I was fortunate enough to spend 3 fantastic nights at the award-winning Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island. From beginning to end I was blown away by the experience. A mere 2 hours after boarding the QantasLink aircraft from Sydney, we were treated to spectacular, aerial views of the coral-fringed Lord Howe Island. A magnificent sight to behold of the World Heritage-Listed Island.
Lord Howe is completely surrounded by coral reef and striking white sandy beaches, with two towering mountain peaks at both ends of the island and a flat plain in the centre – making for an easy cycle from one end to the other.
We were greeted by the gregarious Lucky from Capella Lodge at the airport, who whisked us away in an air-conditioned minivan a short 5- min drive to the resort. Our luggage was completely taken care of and delivered right from the plane to our room.
Upon arrival at the resort, we were offered a delicious crepe, champagne and cool refresher towels and given the rundown on what happens at the lodge. The afternoon was ours to enjoy.
We popped into our incredibly private room – The Catalina Suite, to marvel at the picturesque views of stunning turquoise coastline and the white sandy lagoon with the impressive Mt Gower dominating the horizon in the distance.
The room was expansive over two levels with 2 bedrooms and 2 modern bathrooms complete with rain showers. The room was stocked with premium amenities and soft robes with real woollen slippers, not to mention a generous array of wine, champagne, soft drink and snacks in the mini bar. On our secluded deck was a delightful hot tub surrounded by Kentia palms gently blowing in the summer breeze. It was truly a sight to behold.
Not wanting to waste a moment, we jumped on the courtesy mountain bikes for a 15-minute cycle to the infamous Neds Beach for some fish feeding and a dip in the magnificent aqua blue waters. The large, brightly coloured fish all flocked to greet us regardless of the fact we had no fish food.
Neds beach is stunning, white soft sand with an aqua coral filled lagoon and only a handful of people. The water extends out for about 25 meters until you reach some spectacular coral fringing reef, perfect for a snorkell.
All the water on the island is crystal clear. I have never experienced snorkelling in such clean, clear water – it was amazing. Lord Howe Island only allows up to 400 guests on the island at any one time, which could explain the clarity of the water – devoid of large cruise vessels and tour boats that usually pollute and stir up the water.
Tuesday is Degustation evening at Capella Lodge so we made sure we were back in time for pre-dinner cocktails and canapés at 6pm – all included in the generous tariff. The sunset was spectacular from the pool deck at Capella, surrounded by Kentia Palms and brightly coloured Frangipanis framing the crystal blue ocean.
Dinner was served at 7pm and we were treated to seven courses with an array of signature cocktails and free flowing premium wines paired with an exquisite array of local delicacies and vibrantly coloured fresh greens. Being a Vegetarian (who also eats fish), I was not forgotten. I was presented with a just-as-impressive separate menu full of delicious variations.
The following day we did a Turtle Tour with Anthony at Lord Howe Island Marine Adventures. I was expecting to perhaps catch a glimpse of the turtles coming up for air, but was blown away by what we actually experienced.
It was one of the highlights of our trip. Anthony, an island local with extensive experience of the surrounding waters, set us down in a secluded spot to snorkel where the turtles go to clean themselves. We snorkelled 2 meters above 8 huge turtles who were calmly resting in a group in the colourful coral.
They didn’t even seem concerned about our presence, rising every few minutes for air right beside us. A must-see bucket list experience (that I unfortunately didn’t capture as I forgot the go-pro!)
The island is very low-key, with a casual, relaxed vibe and only a handful of shops, cafes and a pub in the main street. There are many activities to keep visitors entertained from golf, to kayaking, paddle boarding, dive trips, snorkelling and of course the many spectacular hikes, each showcasing the many different aspects of the island.
We opted for Kim’s Lookout to Malabar hike, starting at the picturesque and uncrowded Old Settlement Beach and finishing at Neds beach for a refreshing swim in the warm tropical water. It took about 2 hours with multiple stops for photos of the stunning views along the way.
There are a lot of stairs on the ascent from Old Settlement Beach so this hike is not suitable for those with knee issues – but it was certainly worth the climb with stunning views over the bays to Mt Gower then the Admiralty Islands to the north west and aerials of Neds Beach.
The rest of our trip was just as spectacular, with sensational meals every evening at Capella Lodge – the only resort on the island with ocean views. We did morning Yoga on the grassy knoll above Lover’s Bay and treated ourselves to a pampering at the Capella Spa.
The staff at the lodge are exceptional and extremely attentive and the little touches of superior service make the experience extra special. Nothing is too much trouble at Capella Lodge, even BBQ hampers can be made up and delivered to any of the multiple BBQ’s situated all over the island (stocked daily with wood!) they can even take beach chairs, umbrellas and snorkelling gear for you, to enable guests to ride freely without having to carry all their belongings. Golf carts are also available for those less able.
Lord Howe island is simply perfect for a romantic escape or honeymoon, without the crowds. Sadly, our unforgettable trip had to come to an end. We will never forget our wonderful 3 nights at Capella and Lord Howe Island and can highly recommend Capella Lodge for a luxurious getaway.
Article by Kristi Gomm
Image Credits – Kristi Gomm