Mount Gower on Lord Howe Island is considered one of the world’s best one-day hikes but it can only be attempted with a guide. A fifth generation islander, Jack Shick, is the man of this mountain.

Story By Anabel Dean

Jack Shick was eight years old when his father first took him to the top of Mt Gower to look for the egg of a flightless bird on the brink of extinction. His search for the abandoned nest of a Lord Howe Island woodhen was not to be taken lightly, since it required the ascent of a mountain that rises straight up from the Tasman Sea at the southern tip of Lord Howe Island.
The boy began by crossing the ankle-turning boulders of a small beach, then scrambling vertically upwards into a kentia palm forest on the lower slopes adjoining Mt Lidgbird, reappearing on the exposed south-west scarp of Mt Gower. He skirted the precipice along a narrow ledge, face to the cliff with a sheer drop to the ocean behind his back and the petrels above his head. By the time he had reached the mossy rainforest of the top, four hours later, he had clambered through habitats that existed nowhere else on the island.

This story excerpt is from Issue #69

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2010