Gigi Hopkins’ 7 must-dos in hidden gem Lord Howe Island, Australia

Gigi Hopkins – writer, traveller and prolific instagrammer on @_itsbeautifulhere – has travelled the world, and has the photos to prove it. We caught up with her after her most recent trip, a sun- and surf-filled trip to Lord Howe Island, and asked for her tips to this stunning hideaway.

This was my first visit to the beautiful Lord Howe Island (having wanted to visit for over 10 years). It was amazing to finally get there!’ Gigi said. ‘I had seen images of this tiny island – somewhere in the middle of the Pacific – whose landscape looked more like something out of Hawaii than Australia. With its jagged peaks and beautiful beaches, I knew I had to visit someday.’

Lord Howe Island
Photo: Gigi Hopkins

The island is tiny! Only 11km long and 2km wide. Also, there are only 350 locals who live on the island. There is only one school for the 40 children, and they all go to school in bare feet (lucky things)! It is a very safe place. There is no crime. There is only one police officer who keeps a check on things.’

Lord Howe Island
Photo: Gigi Hopkins

My favourite things about the island: the dramatic landscape, the incredible hikes, the stunning beaches, the native wildlife, the turtles, the surfing, the friendly locals, the fresh fish, and the constantly changing weather patterns.

There is only one ATM on the island, so take some cash with you so you don’t get caught out. Some places only accept cash. There is very little phone reception (and wifi), so be prepared for a bit of a digital detox as well.’

“There is very little phone reception (and wifi), so be prepared for a bit of a digital detox.”

Gigi’s must-dos on the island

#1 Hike
‘If you have the stamina, I highly recommend doing the eight-hour return hike to the top of Mt Gower (you will need a guide for this one). Located at the southern end of the island, 875m Mt Gower sits to the right, and the 777m Mt Lidgbird sits to the left. It’s a very steep and exposed track and definitely not for the faint-hearted – get ready for cliffs, ledges, ropes, mist forests, and plenty of wildlife and spectacular views. My other favourite hikes include the one from Ned’s Beach to Malabar Hill; a lot shorter than the Gower hike but one which offers incredible views from the north end of the island back down to Gower. The other one is the hike up to the Goat House Cave (4km of track that rises to 400m – steep and challenging all the way). Take a boat trip out to Balls Pyramid (20km from Lord Howe Island), a piece of volcanic rock that rises 552m out of the ocean. It is incredible. Boats only run in calm conditions.’

Lord Howe Island
Ned’s Beach. Photo: Gigi Hopkins

#2 Go snorkelling or diving
‘Lord Howe Island sits on the southernmost coral reef in the world, so there is some exceptional snorkelling and diving to be done. Spot turtles in the crystal clear lagoon (around Erscott’s Hole).’

Lord Howe Island
Photo: Gigi Hopkins

#3 Surf a right-hander at Blinky’s Beach
‘It’s my my favourite beach on the island!’

#4 Have a BBQ on the beach
‘There are a number of bbq sites scattered across the island. Grab one down by the lagoon so you can watch the sunset over the water in front of you.’

Lord Howe Island
Photo: Gigi Hopkins

#5 Book a spa treatment at Arajilla
‘This is a must.’

#6 Kayak around the Admiralty Islands
‘It’s a short 15min boat ride away from Lord Howe Island.’

#7 Swim with the fish at Ned’s Beach
‘You can feed them as well (just pay $1 for some fish pellets and away you go).’

Lord Howe Island
Photo: Gigi Hopkins
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Emma Chong Johnston

Emma is a new mum, compulsive shopper and cityslicker through and through. Perfect holiday: shops, sunshine and gelato (and maybe a babysitter).

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