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The Rock-itt : June 2010
sports nuts that frequent The Rock- itt surely must appreciate something different for a while. The natives can be a bit crabby. My chum Keith was visiting from the UK this January and he was keen to return to Lord Howe after a family holiday there a few years back. Keith's a bit of a fitness nut and one of his priorities this time was to climb the other big hill, the one that's not named after Lidgbird, Mount Gower. It's the highest point on Lord Howe Island, 850 metres to the top, takes about 8 hours to go up and back and you have to do it with a guide. I decided a snorkelling trip was more my style so I left superman to it. As it happened, it was too windy to go out on the lagoon so I ended up drinking Kozel, a superb Czech beer in Humpty Mick's bar. Turns out the chef there is a Czech and he imports his favourite brew. Dan Murphy's in Manly Vale sell it, try Kozel 'Dark', it's cheap too! This colourful chap hung around for ages I didn't loaf all day, just took the short walk across the island to Ned's Beach and swam with some metre long Spanish mackerel and a few brightly coloured Wrasse. A long tradition at Ned's is the feeding of the fish around 4pm, knee deep in water with scores of fish all around, an amazing experience. There are a variety of places to stay on the island, it's not a particularly cheap place to go to. Our four day three night trip cost $1500 including our air fare. We stayed at the Hideaway Apartments on a self catering deal. If I hadn't been with him, Keith would have booked himself in at the Capella Lodge which has rooms at $2,000 a night!! There are great restaurants on the island, we liked 'Pandanus' but apart from Humpty Mick's and just a couple of other cafes, more casual dining is something to do back at your apartment. We particularly enjoyed Pine Trees Lodge, probably because it was the Sunday night 'Fish Fry' and we ate on the deck with a massive thunderstorm raging all around us. No McDonalds on the Island and thankfully there probably never will be. I will certainly be going back to Lord Howe, my wife hasn't seen it yet so that's a good enough reason. There is an annual yacht race out of Gosford, it takes about two and a half days to race over. That would be a good adventure, though I wouldn't be trying to get across the reef into the lagoon without the help of someone who had done it a few times before! We managed to see the island freighter, Island Trader, this brings most of the goods needed to keep the island going. It sails out of Yamba every couple of weeks but unfortunately doesn't take passengers. It's the world's most southerly coral reef, been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1982 and the wildlife is spectacular, particularly the bird life. We saw Emerald Doves, White Terns and of course the Lord Howe Island Woodhen which is flourishing now after nearly being wiped out. They have Bird Weeks in March and October. It is a bit like going back in time, the kind of place Enid Blyton's 'Famous Five' would have holidayed. That accepted, it's still one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to. The pictures do it more justice than my babble, and it's so close!!! Check it out @ www.lordhoweisland.info/ The stars of Ned's Beach The natives can be a bit crabby The obligatory tourist snap, I'm the good looking one on the left The Island Trader brings most of the Islands needs every fortnight The lagoon from Mt.Gower, why climb it yourself when you can get some other nutter to go and take the picture for you?