The most delightful buildings for me in this little town are its little historical cottages. They come in different shapes and sizes, and some look as if it’s been little changed since the Gold Rush.
As you can probably tell, they’re pretty well maintained and some are even lived in. Although I suppose if you’re a resident you’d have to tolerate tourists like me taking snapshots of (potentially) your washing.
Given that Hill End was home to 8,000 people at its height, there are quite a few buildings of note. They are a good representation of 19th Century Australian country architecture. Many are no longer in use, and the two that are, are predictably, the pub…
And the general store/cafe.
They both seem to do a good trade catering to the needs of the locals and visitors.
Around the village was a full complement of traditional churches that seemed to still be in operation as well.
But there were also a lot of buildings that seemed to have been commercial premises at some stage of their lives but are now either empty or used for residential purposes. I wonder what they were all used for?
At the end of 2021, after nearly 2 years of Covid-19, we took a car holiday in NSW. Not wanting to travel too far from our home in Sydney, in case the state borders, or the city borders, locked down once again (as it had done multiple times in the preceding months), we set our sights rather close to home to Central NSW. It’s a region that we were familiar with, having visited different places at various times, however there was still plenty of pockets left to explore.
Our first stop was the historical village of Hill End. This is a former gold rush town, which hit the area during the 1850s and inflated its local population to 8,000. When the easy gold (originally alluvial, found in local water-ways) ran dry, the population declined. By 1945, the population was 700. In 2016, it was 80. I’m not really sure of the population post-Covid as at 2023. I would think there might be a few people who would want to move to such an historic and scenic spot.
This is the northern approach to the town. It’s not the most accessible town in the Central West, accessible by sealed but quiet and twisting, country roads from either Bathurst or Mudgee. But once you’re there you can visit a heritage town. A shout out to the brave people north of Hill End, who valiantly fought a bushfire a fortnight ago. The fire thankfully did not reach the village.
I’ll end our look at Lord Howe Island with some photos of aspects of life that is not in those beautiful vista photos. After all, the island does survive on tourism. So how do they keep all those people and where does the waste go?
I can only answer some of those questions. I think the island tries its best to keep everything it does in-house as the only two methods of transport are…
That’s pretty much it. So everything has to be shipped it and out on either way.
Once you get walking around the island, you might notice quite a bit of pastureland in the middle.
It’s generally used as grazing land for the island’s dairy cow herd. You’ll see them throughout the island.
So the island gets fresh milk each day. There are also vegetable gardens that grow well in the moist, volcanic soil.
So there is fresh produce available, albeit the grow-your-own variety.
And the island has an extensive solar panel system, that I heard will be expanded. And of course, everyone is on rainwater tank (no shortage of rain here).
I heard that recycling is collected but has to be shipped off the island for processing, so our accommodation had compostable throwaways.
Anyway, it’s good to see the island doing all it can to be sustainable.
And that’s all she wrote for Lord Howe Island. I hope these posts have given you a good taster if you’re thinking of going, or jog your memory if you’ve already been. It’s definitely worth while making the effort to visit.
And given that this holiday was in 2020, I’ve got plenty more trips to catch up on!
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 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.
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.
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.
Aside from these palms, there is also a variety of strangler vines and multi-coloured 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)!
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.
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.
Others are native flightless birds like the buff-banded rail.
This beautiful green dove.
And the most beloved bird on the island, the Woodhen.
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.
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.
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.
While wandering around the local park, hubby was happy to find out that it had had a famous scientific visitor in the past.
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!