Lord Howe Island reopening northern walking tracks from this weekend

Access to northern sections of Lord Howe Island’s Permanent Park Preserve is being restored, enabling visitors to once again experience some of Australia’s best walking tracks from 25 March.

Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island Board (LHIB) Chair, Atticus Fleming, said that after extensive searches in the settlement and Permanent Park Preserve (PPP), no new sites of myrtle rust infestation have been located on the island. 

“This is very pleasing news. As of 23 March, there were no active spores in areas of known infestation.

“Following an extensive treatment and monitoring program and isolation of the myrtle rust outbreak, vegetation adjacent to formal tracks in the PPP has been assessed and a staged reopening of tracks is underway. 

“Based on technical advice, the successful treatment of known myrtle rust sites, and establishment of hygiene stations and rigorous protocols, walking tracks in the northern section of the island can be opened.

“We have confidence that, with the support of walkers, the necessary hygiene practices can be implemented consistently and effectively to support visitation. 

“Continued vigilance will be required along with rapid treatment of any future detected outbreaks. 

“Visitors will be provided with updated pre-trip information on biosecurity hazards and actions they can take to reduce the risk of transmission. 

“Signage and equipment to undertake treatment before entering the PPP will be available at the start of walking tracks, the airport, the LHIB office and the community hall.  

“In response to a request by the Lord Howe Island Board to help manage this outbreak of myrtle rust, a contingent of National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) staff are on the island assisting with assessments of the PPP and running an incident management team in collaboration with the LHIB to oversee the response to the outbreak. 

“As an initial response LHIB and NPWS staff will be located at track heads during key times when walkers set off on their journey, to help walkers better understand correct biosecurity protocols.  

“The reopening of the PPP is a result of the combined effort of the community, LHIB and NPWS in planning for the continued protection of the unique values of Lord Howe Island. 

“The LHIB is working hard to ensure a staged reopening of the island can occur as soon as possible, in a manner that does not pose a risk to the world heritage values of the island or the future of the tourism industry.

“Myrtle rust is a serious threat to the health and integrity of ecosystems. It will be a great credit to the Lord Howe Island community if it can be eradicated after this 2023 incursion, noting successful eradication also occurred in 2016,” Mr Fleming said. 

For further information, visit: News and events – Lord Howe Island Board.