If you're seeking a holiday destination that is unspoilt and not thronged with crowds, Lord Howe Island in Australia might fit the bill for you. The stunning island, located 700km northeast of Sydney, has a population of around 380 and only allows 400 visitors to stay per night. It was listed as a Unesco World Heritage property in 1982 and has a crystal-clear lagoon that is perfect for swimming, snorkelling and other water sports.
Rising from the Pacific, Lord Howe's tropical beauty flies under the radar, given the jaw-dropping spectacle of the former volcano that you see as you fly in. It was formed by hot-spot volcanic activity around seven million years ago, and its landscape includes caves, two lofty mountains overlooking an idyllic lagoon that are ideal for hiking, perfect crescents of beach, a verdant interior criss-crossed with walking trails and the world's most southern coral reef.
The island's restricted accommodation and flight capacity mean that a visit here doesn't come cheap, but relaxation is guaranteed with limited internet and no mobile signal. There are only 400 licensed tourist beds on the island, which are said to be costly to acquire, and they are comprised of a few hotels and mainly bed and breakfast accommodation and cottages. The tourist cap was put in place to protect the island's delicate ecosystem, which is instrumental in conserving threatened species on the island.
Lord Howe Island's isolation lends it a unique ecology, with many plant and insect species found only here, and there are plenty of birds, including the flightless Lord Howe Woodhen. Flights depart most days to it from Sydney and weekend flights depart from Brisbane. Further information on the island is available here.