Around 600 kilometres from Sydney or, less than two hours by plane is the crescent-shaped Lord Howe Island, a volcanic remnant slice of paradise home to five species of birds and 50 species of plants not found anywhere else on the Earth. Despite its natural beauty it is a hotspot for fishing, and home to some of the biggest and best looking fish of the Tasman Sea.
Discovered in 1788 by Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball, commander of the Armed Tender HMS Supply on his way to set up a penal colony on Norfolk Island, it was named after the British Admiral Richard Howe. The first settlement of the island came in 1834 when three New Zealand couples came ashore, and a provisional station was set up for whaling ships. With the decline of the whaling business, the locals took to harvesting and exporting the local kentia palms, a business still going strong today, and tourism following the end of World War II.
UNESCO listed the majestic and stunning island on their World Heritage list in 1982 as a marine park to preserve the natural environments and all the animals that call them home, as well as to allow humans to snorkel, swim and even fish these beautiful animals and creatures in a way that will conserve the animals and plants for future generations. The land is also laced with walking tracks through the beautiful palm and banyan forests to pristine seaside clifftops, vistas, and beaches, 11 golden sandy sites in total with their crystal clear Pacific waters.
The waters are home to around 500 species of fish, most of which are known to swim up to humans if presented with food, such as the Silver Drummers, Yellowtail Kings, Mullets, Trevally’s and, of course, even a few sharks, mainly Galapagos Whalers. When feeding the fish keep an eye out, or you may just loose a finger, or a whole hand if the fish are biting.
Here you can get up close and see fish not behind glass walls or in small tanks hiding from curious fingers, but out swimming in the open sea, swarming around your legs for the hunk of bread in your hands. And on the island itself fishing is not allowed, ensuring that families and tourists can see the animals up close without one being whisked ashore for someone’s lunch. 30% of the island is set aside for ‘look but don’t take’ area’s where fishing and snorkelling is allowed but nothing can be removed from these areas.
This wonder of a natural world is one of the thousands of beautiful islands dotting the South Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. It’s beauty renown, its beaches two minutes from any part of the island and home to many types of animals and plants not found anywhere else in the world. A great place to have an experience with fish or a great place to catch a few, this, is Lord Howe Island.