I was so excited to spend my summer in Australia last year because it is the first time I will get to visit the land down under and its amazing beaches. Taking a two weeks break from our work in Los Angeles as a glamour and fashion photographer was a refreshing change from the routine of photo shoots, late night parties, and numerous go sees’ for me and my fashion model wife. We truly enjoyed the waters and the amazing sceneries that go along with every beach we visited. It was fun to discover the smallest continent having rich nature reserves, mountains, low islands and coral reefs. Taking beautiful photographs of the island was the best way to perpetualize its natural charm and wonder.
We rented bikes to better see all the beauty along the waters of the Ned’s Beach. I arranged for the gears and wetsuits at a local dive shop so my wife and I can enjoy the snorkeling adventures on this beach. Once we hit the waters it was captivating as we saw a magical underwater world waiting for us in the ocean floor. The multi colored reefs are home to many different types of marine life, including flowerlike corals. Colonies of these tiny creatures form the major structure of the reef. I was in awe when brightly colored fishes swiftly dart between plants while a deadly jellyfish lurk in the shadows of the corals. On high tides my wife gets thrilled as she walk along a pool with fishes following her feet. Reef sharks are a surprising occurrence so it was very important to be cautious as we stroll along and swim. We made the most of our exploration here as we strolled along further at the sandy beaches of Lagoon Beach. We even rented out a boat to take us top the other island to find different drift reefs to snorkel and challenging dive spots. We enjoyed the rich marine animals we found as well as the calm parts of the island.
After a well rested first night we joined a group of other tourists who are set to conquer the trail hikes of Mt. Gower. I wore only my tank tops and shorts, good hiking shoes and packed all our essentials. I came ready with my cameras and tripod as my wife readied our provisions and extra shirts. We travelled light, no unnecessary weights on our bags and stick to the basic approach. Our expedition guide led that pleasant climb on a sunny weather. On a half day we already reach part of the cliff with occasional breaks to sip pure water along the brooks and streams we find. Humidity was so high but it was a good climb with a few slippery points along the way where we needed to use ropes to climb. It is good we have enough agility to overcome some points. After five hours of continuous trekking, we reached the top and it was so breathtaking! We stayed awhile took great pictures and soak in the beauty of the picturesque views of the nearby mountains and the city. It was foggy when we decided to descend and the trail proved much harder to conquer with slippery leaves and paths. When we reached the base camp we were exhausted, dirty, but happy about our great adventure despite the fog and humidity. Conquering the mountain was the greatest highlight of our tour.
After a memorable mountain trip we hit the waters again with PADI certified instructors of the Howea Divers. Their team of professional divers carefully guided us to safety as we explored the best dive sites along this island. My underwater camera was put to good use as I took shots of kingfisher, clown fishes, and other species of colorful tropical fishes and corals. There was a part where we saw huge stingrays lying on the floor and nursery sharks quietly swimming past dive spots. I made the most of my time as the good weather continue to give good underwater visibility. The waters are literally teeming with fishes all around; at one point my wife got tired and settled on feeding the fishes from the boat. Our helpful guide Paul was not only an excellent diver but a great cook too as he prepares our day’s catch and paired it with a seaweed salad to enjoy that heavy meal we had on his boat. We maximized our diving experience when we tried the Pro Dive Lord Howe Island Divers. From this professional diving company we were guided to six other safe dive spots that was pure diving heaven as we get to see what makes the island more intriguing. Fish, corals and essential marine life like moray eels, giant turtles, manta rays, etc. in great multitude. I highly recommend their professional diving services.
The following day we got full orientation about the history and maintenance works to make this island clean and environmentally self sufficient at the Chase n Thyme Bus Tours. Peter drove us along to the many interesting points of the island. We often stop to take pictures of the mountains, coasts, and unique landscape. It is an impressive and worthwhile bus tour through a fantastic island. Afterwards we went into another hiking adventure as provided by the Lord Howe Island Walking Trails. It was so much fun as we get up to the edges of the rocky cliffs facing the sea. To fully enjoy this service one must be physically active and with strong knees to keep up with the steep and sometimes challenging trails. The treacherous hike to reach the top of the Malabar Hills was the most challenging one. The accelerating heights with panoramic scenes along the way leads us to the next look out point called the Kim’s Lookout. Both were so exhausting and exhilarating but the rewards on top were totally liberating.
At the North Bay Look out Point we admire the scenes of the loud waves hitting the rocky cliff side of the island. Its more than five hundred rope handled steps tested my lower extremities’ strength and endurance. We needed to take down the hundred steps again to reach another part of the island called the Old Settlement Beach. Around this time I can already feel my knees complaining so we took our pace from the rest of the other tourists and just continue to explore the rest of the island on our own. During our look out adventure I took the opportunity to take pictures of my wife with the great ocean as her backdrop. I got so many perfect shots as the wonderful changes in light is affected by the weather shits from sunny to dark clouds hovering above us on this idyllic island. We proceed to finish the tour and with hiking sticks I was able to finish the rest of the walking trail up to the less challenging Transit Hill Look out Point. The scenic and captivating view of the Pacific Ocean was a great relief. For the last part of our tour we enjoyed our late afternoon picnic having grilled fresh seafood and a dip into the cold waters of the Blinky Beach. A couple of other tourist joined us in and shared their own food to us. It was fun as we had a small farewell party before finally going back to America that night.
The amazing experience thrills me to no end until now. When I look back every picture tells so many stories. It was such an honor to see and capture its beauty. Lord Howe Island, see you again next year.