World Heritage Listed for its rare collection of flora & fauna and exceptional beauty...
Until its discovery in 1788, Lord Howe remained completely uninhabited and untouched. Today, the island is celebrated as a World Heritage site as a result of its "rare collection of plants, birds and marine life and exceptional natural beauty". The listing further acknowledges the high value of large colonies of nesting seabirds, the most southerly coral reef in the world, the remarkable volcanic exposure with its great variety of upper mantle and oceanic basalts and the populations of endangered endemic species, particularly the Woodhen.
Lord Howe Island and its surrounding islets are the eroded remnants of a large shield volcano that erupted from the sea floor about seven million years ago. Marine erosion has reduced the main Island to approximately one fortieth of its original size, leaving a spectacular scenic landscape, including cliffs and two volcanic mountains up to 875 metres high dominating the landscape.
Isolated in the vastness of the ocean the islands were, over time, colonised by plants from Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia & other Pacific Islands. The complex pattern of valleys, mountains and ridges that developed on these islands provided many different microhabitats for a great diversity of plants. Lord Howe Island is perhaps unique among small oceanic islands in that its mountains have sufficient altitude for a true mist forest to develop on their summits.
The waters surrounding Lord Howe Island contain an unusual mix of tropical and temperate marine species, including the world's most southerly fringing coral reef. The Island is located in cooler ocean waters at latitude 31°S. However, in summer the warm East Australian current sweeps south and east, carrying the larvae of many tropical marine creatures. Among the most conspicuous of these are the corals forming reefs around the Island. Over 490 fish species and many hundreds of invertebrates (urchins, starfish, crabs, snails, slugs, and worms) live in the surrounding waters.
Just 11km long and barely 2km wide, most of the island is covered by natural forests and the entire island is surrounded by a Marine Park. The sub-tropical climate produces warm summers and mild winters and visitor numbers are restricted to 400 at any one time.