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Travel Diary

Insider’s Guide to Lord Howe Island

What to wear, places to go and unmissable experiences on Lord Howe Island, Australia.

When I’m invited away on a travel assignment to photograph a destination the pace is go, go, go.

The fast speed is not exactly ‘normal holiday mode’, though what it gives me is an exclusive insider’s view of the ‘behind the scenes’ of a destination.

The best light at certain times, secret locations and insider tips.

 Which is pretty exciting, like a fast track way to discovering the unmissable experiences of a place – and that’s what I want to share with you, so you can hit the ground running and not miss a thing.

I headed over to Lord Howe Island with my husband Timothy O last month to shoot this story.

Here is my ‘Insiders Guide’ to Lord Howe Island.

Let’s go!


Above left: packing my linen Signature Smocks in black and white and white palazzo pants, coming soon  / Above right: my suitcase and camera bag ready for Lord Howe

What to Wear on the Island

For Lord Howe Island I packed easy and uncomplicated pieces.  It’s a physical island, you will be walking, cycling and swimming, so pack accordingly.

The mood of the island is relaxed and low-fi, so think thongs or sandals and running shoes.

Whenever I go somewhere tropical I always wear white shirts. Here’s a little secret for you-

Tip: the light reflects off your white shirt and back up into your face, giving you a glow and filling your ‘laughter lines’. Trust me, it works.

So, my key travel pieces for this trip were all white linen – my smock and some new palazzo pants which I’m testing out (and loving), my rust silk scarf and my trusty flat tan sandals, for all that running around.

And don’t forget to pack your hat and sunscreen.

Above left: view from the window seat coming into Lord Howe  / Above right: the QANTAS Link plane for regional flights at the Lord Howe airport

Getting There

You don’t need your passport, it’s in New South Wales!

Lord Howe Island is a crescent-shaped volcanic remnant in the Tasman Sea, which sits between Australia and New Zealand. It’s 600 km directly east from Port Macquarie in New South Wales.

Getting there is easy as, via a 2 hour flight from either Sydney, Port Macquarie or Brisbane.

For plane travel I always wear my Signature palazzo pants, because they are lightweight and comfortable (thank you elastic waist).

Tip: Be sure to get a window seat to take in the vast blues below as you fly over the ocean.


Above: looking through to the twin peaks of Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower and Salmon Beach

The Low-Down, Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island is a tiny island, and offers the luxury of pure escapism  – you can totally disconnect and immerse yourself in the natural experience, as there is no internet coverage to distract you. Love that!

The population on Lord Howe is tiny too, 382 people call Lord Howe home and they also cap the number of tourists to only 400 at any one time to preserve the Island’s precious natural environment.

The World Heritage Listed island is enclosed by a southern coral reef … and a shallow coral reef in the middle of the Pacific Ocean means one thing – waves. Lord Howe picks up powerful groundswell from the Southern and Pacific oceans throughout the year.

It’s a naturalists paradise where you enjoy the simple pleasures of life. The luxury is disconnecting and being close to nature – think barefoot and sea breezes, not high heels and air con.

The island is also very family friendly and there is something for everyone. My experience was a ‘luxury low impact’ adventure. You can scale mountains or relax by the water.

Above: Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island, nestled in the frangipanis and palm trees

Where to Stay

I stayed at Capella Lodge. It is Lord Howe’s luxury boutique accommodation on the west coast of the island.

It’s the only accommodation on the island which faces both the ocean and the mountains. The vista takes in the sheltered aqua coral reef lagoon and the twin peaks of Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower.

There are only nine luxury suites, so it feels very intimate and private while you are there.

Above left: the entrance to Capella Lodge / Above right: an exterior view of the two story Lidgbird Pavilion

Above left: me, shooting from the infinity pool at Capella Lodge  on the Gower Terrace / Above right: a detail of the fragrant frangipanis which are dotted around the island

Above left: fish scale wall tiles of the bar, all of the materials reflect the colour palette of the island landscape at Capella Lodge  / Above right: the newly renovated bar at Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island

Above left: gentle tones of the linen sofas at Capella Lodge, reflecting the colours of the landscape  / Above right: a view into the lounge and dining area at Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island

Above left: the plunge pool of the Lidgbird Pavilion  / Above right: outdoor shower and bath of the Lidgbird Pavilion.

