This was our third visit to the island. I thought I'd give some info on things that have changed in recent years since the last time we were there (and some things that are still the same).
There are now street lights! Admittedly, they are low-set bollard style with lower lighting level than on the mainland & there aren't more than a few dozen, but this is a big change.
The CoOp is closed - apparently went broke earlier this year. There are hopes it can be resurrected in the future in a new form, but nothing firm at this stage.
The much-loved Pandanus Restaurant is also closed - apparently has been for almost 2 years.
The rat baiting is to go ahead next year - this is a somewhat controversial program with concern about unintended consequences, but they seem to be trying to do it right & if they successfully eradicate the rats it would be great to see native wildlife recover.
The planned shift to 70% renewable energy has been canned (no Government approval), so the island will remain reliant on diesel generators. (1/2 million litres of diesel is shipped in each year for these).
What's still the same
The turtles are still regulars at Settlement Beach. We visited twice (both times on the rising tide, nearer high tide) & saw some both times. We have 100% success rate at that stage of the tide (over about 7 or 8 visits).
Ned's Beach is as popular as ever - fish & coral - & the honesty system for the hire snorkelling gear & fish food is still in operation. The beach is "popular" (saw up to 10 people!) at all times, but there can be a rip at higher tide so best at low tide or when the sea is calmer.
Coral (& fish) in the lagoon is just as spectacular as ever, some of it accessible from the beach. It isn't as affected by warming as the GBR at this stage although there are some signs of stress. (Their coral is a cooler water type). In my view, the coral at Lord Howe is in better condition than the tourist-accessible coral I've seen on the GBR.
And the traffic is as hectic as ever! (Not!!) 25kph rule still working well, no seatbelt required & even permitted to ride on the back of utes provided everyone is seated.