Fringed by the world’s southernmost coral reef as well as gorgeous, sheltered beaches, dominated by two dramatic peaks, and inhabited by just around 400 permanent residents—Lord Howe Island is a secluded slice of paradise that lies about 600 km (370 miles) east of mainland Australia. As a UNESCO World Heritage island, it welcomes just 400 visitors at any time, so it never feels overcrowded. Most visitors hire bicycles
and spend their time snorkeling in the lagoon, hand-feeding fish, hiking, and bird-watching, while hardy types climb the summit of 875-meter (2,870-foot) Mt. Gower for sensational views.