Hiking Lord Howe Island – Must do hikes, views & attractions

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A bucket list destination you never knew you had, Lord Howe Island is one of Australia’s best kept secrets. Surrounded by crystal clear reef to snorkel in, Lord Howe is characterised by tropical heat, palm trees and volcanic mountains to hike. Sound idyllic? I promise you, this is a destination you’ll never want to leave. To help you plan your stay here, I’ve put together a list of the “must do” experiences on the island, covering the best hikes, viewpoints and attractions not to be missed!

Lord Howe Island | World of Wanderlust

Mount Gower

Undeniably the island’s most iconic hike is an all-day trek that starts early in the morning and finished some 8-10 hours later. Mount Gower must be hiked with a trained guide, not only because the trail is unmarked but also due to the sheer cliff faces you are about to look down over, hanging on to a rope and with a hard hat no less! As the highest point on the island and with panoramic views (often obstructed by clouds which only adds to the aesthetics), this is for sure a must do on the island.

Disclaimer: my luggage arrived 24 hours after I did on the island which prevented me from hiking Mount Gower as planned. Major bummer but it just means I’ll have to go back!

Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust

Goat House Cave

The second most renowned hike on the island can be completed without a guide, so I set off on this hike instead. Goat House Cave is a class 4 hike (as compared to Mount Gower – class 5), so while it is no easy feat, it is well worth the effort for those views of the island from above! Start your hike by climbing “Intermediate Hill” and follow it up with the track to Goat House Cave. On the return you can hike back the same way, venture onwards to the coast, or take a leisurely stroll down hill toward Lagoon Road and back to your starting point.

Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust

Intermediate Hill

You’ve got two options for where to commence the trek to Goat House Cave and if you ask me, a great way to start is with Intermediate Hill! At the time this track felt like a knife driving in to my calf muscles, but upon reflection it felt more like a warm up to Goat House! This track gives you a great kick start to the day and offers reasonable views over the island.

Kim’s Lookout

As one of the best view points to see the whole island and Mount Gower in the distance, Kim’s lookout was one of my favourite short hikes on the island. Starting from the beach I made my way up to the lookout for sunset, as this is certain to be one of the best sunset views on the entire island.

Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust

Malabar Hill

From Kim’s you can keep venturing onwards to Malabar Hill, even hiking all the way down in to Ned’s Beach if you wish! This hike is highly regarded by locals as offering the best views on the entire island – especially for sunset photos!

North Beach, Old Gulch & The Herring Pools

Before I ventured toward Kim’s Lookout and Malabar Hill, I made my way down to North Beach with the intentions to walk to Old Gulch at low tide and reach the Herring Pools nearby. Sadly the area was inundated with water after the tail end of a cyclone had passed through some days earlier. Next time!

Lord Howe Island

Ned’s Beach

Although not a hike as such, this list of must see attractions on the island would be incomplete without mention on Ned’s Beach! This is not only the most popular beach on the island, but also the filming location for Hollywood blockbuster The Shallows featuring Blake Lively. But fear not – Ned’s is a great place to snorkel with kingfish, sea turtles and Galapagos sharks!

Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust

Thanks to Destination NSW for welcoming me to Lord Howe Island as part of their new #ILoveNSW campaign! Share what you love about holidays in NSW including the places you visit and the experiences you uncover. Upload your NSW holiday videos and photos to www.visitnsw.com/ilovensw using #ILoveNSW – the best videos selected will feature in a collection of films produced by Destination NSW and go into the draw to win Canon Prize Packs.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

The 25 Most Unique Honeymoon Spots Around the World

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I’m sure by now we all know that I crave anything but ordinary. From tree houses in the depths of South Africa to private islands in the crystal blue waters of the Maldives, there are some incredible honeymoon retreats I have visited over the years and many I still wish to experience (fingers crossed for my actual honeymoon!) If you’re anything like me and you’re looking for an out-of-this-world experience, here are my top picks for the most unique honeymoon spots around the world!

