Adventure is where you find it, and on Lord Howe Island, it's a mantra that continues year-round.
To describe Lord Howe’s inaugural adventure festival with a cliche, saying something like, “it went off with a bang”, would be hopelessly inadequate.
How could anything that occurs deep in the South Pacific go off with a bang? Despite many of the adventures undertaken during the Lord Howe festival being physically challenging, often requiring — excuse the use of a football coach gee-up term applied to flagging players at half time — a degree of constitutional examination, the overriding theme of the week-long event slash festival was bliss.
Bliss trumps everything. Yes, the Three Peaks Adventure Race covered 15km over 750 vertical metres. Yes, most of the route was staged along narrow, winnowy single tracks, but the views and the setting pushed any residual feelings of discomfort way into the background.
Competitors were treated to trails among spectacular volcanic ridges, with 360 degree views out to an endless horizon of deep Pacific blue, where gulls and seabirds cartwheeled and where white pillowy clouds hung delightfully in a connected sky. And of course, post race, the “debrief” set-up must surely be up there in terms of best debrief locations anywhere on Earth.
Adventure is so much more than merely testing physical capability. Yes, there are some extremely experienced, robust, gnarly dudes; the type of dude you see in an Old Spice commercial, standing at the prow of an icebreaking schooner, brass sextant in hand, verdant beard festooned with ice crystals, plotting a way through a seemingly impossible path ahead.
But, realistically, most of us are interested in something more pared back than that. Real adventure is about the journey of the individual. Everyone’s different. Not everyone has had the time or luxury to learn navigation by the stars or has access to a ocean-going schooner, let alone the skill to sail it solo around the world. No, most modern day adventurers are content to train when they can, maybe embark on a few multi-day bushwalks here and there, ride their bike down a few singletrack routes when time allows, attempt, sometimes valiantly, to stick to some form of weekly fitness regime and then, when occasion allows, put things on the line in a race of some sort.
Whatever it is people manage, the part most look forward to is the debrief. The debrief is where the satisfaction of individual effort manifests. Where self-appreciation develops, confidence is consolidated and where, overall, life seems better. Where better than a beautifully relaxed South Seas oceanside setting to let the story of how it was you came to be there, in that exact moment, flourish?
The Pinetrees resort Lord Howe Island adventure festival for 2019 may be done and dusted, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity for a unique adventure set in Pacific paradise is over until the 2020 event. Check out the full spectrum of opportunities, like the Mount Gower Climb, on the Pinetrees Resort website: pinetrees.com.au