Lord Howe Island is regarded as one of the most beautiful islands in the Pacific Ocean. This tiny crescent-shaped Australian island is approximately two hours by plane from Sydney. It is just 11 kms. in length and barely 3 kms. across with a total of 9 kms. of road. There are only 350 permanent residents and just 400 visitors are allowed on the island at any given time. In January 2015 a Swiss friend and I were privileged to be two of those visitors to this truly beautiful place with its amazing flora and bird life. The sandy beaches, rocky headlands, mountains, waters of blue-green hues, magnificent coral reefs and incredible sunsets gave a breath-taking experience. The Lord Howe Island Group is part of the state of New South Wales and is recorded by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site of global natural significance. The landscape includes twin misty volcanic peaks commanding one end of the Island and a natural forest covers most of the terrain. The average annual rainfall is approximately 1,600 mm. with humidity 60% to 70%. Many of the plants and animals are found nowhere else in the world. Located as it is in the central Tasman Sea, the Island Flora contains elements from Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and, to a lesser extent, some Pacific Islands. A concerted effort by locals has helped preserve its precious natural environment.
PALM PROPAGATION There are four endemic palm species. The Thatch Palm (Howea foresteriana) has been the world’s most popular indoor palm for over 120 years and each year the islanders harvest the seeds for planting to grow new palms for export. There are also Curly Palms, Big Mountain Palms and Little Mountain Palms. The scarcity of seed for propagation and the palm’s qualities as an indoor plant have made the palm extremely valuable and highly sought after. A major export industry has developed around the sale of seed to Europe and North America. More recently a valuable market has developed for exporting germinated palm seedlings, a major value-added product. The Kentia Palm industry is thriving on the Island.
BANYAN TREE Ficus Macrophylla ssp. Columnaris is one of the most noticeable trees around the lowlands – its huge size and unusual habit create a fascinating sight. Its branches drop shoots to the ground which, when taking root, support the parent branches and in turn become trunks, so that one tree covers a very large area of ground. We saw some excellent examples of the Banyan Tree as we walked the track to Clear Place.
FRANGIPANI AND HIBISCUS The Frangipani is a flower of perfection and wide colour range, but it is the fragrance that is the true prize. They are grown near guest houses where their delicious scent can be appreciated especially as it intensifies at night. Frangipanis line roadways and in summer cast dappled shade. Their fallen flowers form a beautiful carpet as they drop on the under planting of ferns, including maidenhair. Vibrancy of colour is dependent on the temperature and climate so there are many variations. A wide range of Hibiscus, together with Frangipanis and Palms, are the highlights in the gardens surrounding many places of accommodation on Lord Howe Island.
A superb holiday destination for lovers of Flora, Bird life, Bushwalking, Scuba Diving, Snorkelling, Fishing, Fish Feeding and more, in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.