Lord Howe Island is roughly 10km long and 2km wide. It’s a small exposed part of the Lord Howe Rise, an underwater plateau that extends from New Caledonia to New Zealand. The volcanic ‘hotspot’ that formed the island last flowed over 6 million years ago. Mt Lidgbird (777m) and Mt Gower (875m) are both part of a large remnant volcano. Balls Pyramid, 23km to the southeast, is also part of a remnant volcano. At a height of 562m, it’s the highest and most dramatic ‘volcanic stack’ in the world.
The island is surrounded by the southernmost coral reef in the Pacific, and has a unique combination of tropical, subtropical and temperate marine life. There are over 90 coral and 500 fish species.
The island landforms include beaches, sand dunes, limestone plains, floodplains, hills, valleys and mountains. All have unique sub-tropical vegetation that ranges from wetlands to rainforest. The Kentia palm is the best known and is sold as an indoor plant throughout the world. In its natural habitat, the Kentia palm stands in large sub-tropical forests with enormous banyan trees.
The local fauna is diverse and, in many cases, endemic. The Lord Howe Woodhen, Golden whistler, Silvereye, Currawong and Large forest bat are found nowhere else in the world. The island is seasonal habitat to millions of seabirds such as Noddy terns, White terns, Sooty terns, Muttonbirds, Black winged petrels, Providence petrels and Red-tailed tropic birds. Some migrate from as far as Siberia each year to breed.
In recognition of its scenic beauty, biodiversity and rare flora and fauna, Lord Howe was inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1982. Along with Uluru, Kakadu, Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef, Lord Howe Island is one of the most spectacular places in the world.