Singita, South Africa

I first visited Singita in 2013, on my year-long solo adventure around the world. Since then I have been back to their camps in Tanzania to witness the great migration and believe me when I say there is no event in my life that will ever come close to this experience! This collection of safari camps is highly regarded as one of the most luxurious options, so be sure to start saving your pennies for the honeymoon of a lifetime! My favourite camp in South Africa is Singita Sweni, and my favourite outdoors camp was in Tanzania, glamping in tents under the stars.

Singita Sweni

Nihiwatu, Indonesia

For sure one of my top three hotel experiences worldwide over the past few years has been Nihiwatu, a tree-house, yoga-loving health retreat in Indonesia. Leaving Bali behind, you can escape the madness and land yourself on Sumba Island, just a short flight from the tourist-heavy streets of Bali and smack bang in the middle of local, rural life. The resort features all-inclusive meals, yoga, horseback riding and a spa retreat separate to the resort. Hello happiness!

Nihiwatu Resort

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Hotel La Montana, Chile

If you’ve got a wild imagination and a sense of wonder, you don’t need to look any further than Chile as your honeymoon destination! One of my favourite countries to date, Chile is so diverse that you can be hiking in the world’s driest desert one day and trudging through thick layers of snow in Patagonia the next. One of the more ethereal honeymoon destinations in Chile is Hotel La Montana (or simply, the volcano hotel), complete with a rope bridge in the forest! Bliss!

Hotel La Montana

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Chalkley Treehouse, Sabi Sand

I’ve always said that safaris have been the most incredible experiences of my lifetime (I doubt this will ever change), and my absolute dream honeymoon destination is to venture back to the continent of Africa and experience more of this incredible land. Could anything be more adventurous and romantic than sleeping under the stars, with the sound of zebras and lions trailing off in the background!?

Chalkley Treehouse Sabi Sand

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Norfolk Island

Perhaps the most surprising destination in the Pacific for me has been Norfolk Island, where I travelled with my partner after a trip to Europe for a little R&R. If you’re an Aussie like me and find yourself on a budget, this is a great destination close by (a 2 hour flight from Sydney) and affordable to enjoy. Most of the attractions on the island are natural swimming pools, beaches, or simply cruising around the island in a moke beach buggy. Absolute perfection!

Norfolk Island, Australia

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Royal Davui, Fiji

Fiji is hands down one of the happiest and most humble places I have been. The people are warm, friendly, and will go out of their way to ensure you enjoy your time in their country. Royal Davui is one of the most luxe resorts to check in to, set on a private island with just a handful of rooms that each face the ocean with incredible views. You can arrive by boat or chartered helicopter flight (fancy!)

Royal Davui

Aruba

Aruba

Beaches filled with flamingos – how could you say no to that!? Aruba is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean and with photos like that – it isn’t hard to see why!

Giraffe Manor

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Giraffe Manor

You’ve probably seen the pictures and the good news is they aren’t photoshopped – Giraffe Manor in Kenya is REAL! The beautiful estate has become a top pick for honeymooners in previous years, as more and more travellers are seeking unique, one-of-a-kind honeymoons off the beaten path. With giraffes at your window sharing breakfast, how could you beat it!?

Giraffe Manor

Taj Exotica, Maldives

Our trip to the Maldives last year was nothing short of incredible. We arrived late at night, stepped off the plane, and without even leaving the airport we were on a shuttle boat to our resort – Taj Exotica. Most of the resorts in the Maldives are set on their own private islands, seemingly placed in the middle of the ocean. The water is some of the clearest you will find the world over, making it perfect conditions for snorkelling, stand up paddle boarding, and kayaking. I don’t normally like to return to the same place twice, but I could certainly make an exception for the Maldives!

Taj Exotica

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Le Sirenuse, Positano

Positano could easily be my favourite place in all of Europe and surely the most romantic place we have ever travelled to together. With beautiful sunrises and sunsets in all shades of purples and reds, this was one of the most incredible views to wake up to. As always in Italy, the food was a major highlight and the surrounding region is best explored by vespa (so long as you trust your husband and his driving skills!)

