Lord Howe Island (pronounced /ˈhaʊ/, or /ˈhæɔ/ in Australian English phonology) is an irregularly crescent-shaped volcanic remnant in the southwest Pacific Ocean. Lying in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand the island is 600 kilometres (370 mi) directly east of mainland Port Macquarie, 702 kilometres (436 mi) northeast of Sydney, and about 900 kilometres (560 mi) from Norfolk Island to its northeast.
The island is about 11 km long and between 2.8 km and 0.6 km wide with an area of 16.56 km2. Along the west coast there is a semi-enclosed sheltered coral reef lagoon with white sand, the most accessible of the island's eleven beaches. Both the north and south sections of the island are high ground of relatively untouched forest, in the south comprising two volcanic mountains, Mount Lidgbird (777 metres (2,549 ft)) and Mount Gower which, rising to (875 m (2,871 ft)), is the highest point on the island. In the north, where most of the population live, high points are Malabar (209 metres (686 ft)) and Mount Eliza (147 metres (482 ft)). Between these two uplands is an area of cleared lowland with some farming, the airstrip, and housing.
The Lord Howe Island Group of islands comprises 28 islands, islets and rocks. Apart from Lord Howe Island itself the most notable of these is the volcanic and uninhabited Balls Pyramid about 23 km to the south-east, which is sheer, pointed, bird-colonised and (551 metres (1,808 ft)) high. To the north there is the Admiralty Group, a cluster of seven small uninhabited islands. Just off the east coast is Mutton Bird Island, and in the lagoon is Blackburn (Rabbit) Island.
The Lord Howe Island Group is a New South Wales dependency that is administered by the Lord Howe Island Board. The Board reports directly to the New South Wales Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water, and is responsible for the care, control and management of the island. Its duties include: the protection of World Heritage values; control of development; administration of Crown Land, including the island’s protected areas; provision of community services and infrastructure; delivery of sustainable tourism. The Lord Howe Island Act of 1981 established a "Permanent Park Preserve" (covering approximately 70 per cent of the island). This placed the island under the NSW Planning and Environment Act and it included a Plan of Management for the future sustainable development of the island.
The island's outstanding natural history was recognised in 1982 when the Lord Howe Island Group was recorded by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site of global significance. Most of the island is virtually untouched forest on rugged terrain with many of the plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. Among its many natural attractions are the diversity and exceptional natural beauty of its landscapes, the wide variety of upper mantle and oceanic basalts, the world's southernmost barrier coral reef, fourteen different nesting seabirds, large numbers of rare and endemic species of plants and animals, and its rich historical and cultural heritage. Offshore environmental values are also recognised in the Lord Howe Island Marine Park; it consists of a New South Wales State Marine Park managed by the Marine Parks Authority of New South Wales in the waters out to 3 nautical miles around the island and including Ball's Pyramid; it also includes a Commonwealth Marine Park extending from 3 to 12 nautical miles out and managed by the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Heritage. In total the Marine Park covers about 3005 km2.
The island's standard time zone is UTC+10:30. During daylight saving time this shifts forward by only half an hour to UTC+11. The currency is the Australian dollar. Commuter airlines are linked to Sydney, Brisbane, Port Macquarie and Norfolk Island. There are no snakes, no venomous or stinging insects, animals or plants, and no daytime sharks off the beaches. Islanders use tank water in domestic residences and this is supplemented by bore water that is used for showers and washing.