Rainbow-coloured fish swirled around my legs in crystal-clear South Pacific waters. On a semi-tropical rainforest walk, I clapped my hands and chirping flightless birds ran towards me, tame from lack of predators. People rode bicycles along 13km of narrow roads, through shady tunnels of overhanging palms and kids strolling to school barefoot. There were no billboards, room keys, bike locks or mobile phone reception.
Dropping coins into honour boxes, I picked up an avocado at a roadside fruit stand, a mask and snorkel at a deserted beach shack and a cart and clubs at the nine-hole golf course. Rarely were there more than two other people sunning themselves on one of the island’s 11 white-sand beaches, and the biggest crowds I saw were at the weekly fish fry.
Lord Howe Island was designated a Unesco World Heritage site in 1982 for its beauty and biodiversity (Credit: cuthbert48/Getty Images)