Le Sirenuse Positano

Pangkor Laut, Malaysia

I never expected Malaysia to be one of the most romantic destinations I have visited, but as soon as you arrive at Pangkor Laut Resort, you can see why! Like something out of a movie set, the overwater bungalows are the perfect setting for an island escape.

Pangkor Laut

Zermatt, Switzerland

If you’re more of an adventurous type and don’t want the typical “beach, cocktail, sun” honeymoon, then reverse the psychology and take to the slopes! A winter destination is equally romantic in its own right, especially if it involves skiing, hot cocoa, and hearty Swiss food! Zermatt would have to be my top pick for the slopes as you will find so much to explore in the mountains and plenty to keep you busy back in the town.

Zermatt Switzerland

A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust A Guide to Colmar France | World of Wanderlust

Colmar, France

No word of a lie, this is the most magical little town you will find in France. Colmar was on my travel list for at least a couple of years before I finally made it to the Alsace region of France, located near the border to Germany. Colmar is romance in every sense of the word – the architecture, the food, the blooms in Spring and the nearby vineyards to explore by bike.

Colmar France

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Matakauri Lodge, New Zealand

Over recent years (and a few Lord of the Rings films), New Zealand has become the epitome of adventure travel. But the scenery is just the beginning! Without a doubt the South Island has adventure down to a fine art – with the likes of ski slopes, bungy jumps and scenic flights being a staple on most itineraries. Fly yourself to Queenstown to be at the centre of it all and if the budget allows, you cannot do better than Matakauri Lodge (one of my favourite resorts in the entire world. Period.)

Matakauri Lodge New Zealand

Explora, Patagonia, Chile

If you want the full Chilean experience in the luxurious setting of an all-inclusive lodge, then you can’t go past Explora. There are three base camps in the collection: one in Patagonia, one in Atacama Dessert, and one on Easter Island. If you want to see Chile in all of its glory (this is one of the most diverse countries in the entire world), then I would suggest doing all three. Each camp includes your meals, daily guided tours, and beautiful accommodation. You can’t beat it.

Explora Camps

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Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island, Australia

Our visit to South Australia this year quickly put the destination straight to the top of our favourites list. After spending a few nights on the mainland, we flew over to Kangaroo Island to escape the big smoke, hire a car and explore. KI is easily one of the most romantic destinations in all of Australia and Southern Ocean Lodge is at the pinnacle of luxury lodge escapes. The lodge includes accommodation, meals, mini-bar, daily guided tours, and an open bar (yup, DIY cocktails are encouraged!)

Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Europe is my personal pick of romantic regions the world over, but it is also one of the most common (which for me is not a bad thing but with the title of this blog post suggesting “unique” honeymoon spots, I’ve made a conscious effort to avoid a whole list of European destinations!) If you do decide to make Europe your honeymoon choice, you absolutely cannot miss the chance to explore Slovenia! Not only does this country have Europe’s most underrated capital, but it is also home to one of the most romantic

Lake Bled Slovenia

Scottish Highlands

Mythical and mysterious, the Scottish Highlands might not be the first destination on your list of potential honeymoons, but if you’re up for something a little different (and invariably cooler than beach destinations), then you won’t regret an escape in the North of Scotland!

The Scottish Highlands

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Budapest, Hungary

As one of the most encapsulating capital cities in all of Europe, Budapest is as romantic as big cities come. With a turbulent history, one wouldn’t expect to find the same level of architectural beauty as you can find in Paris, but believe me when I say it is here! Budapest is also relatively affordable compared to Western European capitals, thanks in part to Hungary keeping its own currency.

Budapest Hungary

  Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust

Lord Howe Island, Australia

For anyone who has stepped foot on this majestic island a 2-hour flight off the coast of New South Wales, you won’t have any trouble agreeing that this is one of Australia’s best hidden secrets! Tourists are capped at 400 people at any one time, making this the perfect getaway if you’re looking for ultimate seclusion.