Above left: a map of Lord Howe Island and some of my travel essentials / Above right: my bag in the Lidgbird Pavilion

First Things

I arrived just after lunch and threw my bags in my pavilion at Capella Lodge, then headed into the landscape.

I always like to get a feel for the area and understand the ‘lay of the land’ as soon as I arrive, so I don’t miss any shooting opportunities for the next day.

The island has long been recognised for its pristine natural heritage, around 75% of the island is permanently preserved as a marine park and subtropical rainforest. How great is that!

Above left: me, walking and shooting at Salmon Beach  / Above right: roadside signs to protect the native Woodhens

Above: Salmon Beach, with Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower in the background.

Above left: BLT sandwich with Capella Lodge smoked bacon, local tomato, lettuce and aioli / Above right: dining interior at Capella Lodge

Where to Eat

If you’re staying at Capella Lodge then you are in for a real treat. The food is phenomenal and wholesome.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, all taken care of and prepared for you. They have a regional approach to sourcing their ingredients, with lots of fresh produce from Lord Howe and New South Wales.

 I would recommend ordering the BLT sandwich from the restaurant for lunch and sitting on Gowers Terrace while dangling your legs in the infinity pool and taking in the vista. Ahhh.

The general stores on the island offer lots of grocery supplies and snacks too.

Above left: lush palm tree frond detail  / Above right: Lord Howe Island kingfish, caper cream, hot leaves, peas and radish at Capella Lodge

Above: sunrise view from in bed, from the Lidgbird Pavilion, Capella Lodge

Sunrise at Lord Howe Island

Sunrise would have to be my favourite part of the day and on Lord Howe experiencing a special morning like this starts the night before.

Tip: Make sure you leave the curtains open before you go to sleep, so you wake up to a beautiful sunrise view.

Raw unspoilt nature as far as the eye can see.

Also, remember that on Lord Howe the sun rises particularly early.

Don’t linger too long in bed – throw on your clothes and get out the door to head to Blinky’s Beach for the morning light.

It’s the island’s best east facing beach and it’s perfect to catch the morning light.

I walked into a breeding population of seabirds nesting – Sooty Terns for the birdwatchers out there.

With the prehistoric view of Mount Gower behind me, the birds soaring high in the sky and then diving down, I felt like I was in a David Attenborough documentary.

Truly not to be missed.

Above left: a Sooty Tern seabird  / Above right: the nesting Sooty Tern seabirds at Blinky’s Beach, Lord Howe

Above: a shack along the beach fringes of Lord Howe

Getting Around

On Lord Howe getting around is very easy. You can either walk or I would recommend riding a bike.

You can hire a car, you just can’t go faster than 25km p/h. I went by bicycle which was supplied by Capella Lodge and had the best time, and a few near misses, but that’s half the fun!

You are able to see and do a lot of things, as Lord Howe is such a small island.

Above left: a young lad jumping off the jetty / Above right: the jetty at Lord Howe

Above left: always action happening at the jetty  / Above right: local fresh fish

Above: the view at Ned’s Beach, Lord Howe Island

Snorkel, Swim and Feed the Fish at Ned’s Beach

At Ned’s Beach you can get up close and feed the fish in the clear calm aqua water.

I was expecting tiny fish, but they were rather large. Eeek – I warned you!

You can hire snorkels and fins from the shed by throwing a couple of bucks in the honesty box. How great is that – old school and charming.

You can also put some dollar coins in the fish food dispenser (a modified gumboil machine) to feed the fish.

Tip: This is best to do at low tide and remember to bring some dollar coins for the fish food and honesty box.

Above: the fish at Ned’s Beach at low tide in the crystal clear water

Above: Ned’s Beach, Lord Howe Island

Have a BBQ on the Beach

Barbecuing is a ‘thing’ on Lord Howe, there are BBQs scattered all over the island, all in pristine locations.

