Sunday 15 November 2015

Lord Howe Island Trip - Day 1

Day 1 - 15/11/2015 - Bundaberg to Lord Howe Island (LHI)

This isn’t going to be one of our regular camping trip posts, mainly because there is no camping on Lord Howe Island! Lord Howe Island is a world heritage listed island so therefor everything is protected and resident and visitor numbers are capped. There are about 300 permanent residents of the island, and visitor numbers are caped at about 400 at any one time on the island.

We arrived at the Bundaberg airport at 8:30am. As we were checking in they warned us that there was a chance that the flight from Brisbane to Lord Howe Island could be cancelled due to bad weather. After a quick call to the travel agent it was recommended that we still head to Brisbane because the flight hadn’t actually been cancelled at that stage.

On arrival at Brisbane we found out that our connecting flight to LHI had been delayed an hour as they were still assessing the weather conditions. That was a good sign, at least it wasn’t cancelled yet. The hour rolled around and it was delayed for another hour. Again, still happy that the flight hadn’t been cancelled.

We finally ended up boarding for the flight at 1:30pm. The flight time to LHI was about 1hr 45m, (about 600km east of Port Macquarie). We landed at about 4pm LHI time. LHI is part of NSW so day light saving time applies. The runway is small and limited by the ocean on both sides. We had heard that the landing and take offs could be a bit of a white knuckle experience due to the weather conditions and short runway. The landing was a bit bumpy due to the weather, but not too bad.

Due to the short runway there are also weight restrictions for luggage. 14kgs per person for checked luggage and 7kg per person carry on. It is amazing how quickly the weight adds up. My stripped down camera bag alone was 6.5kgs!

Here is a dodgy phone video of the landing.  You might have to go directly to the blog site to view it.

On disembarking from the plane we met Marg and Mike who were the hosts from The Treehouse accomodation where we were staying. Once we collected our bags they drove us around the island to show us where everything was located.

We found out from them that we were actually lucky to land! There had been two earlier flights from Sydney that morning that had been cancelled. And just because the plane takes off doesn’t guarantee that that you are still going to land on LHI! We heard a couple of stories where the plane has taken off, arrived at LHI and hasn’t been able to land so they have had to head back. There was one instance where people were on the plane for 8 hours as it flew out to the island, couldn’t land, went back to Port Macquarie, landed and couldn’t get off the plane, took off for attempt number two, arrived at LHI, couldn’t land so went back to Brisbane! We also found out the next day that there was only one other flight that came in after us and they took 2 attempts to land before actually landing. Due to taking so long trying to land, they then ran out of daylight to head back to the mainland. So the people that were meant to fly out that afternoon couldn’t leave. Based on what we had seen in the few minutes that we had been on the island, we were hoping that we might be in a similar situation in 7 days time :-)

The weather that was playing havoc with the flight schedules had dumped about 75mm of rain on the island the day before. As a result we were treated to a rare spectacle of a waterfalls on Intermediate Hill

Panorama. If you click on the image on the blog site you get a bigger version
Waterfalls at Neds Beach
After the quick tour of the island we headed back to The Treehouse to unpack and get settled in. 

Once settled we decided to go for a bit of a walk despite the overcast and rainy conditions.

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