Lord Howe Island

Guide to Tahiti | World of Wanderlust

Mo’orea, Tahiti

When you think of Tahiti as a honeymoon destination, it would be easy to think straight to the iconic Bora Bora, one of the most popular honeymoon destinations across the world (and believed to be where the overwater bungalow was invented). However after visiting Tahiti this year and experiencing a few different islands, I would have to argue that the best honeymoon is to be found in Mo’orea! This island is much more cultural and authentic, but still offers beautiful beaches, plenty of jungle to explore, and incredible French cuisine.

Mo’orea Tahiti

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Freycinet, Tasmania

Although I’m a little bias (being a Tasmanian myself), I truly believe Tasmania has some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the entire world. Undeniably one of the top picks is Freycinet, located on the East Coast but feeling a world away from reality.

The best things to do in Tasmania

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Lapland, Finland

If you’re after a winter honeymoon destination reminiscent of Narnia, Lapland should be at the top of your list. With reindeers, igloos and everything in between, a trip to the north of Finland is sure to be talked about for decades to come.

Finland

The Cotswolds, England

Road tripping around the English countryside is one of the most romantic drives I have ever endured and nowhere is that more so than around the Cotswolds. The region is filled with history, charm, and some of the most beautiful thatched houses you ever did see!

The Cotswolds, England

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The Norwegian Fjords

Last but not least, how could one not fall in love with Norway! As one of the most expensive destinations in Europe, a great way to see the fjords is to book a cruise and hop-on-hop-off as you explore different villages and towns throughout the coast of Norway.

Cruising the Norwegian Fjords

The most Unique Honeymoons | World of Wanderlust

One of Australia’s best kept secrets: Why you Must Visit Lord Howe Island

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It was a few years ago when I learned about Lord Howe Island – a tiny island in the South Pacific roughly 11km long and at its widest point, 2km wide. At the time I was eager to see anything and everything foreign and far away, but with this year’s resolution to see more of Australia, I knew Lord Howe would finally earn its rightful place at the top of my must see list!

Living on an island myself (Tasmania), I am no stranger to the unique and untamed beauty the coastal islands off the mainland of Australia hold. However when I landed on Lord Howe Island after a two hour flight from Sydney, I could have easily mistaken myself for having entered a postcard of natural beauty. Seriously… this place is too pretty for words (hence the many photos you’re about to encounter!)

Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust

Stay: Arajilla Retreat

There are a range of hotels and retreats on the island, depending on the kind of vacation you’re after. As I visited Lord Howe Island solo and to escape reality, I chose a kids-free resort (there are two on the island – Arajilla Retreat and Capella Lodge). Both of these resorts are five star, all inclusive retreats – perfect for honeymooners or couples looking to relax and unwind (though if you’re a family, fear not! There are family-oriented resorts on the island, too).

Arajilla Retreat is hidden off the main road, in a jungle of palm trees and natural flora. The rooms are simple and uncomplicated, with the whole lodge having a really laidback, fuss-free vibe. Meals were certainly the highlight of my stay: with all-inclusive breakfast, lunch (picnic style if you’re adventuring) and three-course gastronomic dinners.

Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust

Getting Around the Island

Before visiting Lord Howe Island I began to research car hire to plan my trip around the island… little did I know hire cars aren’t a thing! The island is so small and the roads so limited that the best way to get around and see the island is by bicycle. Most resorts provide these to guests and other than exploring the hiking trails on foot, this is sure to be the only mode of transport you will require!  Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust

Points of Interest

For such a small island, there is a lot to see on Lord Howe Island. If you would consider yourself an active traveller and would like to experience the best hiking trails on the island, please see below!

Mount Gower – available only as a guided hike due to sheer cliff faces and ropes required to complete the hike. Undoubtedly one of the best views on the island (the highest) and well worth the effort!

Goat House Cave – the second most celebrated hike on the island and a great half day trek combined with another walk in the vicinity.

Kim’s Lookout to Malabar Hill – one of the best viewpoints to capture Mt Gower in the frame. This is also a great spot to watch the sunset.

Herring Pools – although you’ll have to hike to get here, this is one of the most serene points on the island. You can swim in the natural swimming pools and enjoy one of the more remote parts of the island.

