Lord Howe’s best guide, and ex-park ranger, Dean Hiscox, will help you ‘enjoy’ one of the hardest days of your life. We’re not joking. Even if you’re fit and experienced in rugged mountain terrain, you’ll still have a tough day. Savvy mountain guides call it ‘type two fun’, which means challenging at the time, but fun in hindsight. The climb from sea level to the summit is 875 vertical metres, but most of the climbing is rope supported on slopes between 40 and 65 degrees. The traverse across the Lower Road is arguably the most spectacular 400 metres of hiking in Australia, but don’t look under your toes – there’s lots of air between you and ocean far below. If you reach the summit (most likely in cloud), you’ll experience the Mt Gower cloud forest – an endemic forest community that’s more like temperate rainforest in Tasmania. It’s an amazingly delicate and beautiful ecosystem for such an unforgiving location. In autumn and winter, you’ll have thousands of Providence petrels around you, literally, defending their burrows and looking for mates. It’s hectic, loud, funny and absolutely relentless. Some of the birds will chase you down the ropes and nibble on your ankles. If you suffer from ornithophobia, go to the beach instead.