Contributed by Geordie Tennant: Solitude is an easy commodity to find on Lord Howe Island. With tourist beds capped at 400, and an even smaller residential population, you’re never more than a few minutes from seclusion. Even so, it still feels like a rare privilege to find a private, all-to-yourself cove in such a beautiful sub-tropical landscape. For me, Lovers Bay is often such a place.
This small and secluded bay is located on the south west coast of the island, a two minute cycle from the airport. With no BBQ or facilities at Lovers Bay, and only one lodge at this end of the island, it’s far less frequented than other picnic and swimming spots.
You’ll find the start of the grassy track to Lovers Bay just opposite the 9th tee on the Lord Howe‘s Golf Course. This track leads to an open bluff, a wide grassed platform from where you can view the entire lagoon, and a large stretch of Lord Howe’s west coast. I always stop to take a moment here before wandering down to the isolated shore below.
Today, the lagoon is awash with opalescent shades of blue and green and strewn with milky patches where the sand bleeds between the dark coral bommies. Whitewash from the outer surf breaks silently trace the lagoon’s reefed fringes while a slight northeasterly breeze ebbs the water gently, making it glisten under the sunlight.
I’m sharing this view with two tall Norfolk pine trees, one standing either side of me, solid and unwavering. The pair was originally planted as channel markers to help sailors navigate their way safely through Erscotts Passage and into the lagoon. Over time, as the coral has grown and the sandy passage has shifted, the role of the two guides has been replaced by two green and orange markers further south. The pines however still stand, together and strong, watching as visiting yachts come and go.
On this particular day, I find a simple posy of wildflowers resting on a park bench below one of the pines. On closer inspection, I discover it’s laid beneath a memorial plaque. Like those found on so many of the bench seats and picnic tables on Lord Howe, the plaque is a tribute to a passed soul that once held a flame for the island… and perhaps like me, this view in particular.
I breathe in a final vision of my northern panorama and turn south to head down the thin, worn trail leading to the sands of Lovers Bay. My view is now dominated by the commanding forms of Mt Gower and Mt Lidgbird, the sheer size of Lord Howe’s two highest peaks amplifying my pursuit of seclusion and escape. As my toes reach the sand, and my eyes shift from the mountains to the shore, I stop and smile, contented that once again Lovers Bay will deliver the peaceful solitude I’ve been seeking.