There aren’t too many places to eat on the island, so this makes the ‘ol barbecue a very popular activity.

We decided to go to Ned’s Beach for a BBQ so we could see the fish at the same time.

Tip: Make sure you reserve a BBQ by throwing a beach towel over it first thing in the morning, so you’ll have it to come back to later, or you might miss out!

Capella Lodge arranged a BBQ pack for us, however you can head to the island’s general stores to pick up bits and pieces.


Above left: me, at the shed at Ned’s Beach / Above right: the vista at Ned’s Beach

Above left: Ned’s Beach  / Above right: A fresh fish from Capella Lodge, ready for barbecuing

Above left: one of the barbecues at Ned’s Beach, with a local fish  / Above right: looking out to Ned’s Beach from the shed

Above left: barbecue lunch at Ned’s Shed  / Above right: Lord Howe jetty, where all the charter and tour boats head out from

Above left: Dave Gardiner’s charter boat  / Above right: getting up close to Mount Gower by boat.

Take a Boat Trip

There is nothing better than getting out on the water when you are on an island.

We chartered a boat and went out on a scenic tour with easy going Captain Dave Gardiner and his wife Glenys from Fish Lord Howe.

Dave offers lots of experiences to take in the underwater beauty and wildlife of the area. The marine life includes sharks, dolphins, flying fish, whales, turtles and the seabirds.

Dave is also a photographer, so he knows the best spots and the best times of the day to view them. Legend!

Tip: To book a tour you can head to Lagoon Beach in ‘town’ and walk into Dave’s boat shed. Easy.

Above left: the emotion of the sea / Above right: abundant bird life at sea

Above: the volcanic remnants are home to many seabird colonies

Above left: interesting volcanic remnants off Lord Howe Island

Above left: reflections in the ocean / Above right: colonies of seabirds. This image is also available as a photographic print

Above: the sunset vista from Capella Lodge looking at Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower, Lord Howe Island. This image is also available as a photographic print

Catch the View at Sunset

This view is everything!

The view looking into Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower is best at sunset. Everything is glowing with golden light, even the cloud forrest on top of Mount Gower glows as the sun slips away.

This is when you’ll experience the real prehistoric feel of the island, like a lost paradise that time forgot.

Mount Gower is Lord Howe’s highest mountain, a challenging 8 hour return trek if you are up for a day trip. It is the iconic landscape of the island, breathtaking in its immense presence.

Just make sure you are back in time to look at it at sunset and admire the moment, it won’t last long. The best things never do.

Tip: The best place to enjoy the view is from land at Capella Lodge or down the road at Salmon Beach.



Above left: Mushroom arancini with truffle aioli on sunset at Capella Lodge/ Above right: Negroni, sundowners on the Gower Terrace at Capella Lodge, Lord Howe

Above: sunset from Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island

And that’s it from this Insider’s Guide. I hope you enjoyed the paradise escapism of Lord Howe Island and Capella Lodge.

I have also made available two photographic prints from this story, click here to view them in my print shop.

Kara x

P.S: If you love a particular photograph from my Lord Howe story and would like to request it as a photographic print you can to so by clicking here


P.P.S This is an unsponsored post


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12 Comments to “Insider’s Guide to Lord Howe Island”

    • Not the Lord Howe I visited last year. We enjoyed a down to earth time in our hiking clothes in good modest accommodation and we prepared our own lunches. We would eat out in the evenings and the food was excellent without being upmarket.
      It’s a place to relax in and to live with nature.
      What ever happened to getting back to basics for a holiday worth having – forget ‘hitting the ground running!

  1. Wow you have done an amazing job of telling the story of Lord Howe Island it looks so green lush and tropical I would love to visit this beautifully protected and respected Island. Very tastefull indeed is how the accommodation and the food looks not to mention the clean water.

  2. Love LOVE Lord Howe Island! …also love the look of those white linen wide-leg pants… I have your antipodean pants and have worn them once a week, every week since I bought them last year. They work in every season, and when travelling I hang them when I arrive and they’re smooth by the next day. Best pants ever.

    When will you have those white pants in stock??!! Will they be same shape/sizing?

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