Lord Howe Island

Ned’s Beach – here you can view the fish feeding and experience the clearest water on the island, making it the perfect snorkelling spot. You will be joined by turtles, Galapogos sharks and kingfish!

Blinky Beach – the best point on the island to view local surfers and great for sunrise photos.

The Lagoon – perfect conditions for paddle boarding! This is the most central point on the island, nearby to shops and cafes, as well as where most tours depart from.

Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust

Getting There

Qantas Link flies to Lord Howe Island daily from Sydney and on select days from Brisbane. After my luggage did not make the connection and learning that many passengers have this problem upon arrival, I would suggest packing your camera, swimmers and an outfit or two in your carry-on!

Lord Howe Island Travel Guide | World of Wanderlust

Thanks to Visit New South Wales for welcoming me to Lord Howe Island as part of their new SNAP & SHARE campaign! Be sure to share your own NSW adventures with #iLoveNSW. Visit www.visitnsw.com/ilovensw for more.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!

10 Tips on How to Bake the Perfect Cupcake

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Nothing sells better at my bakery than cupcakes. Whether its a chocolate cupcake topped with peanut buttercream and a snickers or the old and faithful vanilla-vanilla, cupcakes have been flying out the door since we opened in October last year. As someone who adores all things sweet (especially when they’re pretty), I want to share with you my tips on how to bake the perfect cupcake, as I’m a firm believer that a cupcake can solve anything!

The_Perfect_Cupcake

1. Use room temperature ingredients

The first step is one of the most important if you’re looking to create a perfectly shaped cupcake. Get your ingredients out of the fridge around one hour before you plan to bake, or be naughty like me and speed up the process to bring butter to room temperature with a quick zap in the microwave.

2. Measure in grams instead of cups

A French pastry chef once told me the best piece of advice he could ever give me was to always measure in grams in order to achieve the same result every time. No truer words. While cupcakes are much more forgiving than the likes of macarons (where every gram counts), it helps to be in the habit of measuring!

3. Do not over mix the batter

A huge no-no in the realm of baking is to over-mix your batter. Over mixing will lead to ill-shaped cupcakes that do not rise properly. Make sure you mix according to recipe instructions, wipe down the bottom of the bowl with a spatula often, and never over-mix.

4. Use a scoop to divide batter

The best way (I have found) to quickly but carefully measure out your cupcake batter is to use an ice cream scoop. I’ve tried all sorts of whacky ways to evenly divide the batter, but none is more effective than the good ol’ fashioned ice cream scoop. Use a scoop with a lever for quicker portioning.

Starting your own Bakery | Charlie's Dessert House

5. Tap on the bench before baking

Before you pop your cupcake trays in the oven, give them a light tap on the counter to ensure the batter is firmly in the baking cups and not wonky.

6. Rotate cupcakes whilst baking

After your cupcake are at least half way through the full baking time (imperative: do not open the oven before 50% of baking time is complete), rotate them in the oven to ensure even cooking.

7. Learn how to make the Perfect Buttercream

It took me a while to perfect the art of buttercream, something so easy but equally so easy to stuff up! You want a firm buttercream to ice your cupcakes, but not so firm that it doesn’t glide elegantly through the piping bag and on to your cupcake. Buttercream recipe to follow shortly!

8. Pipe with tips in varying styles

The best way to alternate your decorating style is to invest in a few different piping tips. This is an easy way to jazz up your cupcakes with little effort.

The_Perfect_Cupcake

9. Be inventive with flavour combos

One of my favourite things about baking is to be inventive and surprise our customers! Flavours like salted caramel, snickers and nutella always sell out quickly… but the fun additions of new flavours are what makes every day new and exciting at Charlie’s!

10. Sprinkles make the world go ’round!

Last but not least, you absolutely must decorate your cupcakes for that added touch of perfection! Sprinkles, small decorations to show the flavour and toppings are a great way to make your cupcakes stand out!

How to make the perfect cupcakes | World of Wanderlust

All imagery from my bakery, Charlie’s Dessert House.

Brooke Saward

Brooke founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen!