For the last week my family and I have been staying in paradise, otherwise known as Lord Howe Island (LHI).
LHI is a little island about 800km NE of Sydney, Australia. It is made up of the very old remnants of a volcano and is surrounded by coral reef. Less than 300 people call the island home and there is a cap on the number of visitors allowed on the island at any one time.
|Looking south across the lagoon to Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower|
Our family has visited this magical place a few times before. The first time for the Husband and I was on our honeymoon, over 21 years ago. Every time since then we've taken the kids. This was their 4th trip and our 5th. Every visit is different and we discover new things each time, despite the island being pretty small and most of it unaccessible, densely forested mountains. (The highest mountain is over 800m above sea level, which is about 200m higher than Canberra.)
We arrived on LHI on Monday 21 December and left the following Monday. Our week encompassed Moo's 19th birthday and Christmas Day.
Christmas Day with a LHI twist
The day started normally, with a traditional breakfast of pancakes. Then followed some Christmas present sharing. We brought our own tree and decorations with us. Weight limits for the flight over are strict, so we had to be careful about the size and weight of presents, as well as the tree.
A pause in gift giving while the Husband and I went to church. Church was a 5 minute bike ride from our lodge to the church. The congregation was a mix of locals and visitors.
|Leaving church on my bike, Christmas morning|
Back to our lodge (Ocean View Apartments - we've been staying there ever since we first brought the kids to the island and now wouldn't stay anywhere else) to finish gift giving.
Lunch was great. All the other guests of the lodge had lunch at one of the restaurants. We couldn't be bothered with a heavy meal so we stayed at the lodge and had the place to ourselves. Lunch was whatever we could throw on a BBQ. Bacon, haloumi cheese, onions, pineapple, and a few sausages of course.
After lunch was time for a quiet sit to allow the food to digest and time to look over our presents.
I normally find Christmas afternoon a bit dull and a bit sad. Our family is so, so small (only 4 or 6 celebrate it together out of a possible 8). There isn't the noise and activity and hours of eating and talking and making merry that the Christmas hype leads us to expect. This year, however, was different.
This year my little family of 4 went rock-pooling. We spent about an hour and half exploring the rock shelves at Middle Beach. It was brilliant. We found sea hares, sea cucumbers, hard coral, hermit crabs, giant clams, soft coral, fish, star fish ...... We stopped because the tide was coming in which covers the whole of the rock shelf.
|Pink coral, Middle Beach rock shelf|
On our way back to the lodge we stopped for a swim. It was low tide so the swimming wasn't that great off the jetty but at least we did it.
|Another bucket list item ticked off - snorkelling on Christmas Day|
Dinner was cold roast chicken on burger buns followed by chocolate for dessert. We played a couple of games that had been under our little Christmas tree.
Christmas this year was so, so special. Everyone got along, there was no tension, and everyone pitched in and helped. Then we got to spend it in on LHI doing very LHI things - bike riding, rock pooling, swimming.
|Hanging out with the turtles, Old Settlement Beach|
|Jumping off the jetty|
|Swimming in the rain|
Other things we did on LHI
- swam with sea turtles
- swam with reef sharks
- snorkelled at Old Settlement Beach, Lagoon Beach, Ned's Beach, Comets Hole, Horseshoe Reef, Erscott's Hole and the Sylphs' Hole
- rode bikes
- walked a lot
- ate wonderful food (can you eat too much fresh sea food?)
- got rained on
- viewed coral
- got friendly with sea hares and hermit crabs
- poked giant clams
- took photos of nesting sea birds
- got rained on
- paddled on the lagoon in kayaks
- got rained on while paddling on the lagoon in kayaks
- spent time with the Husband, Moo and BoyBoy
- looked at the view
- jumped off the jetty
- swam - in the lagoon, at Neds Beach and in the pool at our lodge
- I also had a 2 hour spa treatment at a Day Spa.
- sat on the deck just doing nothing much
Things we did very little of
- did not drive a car
- used the internet very sparingly
- did only basic clothes washing
- not much cooking
- didn't draw much, which surprised me
- very little shopping
Happy New Year to all.