Lord Howe Island is just under two hours flight from Sydney or Brisbane. A safe island with no poisonous or deadly creatures, it offers superb weather: if it’s windy one side of the island, it’s sheltered on the other! Unlike other islands, Lord Howe isn't overrun by tourists or by tour guides – just an abundance of fish – to feed, snorkel and swim with and of course, to eat!
Our family have just had the pleasure of spending a wonderful relaxing long weekend on Lord Howe Island at the family-run Pinetrees Lodge.
Guests arrive on the small island (only 11Km long and 2Km wide) on a small QantasLink Dash 8 flight. You may as well leave your mobile off or on flight mode, as there isn’t any mobile network or wireless network - BLISS. We were met at the gate by one of the friendly Pinetrees staff to be taken to the lodge – then taken on a quick drive around to point out some of the islands features, beaches and great picnic spots.
With a vehicle speed limit of 25Km, bicycling is the favoured form of transport on Lord Howe. We were dropped at Wilsons Hire to collect our wheels for our stay: we hired bikes, one with a toddler seat on the back, but a full range of bikes is available, including kids bikes of all sizes, tag-alongs, and baby trailers.
Back at Pinetrees, we arrived just in time for afternoon tea with cake! Now, the food here is superb, from the full breakfast buffet to morning and afternoon tea and buffet lunch served on the sun-filled veranda. Pinetrees can also arrange a picnic or BBQ hamper dropped at a selected picnic spot (so you can spend the whole day out enjoying what the island has to offer).
A three-course dinner in the newly renovated dining room, or in summer on the veranda, always with a fabulous seafood option is all part of the all inclusive package at Pinetrees. Desserts are to die for and they also offer an early kids dinner, but DON'T offer your toddler some of the banoffee pie at that time of the evening if you want them to go to sleep in the next hour or three!
Pinetrees offers a range of cabin accommodation from simple rooms with en-suites to our lovely two-room cottage complete with kitchen facilities – but why would you need that when the food on offer is so wonderful! There is an onsite tennis court and racquets and balls can be borrowed from the games room, which has kids toys, puzzles, and a pool table and plenty of books and magazines to flick through.
The Lounge was where we met some of the other guests while doing some wine tasting before dinner, where the fire was going and a warm atmosphere was developing.
The island has a number of activites to fill your days, from a game of tennis, to a round of golf with some of the most spectacular views imaginable. Walking is popular, with both easy hikes to advanced climb treks catered for. The 8 - 10 hour, 875-metre rope-assisted climb to the summit of Mount Gower is rated one of the world's best one-day hikes. In warmer months try swimming at the numerous pristine sandy beaches, some with surf and others protected and gentle. Bring, buy or hire some snorkle or diving gear to check out the the most southerly coral reef in the Pacific Ocean.
More adventurous types can enjoy wind surfing, kite surfing and deep-sea fishing, as featured in the Sydney Morning Herald. Or take a more relaxed approach of cycling around the island, taking a cruise of the lagoon in a glass bottomed boat and watching a stunning sunsets with a glass of bubbles at the boatshed like we did.
Lord Howe is not the right place if you want theme parks and fireworks, but if you want the kind of family getaway where you can switch off, unwind, and relax then it is most definitely the place to go.
Pinetrees resort is now run by mum-of-two Dani, who took over the business this year. Her family has owned and run the Pinetrees business since the trade steamer days in the 1890's! Read the EB story "Dani's sea change" to find out more, or visit her blog & check them out on Facebook.
Marion and her family were guests of Pinetrees resort.
Lord Howe Island Fast Facts - SMH Traveller