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It was a beautiful day to be on Lord Howe Island today. We were recorded as the hottest place in New South Wales, reaching a very balmy 19.8 degrees Celsius. Being July, you would expect to be bundled up in your winter woolies, snuggling up by the open fire! Our average low is approximately14 degrees over winter, so we won’t be looking out for a snow-capped Mount Gower any time soon.
Lord Howe is fortunate to have its very own Bureau of Meteorology, which has been around for over 100 years. The Met (as it is known to islanders) not only provides much needed climatological data for aircraft using the island’s airstrip, and for sea-faring islanders, it also provides data that can be used all over the globe.
Our meteorologist collects data daily from weather balloons outfitted with a thermometer, hygrometer, and barometer. A radar can track the balloon for two hours, and the Met can then collect all the information relevant to the daily forecast.
Tourists and islanders alike enjoy watching the balloon being released, and the local meteorologist is always happy to have a chat about the process. Bus tours that operate around the island will stop in at the Met, and you can learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the weather!
Lord Howe Island has achieved a ’number one’ ranking for visitor satisfaction across 62 regions of Australia in a Tourism Research Australia Visitor Profile Satisfaction Report released today by the Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson AM MP and the Member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek MP.
The Lord Howe survey stated that 94% of visitors were satisfied with their visit, with 82% ‘very satisfied’. Some of the criteria where visitors’ expectations were exceeded included ‘nature-based experiences’; ‘something the kids would enjoy’; a place to spend quality time with partner/family/friends’; ‘an adventure’; and ‘the opportunity to discover or learn something new’.
“The tourism industry on Lord Howe is mostly made up of family-run businesses, so as a community, we’re extremely proud to be recognised as number one in the country – and proud that we’ve been able to deliver wonderful holiday experiences for so many visitors, many of whom return year after year,” said Pixie Rourke, Chair of the Lord Howe Island Tourism Association.
See the Minister’s release at:
and view Visitor Profile and Satisfaction (VPS) Reports at http://www.ret.gov.au/tourism/tra/regional/destinations/Pages/default.aspx
Libby, Lodge Manager| It’s March and the Providence Petrel is back on Lord Howe Island. The incredibly rare Petrel once bred in only two places on earth, LHI and Norfolk Island. The bird was named in 1790 after the Norfolk Island supply ship HMS Sirius sank. Norfolk Island’s population survived by eating more than 170,000 of these birds and ultimately wiped them of the face of the island.
Now LHI is the only place that they nest. They arrive every March to mate and breed on the slopes of Mounts Gower and Lidgbird. In the late afternoon you see hundreds if not thousands of birds forming a halo around the mountains. If you walk to Little Island (20 mins from Capella) you will see the birds on a mirror flight pattern just above your head.
Then (if no-one is around as you do feel a bit silly) you can ‘call the birds down”. Down from the blue come these wild and extremely rare petrels, literally dropping out of the sky to climb into your hands (or bite your shoelaces) with no hint of fear.
There’s no explanation for this behavior other than the birds’ natural curiosity. It’s an extremely rare and special interaction that doesn’t occur anywhere else in the world. I have noticed that once the birds have mated they are not as keen to come down- I wonder if it is a strange mating ritual!
Clive Wilson, a well known Islander is starting his Providence Petrel Tour on Monday15th March .
From Libby, Capella Lodge Manager:
Autumn has arrived at Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island. This morning I drove two of our guests into the ‘town’ for an around-island boat tour. When we left the Lodge it was sunny with a few puffy clouds hugging the mountain tops. When we arrived at the local jetty, 4 km away, it was bucketing down with rain! (who says it rains more down in the south!) No sooner had the trip been postponed than the sun was shining again and we had a beautiful LHI day! (see attached photo to prove it!). That’s life on a small island in the middle of the ocean. So, the day has turned into a typical LHI day, we have guests enjoying a BBQ on the beach, climbing Kim’s lookout and fish feeding at Ned’s Beach. The local wildlife is also enjoying the weather. On the short drive home there were countless endemic Woodhens in nearly every puddle along the airstrip road. Wood hens and the local Land Rails love to bathe in every puddle they find. I noticed also that the Golden Plovers have their dark breeding plumage and must be getting ready to head back to Siberia. At this time of year the adult Shearwaters (Muttonbirds) and all the island’s migratory birds are readying themselves for their long journeys to the northern hemisphere. So change is on its way and we are looking forward to those cooler evenings when we can settle in next to the fire in the Lodge with a glass or two of red wine.
Welcome to the very first post on the Capella Lodge blog! This blog will include lots of exciting updates on what’s happening at Australia’s best-kept secret in luxury accommodation, Capella Lodge – and on the tiny, amazing subtropical paradise that is Lord Howe Island. Visit often to read about new features at Capella, special packages, recipes from the chef, seasonal produce, rare and amazing birds and marine life, or news from the small community of Capella staff and residents on Lord Howe. We’d love you to be a part of the blog; please do ask any questions or choose to leave a comment.