Pinetrees Lodge is one of the oldest family businesses in Australia. The sixth generation of the original family, Dani Rourke and her husband Luke Hanson, are now running the lodge.
Luke picked us up at the Lord Howe Airport when we arrived. He was kind enough to grab our bags and load them into the van. And since we arrived one day late, due to our flight being canceled the day before, he drove us as far south as we could go on the island to see the sites before taking us to the lodge.
Once we pulled into the lodge, we were told to just drop our bags by the grass tennis court, they’d take them to the room later, and come join them for lunch on the covered patio. Lunch is set up every day outside with salads and make your own sandwiches, or they will pack you a lunch to take with you for the day, or deliver you a BBQ in a cooler to have a famous “Australian barbie” at one of the beaches.
We had salads and beef sandwiches for lunch and complimentary champagne to welcome us and start the beginning of our honeymoon. After lunch, staff showed us to our room. Blake and I have to admit, that while planning for this huge trip down under we had to cut costs where we could, and were a bit wary of the accommodations at Pinetrees as there were few pictures of the rooms and bathrooms. However, we were pleasantly surprised at what we walked into when we entered the Palm Room.
The beds (we had two, although only used one) were comfy, it was spacious, and we had a platter of food and a bottle of champagne set up and waiting for us. The bathroom was quite basic, certainly not fancy at all, and the faucet water was best for a quick brush of your teeth and a shower. A spigot outside the room was where the best drinking water was to fill up a carafe in the room. Certainly the rooms at Pinetrees were not designed so you could spend the day in them. Your sole instinct upon arriving on such a beautiful island is to explore as much of it as possible in the short time that you are there.
Our stay at Pinetrees reminded me a bit of summer camp, except with way better food. Each morning and night our names were on a table to reserve our spot. Breakfast consisted of three options, but also had a breakfast bar with juices, toast and cereals. Dinner was a more extravagant affair with a four-course meal. We’d begin with a soup, then a choice of entrée with a vegetable, dessert and then a cheese hour.
Our first night there was the famous fish fry. To start the meal we had sushi. Staff carried out two of the biggest platters of sushi I’ve ever seen. After that, they began the actual fish fry portion and you were able to choose whether you wanted fried or grilled Kingfish, a local specialty.
Outside of the food, the reason why Pinetrees feels like summer camp is because of how easy going everything is. There are no room keys for you room. They don’t plan activities for you, which they say works for them, however I find a little strange. They provide you all the brochures and tell you to use the phone if you want to take a tour. They list all the tide times and the weather for the day on a bulletin board. One morning, a woman walked around seeing if anyone wanted to sign up for spa treatments.
It’s relaxing, it’s comfortable, the air smells good, the sun shines. You can go to the Boatshed in the evening for cocktail hour. Inside the Boatshed is a refrigerator fully stocked with beverages and on a table is sign-up sheet where you list what you have taken and they’ll bill you upon check out. It’s a nice place to meet other guests and sit and watch the sun set or to visit late at night to watch the stars.
If you’re looking for a nice resort that is a bit friendlier on the pocket, more so than places like Capella or Arajilla, then Pinetrees would be a great pick. Included in your stay is breakfast, lunch, tea hour with pastries and dinner. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but are available for purchase and not too badly priced. You cannot go wrong with Pinetrees. It may not have the luxury of some of the other resorts, but it does offer its own unique charm, and certainly good food.
Lord Howe Island NSW 2898, Australia
Phone: 02 6563 2177