With its soaring volcanic peaks, turquoise lagoon, unspoilt beaches and rare plants, birds and marine life, ruggedly beautiful eco-retreat Lord Howe Island should bring out your inner David Attenborough.
This crescent-shaped South Pacific sanctuary, 700 kilometres north east of Sydney, is only 11 kilometres long, 2.8 wide and is bordered by the world’s most southerly reef. With just 350 locals, and visitor numbers restricted to 400 at any one time, you’re almost guaranteed to have one of its seductive beaches all to yourself. So whether you’re into swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving, or more mellow boating, birdwatching and bushwalking, this subtropical paradise should feel like your own personal Garden of Eden.
September to May has the best beach weather, with water temperatures hitting 25 degrees from February to April; cooler days from June to August attract hikers and an older crowd. Lord Howe Island has a perpetual spring climate, though, so any season is a good time to visit.