Halfway up Mount Lidgbird on Lord Howe Island is Goat House Cave, a former shelter for 19th-century Kentia palm gatherers. (This is as high as you can get up Mount Lidgbird without climbing equipment – reaching the summit requires technical climbing skills and is discouraged due to nesting birds.) The track starts near the airport and climbs steadily up along Smoking Tree Ridge, over North Hummock, and towards the top of Intermediate Hill. Although the track is mostly through rainforest, there are occasional views of the airport and Blinky Beach below.
From North Hummock hundreds of nesting (and flying) mutton birds can be seen; just off the coast is Mutton Bird Island.
The track gets increasingly steep, with sections of rope near the end helping you climb the grassy slope and a last rock scramble near the cave.
Goat House Cave, which is more of a large overhang, is about 400 vertical metres up the mountain. Above the cave is a 200m vertical metre cliff that leads to the summit ridge. From here you can clearly see the outline of Balls Pyramid, the remnant of a shield volcano and caldera that formed lies 20km southeast of Lord Howe Island. In front of me is Smoking Tree Ridge and the northern end of Lord Howe Island.
You can return the same way, or take Mutton Bird Point Track which follows the edge of the coast. As I’m staying at Capella Lodge, I return via Soldier Creek Valley which descends to Kings Beach on the western side of the island.
When to go?
Lord Howe Island has a mild climate, and is ideal for hiking year-round. Average rainfall is highest from April – June, but you can should be able to hike to Goat House Cave at any time of the year.
Accommodation on Lord Howe Island
There are many places to stay on Lord Howe Island – but as there’s a cap on the number of visitors (40 per night) book as far in advance as you can. The Lord Howe Island official site has the full list of places to stay.
More information on Goat House Cave
- Beyond Tracks – The Goathouse track notes