ECOTOURISM CERTIFICATION FOR LORD HOWE ENVIRONMENTAL TOURS
Ecotourism Australia is proud to welcome its newest member, Lord Howe Environmental Tours, into the family and offer congratulations to their recent achievement of reaching Ecotourism Certification for their Coral Viewing and Snorkelling Tour, Ultimate Snorkelling Tour and Mt Gower Trek.
Family-run Lord Howe Environmental Tours was established in 1998 and operates on the World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island. The island is located approximately 600 kilometres off the north coast of New South Wales and is accessible via a two-hour direct flight from either Sydney or Brisbane. Lord Howe Island is the epitome of Australia’s natural landscape and offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in unspoilt island living while exploring from the top of the mountain range to the coral gardens of the world’s southernmost reefs.
Lord Howe Environmental Tours understands tourists might wonder where to begin an adventure when visiting an island with geological origins which date back over seven million years. How better to learn about the unique natural history than with a specialist 3rd generation team who share not just what they have learnt as a leading tourism operator but, more specifically, what they live every day? It reaches a whole new level of local knowledge when visitors learn that the cultural history of this island isn’t necessarily documented but rather passed down orally through the generations. It really doesn’t get more authentic and specialised than that!
Lord Howe Environmental Tours is led by Dean and Roslyn Hiscox. Dean is director and a passionate naturalist whose experience is founded on a 16-year tenure as a board ranger, where he managed the island’s natural environment. Roslyn, also a director and Dean’s wife, is a fifth-generation islander who is passionate about encompassing nature, culture and the island’s unique historical story into their signature tours. Kayla and Darcelle are both 6th generation islanders and sharing their love of the island’s rich and diverse ecosystem is embedded in their DNA.
During the flight to Lord Howe Island visitors receive essential information regarding the compulsory environmental management of the Marine Park and the Permanent Park Reserve (national park) – routines which are a mandatory requirement for those living and operating businesses on the World Heritage-listed island. For example, the broader community have achieved an 86% diversion of waste from landfill by introducing compulsory recycling, pushbikes are the main transport method around the island and visitors and locals can be involved in a conservation volunteers program for important research projects.
Lord Howe Island only permits 400 visitors to the island at one time and Lord Howe Environmental Tours has developed a range of tours and itineraries, which include seasonal recommendations and feature the migrating pattern of millions of seabirds. There are a range of options which are specifically designed to ensure guests experience the natural value and beauty of the island while identifying with the need to continually protect its diversity and preservation.
Visitors quickly get a sense of how proud and excited these operators are to show visitors their island. A trek to Mount Gower, the highest point of the island, is recognised as one of the Australia’s top day walks. With elevated views of surrounding Balls Pyramid, Mt Lidgbird, the coral reef lagoon and the north settlement area are a well-earned reward for reaching the summit of 875 metres. Visitors can enjoy the unique fauna of the region, including the Lord Howe Woodhen, Golden Whistler, Silvereye and Currawong inhabiting the mist forest with ferns, orchids, trees and mosses not seen anywhere else in the world. With the trek taking approximately five hours to reach the summit and four hours to descend it’s easy to see why committing to this day trip isn’t a decision to be taken lightly.
A visit to the island wouldn’t be complete without marvelling at the diversity of the seascape found in the lagoons. In-depth interpretations introduce visitors to over 80 species of coral and 500 species of fish including the yellowtail, kingfish, bluefish, marlin, tuna and hundreds of species of tropical fish which can be enjoyed by people of all ages from the comfort of the glass bottom boat. Those who are after a bit more of a hands-on learning experience can enjoy two hrs exploring the calm and pristine waters by joining one of the snorkelling tours which visit four thriving locations within the lagoons. Plan to visit during the summer months and join the night snorkel where, thanks to the specialised underwater torches, the coral is highlighted in all its florescence glory.
In between tours there are opportunities to walk or cycle around the island, enjoy a picnic or dine at one of the local cafés, be treated to a massage or set out on a kayak or paddle board.
Responsible travellers can be confident in the ethical foundation of the Lord Howe Environmental Tours as three of the team are responsible for reviewing and updating the Lord Howe Island Biodiversity Management Plan and two team members sit on the Lord Howe Island Marine Park Advisory Committee as well as being involved in reviewing the Lord Howe Island Marine Park Operation Plan. Ecotourism Australia is proud to be partnering with such a dedicated contributor to the tourism industry and a company which holds the protection of national biodiversity, while providing positive natural immersion experiences to visitors, at its core.
[All images thanks to Lord Howe Environmental Tours.]