All posts by Sandra Graham

I am an artist and blogger living in Sydney, Australia. I am interested in Australian landscapes and lost suburbia, capturing them in photographs, paintings, prints and mixed media. @s_graham_art

Lord Howe Island – Views of the Lagoon

Lord Howe is an island, foremost, so let’s have a few more views of the water. We stayed on the western side of the island and hence got our fill of views of the Lagoon. No name, just Lagoon, since it’s the only one.

It is the most southern reef system in the world, and it is beautiful to look at and swim in whatever the weather, since there is no sewage or storm-water run-off to pollute its clean waters. The uniqueness of the marine environment obviously helped gain the island a UNESCO world heritage listing.

In the middle of the lagoon, about 700m off-shore, is Rabbit Island (officially, Blackburn Island), which produces a lovely focal point to the view. It might have been overrun with pests like rabbits in the past (hence its name), but after the big clean-up, it’s now pristine.

There are lots of snorkeling opportunities on the Lagoon, as well as lots of fishing opportunities. Hubby brought his fishing gear all the way from home and was eager to cast a line. It’s certainly a scenic place to do it.

And on the shore, there were interesting details to examine while I waited for hubby to land a catch (he did eventually, by the way).

Lord Howe Island – Views of the Mountains

Lord Howe Island is idyllic, but it doesn’t mean that its weather is too. Remember that it’s a tiny speck in the very big blue Pacific Ocean. Whatever weather the mainland gets, it gets too, albeit it doesn’t last too long, and it’s moderated by the ocean.

I was rather taken with the panorama of Mounts Gower and Lidgbird during my stay, so I made a habit of taking at least one photo of them per day. Turns out that it also creates a very good little chronology of the weather on the island during my stay too, and as you can see, it’s not always idyllic.

Lord Howe Island – Under the Canopy

Despite the presence of settlers for almost 190 years, the island still retains much of its original vegetation. That vegetation is in the form of subtropical rainforest. With the impressive landforms of Mounts Lidgbird and Gower (the remnants of a 7 million year old volcano) that drop off right into the ocean, the landscape is very Jurassic Park– like.

Under Mount Gower
Little Island Track.
Under Mount Gower
Under Mount Gower
Under the Canopy

You can see the presence of Kentia palms everywhere in the rainforest. These palms are commonly found as indoor plants everywhere around the world from back in the 19th Century.

Under the Canopy

Aside from these palms, there is also a variety of strangler vines and multi-coloured fungi.

Strangler Figs
Forest fungi

All of this is a short stroll from civilisation – and with the both easy and challenging tracks about, and the lack of stinging insects, it means that this rainforest is just about perfect (for me anyway)!

Lord Howe Island – Pine Trees and Birds

The most iconic tree on Lord Howe Island isn’t a native at all, but an introduced species – the Norfolk Island Pine. Some sailors thought it would be good wood for ship building – and found out too late that it wasn’t.

The Boathouse
The Boathouse, Lord Howe Island.
Lord Howe Island Trees
The Pine Trees Lodge, Lord Howe Island.

There are lots of trees on the island, and lots of birds that make their home there. Some birds are frequent visitors, like the sooty tern.

Sooty tern
Sooty tern, Lord Howe Island.

Others are native flightless birds like the buff-banded rail.

Lord Howe Island Buff Banded Rail
Buff-banded rail, Lord Howe Island.

This beautiful green dove.

Emerald Ground Dove
Emerald Ground Dove, Lord Howe Island.

And the most beloved bird on the island, the Woodhen.

Adult woodhen, Lord Howe Island.

With no native land-based predators, the flightless birds just took over the island – until the rats came. Just 10 years ago, the woodhen was endangered as the island was over-run by rats. The island embarked on an ambitious rat-eradication program, which was successful, and now the birds are flourishing. We even saw a few chicks running around.

Woodhen chicks, Lord Howe Island.

An introduction to Lord Howe Island

Yes, yet another visitor to this place. For those who don’t know anything about the island, this speck in the Pacific Ocean is tiny – 10km by 2km. It is 800km north-east of Sydney and consists of 800 permanent residents and (up to) 800 tourists. Flying in is an experience.

Is the effort worth it? Well, you be the judge.

View from Lord Howe Island Lagoon
Afternoon view from Lagoon Beach.


Well, it might have taken me awhile, but we’ve finally come to the final chapter of our 2019 Tasmanian trip – a short visit to Hobart. On this visit, we stayed in the historic inner city suburb of Battery Point. It is on a hill and so affords a good view of the Derwent River.

Battery Point Walk

While wandering around the local park, hubby was happy to find out that it had had a famous scientific visitor in the past.

Battery Point Walk

Wandering around Battery Point and its neighbouring suburb, Sandy Bay, we were happy to see a lot of colonial era houses still in good condition. Probably not surprising since they’re two of the most expensive suburbs of Hobart.

That’s all from Tasmania. But I’ve done some travelling since then, so I’ll be back with more adventures soon!

Lake St Clair – Part 3

Being in the middle of Tassie, you might wonder if there were any animals about. There were, though many of them were elusive. The most accessible were actually the marsupials. We have seen pademelons before way back in Stanley.

A pademelon grazing.

But it was my first glimpse of the following two animals. As I said in my previous post, the cooler Tasmanian weather produces some interesting adaptations to otherwise run-of-the-mill ‘mainland’ species. Look at these two and see how they differ from their northern cousins.

Tasmanian Wombat
Tasmanian wombat
Tasmanian Echidna
Tasmanian echidna.

And the big lake is of course stocked with trout, for all those keen anglers.

Brown Trout
Brown Trout.

Lake St Clair – Part 2

The following day, the weather was not fine, but the rain just added to the drama of the scenery.

We still went for a slightly wet wander close to Pumphouse Point, and we found a lot to see. Tasmanian flora and fauna is so very distinct from those of the mainland. It’s one of the main reasons for visiting this area.

Today, we’ll concentrate on the flora. Despite the weather, it was early summer, so there was plenty of wildflowers in bloom.

Much of the flowers were small and wispy. I suppose they can’t get very big in so cool a climate.

Lake St Clair – Part 1

Continuing on our pre-Covid Tasmanian road-trip, we made our way from the West Coast to the East. That involved passing through a bit of wilderness.

It had been 14 years since I had passed this way, when I walked the Overland Track. This time, I wasn’t in good enough physical shape to walk the track, but I did want to see the area again. Our ‘compromise’ was to stay at Pumphouse Point, a wilderness resort right by the lake.

Lake St Clair at Pumphouse Point
Lake St Clair at Pumphouse Point
Lake St Clair at Pumphouse Point

But the main event isn’t the accommodation (in my opinion) but the wonderful view of Lake St. Clair.

Lake St Clair at Pumphouse Point
Lake St Clair at Pumphouse Point

Western Tasmania – Part 5

The last town we’ll visit on our tour of Western Tasmania is Strahan.


This town is also the smallest and the most remote, surrounded by thick forest, and being 270km and 301km by road to Launceston and Hobart respectively.


But despite its current size, this town is also historically one of the most important in the region due to its location on the shore of Macquarie Harbour, a deep water harbour, and the closest access point to the surrounding towns. The railway originally terminated here.


This harbour was a highway that carried ships that transported copper, gold and other resources, like timber from the surrounding forests, and in the 19th Century, convicts. Sarah Island is a small island in the harbour that was the home of the most secure penal colony in the land. I remember learning about this area in high school when we read the classic Australian novel, For the Term of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke. The description of life on the island and a convict’s determination to escape it was especially vivid.