LORD Howe Island has been ranked the world's fifth- best region to visit in 2020 by global travel authority Lonely Planet.
"Parked in the middle of nowhere... this visually stunning island makes an instant impact on the senses with its jaw-dropping World Heritage-listed beauty," Lonely Planet writes in in its new publication, Best in Travel 2020.
And it's all so true. Just 11km by 3km, the crescent-shaped dot in the Pacific is the ultimate getaway, with fine weather and just 400 visitors allowed at any time.
With the world's most southerly coral reef on its doorstep, its spectacular twin peaks and peaceful lush forest walks, Lord Howe will take your breath away.
Here are ten top things to do if you go:
1. Hike world-class mountains
It's not for the faint-hearted but the guided class 5 walk hike to Mount Gower (875, eight hours return) is considered one of the world's best climbs. The astounding views will leaving you truly feeling on top of the world.
2. Dive right in
The reef is perfect for scuba divers and snorkellers, who will find 90 coral species, green and hawksbill turtles and 500 species of fish. More than 60 dive sites lure divers of all skill levels; local operators offer PADI diving courses, while glass-bottom boat tours are another option.
3. Go bird watching
Lord Howe boasts more than 130 permanent and migratory bird species unique to the island. In winter, it's a breeding ground for providence petrels that wheel in the sky in huge numbers. En route to Mount Gower, encounter Lord Howe's famous woodhen.
4. Visit Ball's Pyramid
Twenty-three kilometres to the south of Lord Howe is a spectacular 550-metre spearhead of grey basalt that is the world's largest sea stack, home to extraordinary birdlife and perhaps the world's rarest insect. A cruise there is astonishing.
5. Throw a line
Lord Howe is a top destination for those seeking yellowfin tuna, wahoo, marlin and more. The waters are also alive with delicious fish including whiting, trevally, bonefish, Australian salmon, spangled emperor, bluefish and wrasse.
6. Feed the marine life
Neds Beach is known for the colourful fish and occasional turtles that inhabit the crystal-clear waters. Just wade in and hand-feed mullet and butterfly fish, or snorkel the shallow reef to see giant clams and corals.
7. Rent a kayak or bike
Rent a kayak and take to the water to see the day end in a blaze of glory. Or cycle through lush forests: Rent or borrow a bike from your accommodation and explore the island at your leisure, with little or no traffic at all.
8. Discover the history
Visit Lord Howe Island Museum, a treasure chest of natural history, collections, displays, information and gifts.
9. Try the fish fry buffet
Available for only two nights a week, this dining experience at Beach House on the Moon is renowned to locals and travellers alike, and is a must for anyone staying on the island on Monday or Friday evenings. Or enjoy your catch of the day at Arajilla Retreat courtesy of head chef Ben Crompton.
9. Play a round
Originating from a market garden in 1969, Lord Howe Golf Course is now one of the most picturesque and challenging in Australia. From the shadows of Mount Lidgbird and Mount Gower, the course meanders through lush kentia palm forest out into the gently undulating open fairways along the ocean foreshore.
For more information go to www.lordhoweisland.info