but if you want to take it right down another notch, go for a hike and let the simplicity of nature stop you in your tracks.


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.