North Bay, at the north end of Lord Howe Island, is a relatively secluded beach only accessible by foot or water. It boasts good snorkelling, and is the starting point for short walks to Mt Eliza and Old Gulch.
This walk can be turned into a round trip by taking a route around the rocks from Old Settlement Beach to North Beach at low tide. The track notes assume that the return trip is by the rocks, but it all depends on the tides.
From 08 Feb 2000, last checked 08 Feb 2000
From the end of Lagoon Rd, walk to the end of Old Settlement Beach and then over the stile at the end of the paddock. There is a steep climb up Dawson's Ridge to a three way track junction. Taking the right fork heads to Kim's Lookout which may be worth a detour, but after this take the left fork. This drops steeply through palms and then turns right near the bottom to the North Bay picnic area.
From the picnic area there are a variety of options. The main ones are a walk along the beach to North Reef, and side trips to Mt Eliza and Old Gulch. Signs at the picnic area point out tracks to these places. Swimming at North Bay is also nice, and there is some good snorkelling near the wreck of the Favourite.
North Reef, at the far end of the beach, is worth a visit, and at low tide it is possible to walk for some distance out along the reef. There are invariably large numbers of wading birds including ruddy turnstones and godwits feeding in the shallows. Sea cucumbers and urchins can be found in many pools on the reef. You may also be able to see the steel posts of the wreck of the Favourite next to the reef
Mt Eliza is only a short walk away although there is a steep climb near the end. Mt Eliza is one of the main nesting sites for the Red-tailed Tropicbird and the Sooty Tern. The view from the top is apparently fantastic, but the track to the top is closed about two-thirds of the way up during the nesting season to protect the birds. The season is from about September through to March, so if you are trying to get a good view then you will be a bit disappointed.
Old Gulch is less than a 10 minute walk from the picnic place. The path opens out on to the aptly named Boulder Beach. The narrow inlet channels the waves crashing over the rocks, and swimming is not recommended. At low tide it is possible to walk around the right side of the Gulch and reach a series of pools in the rock ledges out near the open sea. At higher tide you may need a bit of climbing skill. These 'Herring Pools' are refilled with water every high tide, and contain a plethora of marine life, sometimes including small fish. It is easy to relax out here and watch the waves crash over the rock platform and the sea birds circling around the cliff above.
Back at the picnic area, it is worth walking around the rocks to get back to Old Settlement Beach. This is a bit less effort than climbing the hill again, but you may get your feet a bit wet if the tide is not low. If you are lucky, you may be able to spot a fossil in one of the rocks along the foreshore.
Once back at Old Settlement Beach it is a short walk back to where you left your bike at the end of Lagoon Rd.