Book Review: Capturing the Beauty of Australia’s Lord Howe Island

Above: Overlooking King Point, at the southern tip of Lord Howe Island.

A new book showcases the natural bounty of Australia’s Lord Howe Island

By Natasha Dragun

“For me, living on Lord Howe is like living inside a David Attenborough documentary,” says naturalist and author Ian Hutton of his home of more than 30 years. A crescent-shaped island off the east coast of Australia, roughly 700 kilometers from Sydney, Lord Howe is ringed by the world’s most southerly coral reef and covered by lush subtropical flora. The island is the eroded remnant of a seven-million-year-old shield volcano, and its mineral-rich soil is a fertile base for exotic endemic plants, including a rare species of mushroom that glows in the dark. Various seabirds—the Providence petel, sooty tern, and flesh-footed shearwater, among others—thrive here as well, with rookeries among Howe’s basalt peaks and shallow lagoons. These dramatic environs are sustained by strict environmental policies, in place since the island’s designation as a World Heritage Site in 1982. The number of hotel beds is capped at 400, and the driving speed limit is 25 kph. Local residents—there are only 350—have established various conservation efforts to eradicate the island’s weeds and rodents and remove feral animals. It’s all detailed in a beautiful new photo book by Hutton, A Guide to World Heritage Lord Howe Island. Having authored pocket guides and photographic journals about the island over the years, Hutton says that his newest work “has grown from my love for the island and my wish to share its natural beauty and environmental treasures.”

Buy Ian Hutton’s book online at All proceeds from its sale go to the Lord Howe Island Museum to continue conservation and tourism projects.

Originally appeared in the June/July 2009 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Natural Selection”)

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