Should you ever jump out of a plane somewhere half way between Brisbane and Auckland you may be lucky enough to land on Lord Howe Island. Otherwise you'll end up in the sea with no land for hundreds of Ks in any direction.
With said luck, having landed softly on this extraordinarily beautiful 10km island, still to get mobile, internet or wi-fi, you would have found 8 shiny, unused boules hidden in a store cupboard in a magic place called Pinetrees.
Intrepid mis-adventurers Mary and Keven visited Lord Howe to join a walking and photography group for the week but also with a mission to add to Camberwell's geographic reach. With Kevin and Barb, 2 friends we met at Pinetrees and coincidentally from nearby Hawthorn, we set out to christen the unused boules and equally unused rough foreshore track as the "Camberwell Petanque Club at Lord Howe". We even managed to borrow a cosy clubhouse for the occasion! The moment was recorded in graphic colour on our last rainy, windblown day by renowned underwater photographer Ray Oliver, also from the group at Pinetrees.
As well as furthering our Club's global influence there was the small matter of re-claiming the title of CPC's most exotic outpost from recent upstart usurpers Rex and Kathy. We are still questioning their claim that Falls Creek (pondage height a mere 5233ft – that's the high water level not the bottom of the lake) justifies claiming the title from January's Hotham adventurers (clearly higher at 5607ft – that's the piste itself, not Hotham peak). Perhaps R & K were standing on a mountain top; bit difficult for a minimum 6m throw though. We remain in doubt!
Tricky place to get to, Lord Howe. Flights can be cancelled due to poor visibility, not just because the pilot can't see the runway, it'd be near impossible to find the island in the first place. We lost a full day in Sydney waiting for the weather to clear to get there, neatly balanced when Qantas cancelled all return flights before getting us home a day late. Apart from this it was an outstanding, sunny week spent with an interesting group of people, learning a lot about our cameras, scrambling, often near vertically, up one of the world's more challenging day walks (still suffering days later) and eating outstanding food at the most welcoming hotel/resort we can recall. Lord Howe claims to be a pristine wilderness home to the world's rarest palm tree and rarest sea bird, both found nowhere else but at the top of Mt Gower. David Attenborough described it as "so extraordinary it is almost unbelievable ... few islands, surely, can be so accessible, so remarkable, yet so unspoilt."
We ended up enthused with photography and how much there is still to learn, as you can all see! Two of the photos may need some explaining!
Click on images to enlarge