Hawaii Down Under: Aussie island paradise takes internet by storm

Imagine if you could visit an island in Australia that was just as stunning as Hawaii and yet so peaceful and tranquil that most Aussies don’t even know it exists!

Well, that secret has recently been unearthed, and now the internet is going wild with anticipation.

Travellers Lauren MacKenzie and Jack Hindle shared their videos of the serene views of Lord Howe Island that have got people everywhere talking.

MacKenzie said she ‘found the Hawaii of Australia’... ‘but without the tourists’ in a 16-second video. The video gained more than half a million views in almost a week.

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Lord Howe Island has been compared to Hawaii. Credit: @laurenmackenzie0 / TikTok

One excited commenter said, ‘Where is this!!!!!!! WE HAVE TO GO TOGETHER,’ tagging their friends.

'We’re going there when we’re older!' another said.

‘This is the first place we going to travelling alone,’ a third commented.

'Time to use those flight credits!' another said.

And surprisingly, the secret to Lord Howe Island's exclusivity might also be the most charming thing about it.

The island is known for its pristine white-sand beaches and mesmerising hiking trails.

It is a two-hour flight from Sydney, costing over $1,000 this year. However, the island only allows 400 tourists at a time.

Watch the video below:

According to public relations manager at Lord Howe Island Tourism Trina Shepherd, the social media platform TikTok helped in ‘gaining momentum’ for them.

‘It’s wonderful to see Australians seeing Lord Howe for the first time and being so amazed at something that is so stunning in their own backyard and within NSW,’ she said.

‘The care, conservation and respect that is taken by the Lord Howe Island residents is also very impressive to Australians. For this reason, Lord Howe gets a lot of repeat visitation.’

Shepherd mentioned that visitors likened Lord Howe Island to Hawaii ‘due to the landscape of the towing mountains meeting the lagoon’.

If you plan to visit Lord Howe, you may not get there easily as you can’t visit without accommodation booked, and the management seriously controls its tourism numbers.

In 1981, the Lord Howe Island Board set a 400-person visitor cap, which still stands today. This means that once the beds are full, visitors cannot book anymore.

‘This was calculated as the most sustainable number of visitors to support the economy, prevent the environment from over-tourism, and this number allows for visitors to enjoy a unique experience,’ Shepherd explained.

‘It also allows locals the space and privacy in their own homeland. This was such a clever implementation as it enables the local economy to thrive and creates exclusivity.’

The Board also records all incoming and outgoing passengers.

Lord Howe Island was named the best hotel in the country and the South Pacific this year by TripAdvisor, an online travel research platform.

Pinetrees Lodge took out the title of ‘Top Hotel in Australia’ and ‘Top Hotel in the South Pacific’ in Tripadvisor’s 2023 Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best Hotel Awards. The awards, in their 21st year, are based on the highest-rated properties selected according to guest reviews.

Pinetrees Lodge has been catering to guests since 1895 and is currently owned by Dani Rourke and Luke Hanson, sixth-generation family members on the island.

The hotel also won in 2020 (covering January 1 to December 31, 2019). However, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the island hard.

‘Pinetrees Lodge is a full-service hotel. We talk to our guests, carry their bags, deliver picnics, light wood-fired barbecues, guide our groups through hiking and swimming adventures, and serve beautiful food four times per day,’ the owners said.

'Trying to limit the contact between guests and staff at Pinetrees went completely against the grain of what we do. We’ll never be a “contactless check-in” kind of place.'

Rourke and Hanson said it was a ‘genuine relief’ when the hotel went back to its normal operations and started gaining positive reviews.

Going out on a holiday doesn’t have to be expensive! In a previous story, there are five tricks that you can do on travels without going overboard on your budget! Check out these handy tips here.

Key Takeaways
  • Lord Howe Island, situated just two hours from Sydney, has gone viral as an Australian tourist destination akin to Hawaii.
  • The island only permits 400 tourists at a time and is renowned for its pristine beaches and hiking trails.
  • It is required to have accommodation booked before visiting the island due to strict control on tourism numbers.
  • This year, a family-owned hotel on the island, Pinetrees Lodge, was named the best in the country and the South Pacific by TripAdvisor.
Members, have you been to Lord Howe Island? What are the activities you’ve done during your stay there? Share them with us in the comments below!

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