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Regional guide: King and Flinders Island

Tasmania’s offshore islands are becoming increasingly popular as visitor destinations. The two most well known are King Island, which is anchored in Bass Strait off Tasmania’s north west coast, and Flinders Island, which is one of the Furneaux Group found to the north east.

These two islands have plenty of things in common: pristine beaches, native wildlife, and the chance to enjoy life at a more relaxed pace for the duration of your stay. 

But they each have a unique, distinctive character, and will appeal to different interests. If you’re looking for some serious off-grid adventures, head for Flinders Island. If you’re looking for premium produce and world class golf, head for King Island. Either way, prepare yourself for an experience like no other.

King Island

To reach King Island, you’ll need to hop on a short flight from Burnie, Launceston, Hobart or Melbourne. These routes are serviced by Sharp, King Island Airlines and Rex, although special interest charter services are also available for private surf and golf groups.

Stepping off the plane in Currie, the island’s main town, take a deep breath and fill your lungs with some of the planet’s cleanest, freshest air. Then get ready to be captivated by the island’s spectacular landscapes. Rugged coastlines, stunning cliffs, and long stretches of white sandy beach are all just a short drive away.

One of the highlights of King Island is its world-class gourmet produce. The island is renowned for its succulent seafood, premium beef, and award-winning cheeses. From freshly caught crayfish straight off the boat, to the famous King Island Dairy where you can sample a mouthwatering range of cheeses, your taste buds are in for a treat. The island’s unique combination of clean air, nutrient-rich soil, and pure water contributes to the exceptional quality of its produce.

If you’re a keen chef, you can stock up on produce and cook up a feast back at your accommodation – accompanied by some beverages from King Island Brewery or King Island Distillery. But in recent years, the options for dining out on the island have increased and it’s well worth booking at least one or two meals out. Oleada in Currie and Wild Harvest in Grassy offer fine dining options, while the King Island Hotel offers pub style food and a chance to chat with the locals.

Keen walkers will be in their element on King Island. Explore the unique landscapes of the Calcified Forest, on one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks. This is where you’ll find ancient limestone formations which are the calcifiedremains of a 7000-year-old forest. Alternatively, follow the King Island Maritime Trail, which takes in shipwrecks, safe havens, and the island’s lighthouses.

If you’re seeking relaxation, King Island offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Unwind on one of the secluded beaches and listen to the gentle lapping of waves; take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline and feel the soft sand between your toes; or simply find a comfortable spot to sit and watch the sunset paint the sky in vibrant hues of orange and pink.

If you prefer your holidays to be filled with activities, King Island won’t disappoint. There are three world class golf courses on the island, along with an abundance of surf breaks, arts and craft venues, fishing jetties and guided tours. Visit the official King Island website for full provider details. 

Accommodation options on King Island range from quaint cottages to luxury beachfront retreats, ensuring there is something to suit every taste and budget. Immerse yourself in the community by booking into a friendly bed and breakfast, or treat yourself to a stay at one of the island’s boutique lodges. Whichever option you choose, the warm hospitality of the locals is sure to make you feel at home.

Flinders Island

Located off the north-eastern coast of Tasmania, Flinders Island is the largest of the 52-island Furneaux Group. Like King Island, you’ll have to hop on a quick scenic flight to get there. There are regular services with Sharp Airlines from Hobart, Launceston and Melbourne – or if you’ve got trusty sea legs you could book a spot on the weekly barge from Bridport.

If you choose to fly, you’ll be treated to picturesque aerial views of the island’s unique topography, which includes dramatic granite headlands, jagged cliffs, and stunning white beaches.

With a permanent population of just 1000 people, Flinders Island is the perfect place for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers to explore. The breathtaking coastal landscapes, diverse wildlife, and rich cultural heritage promise an unforgettable experience for those seeking to immerse themselves in nature’s beauty.

Adventurous hikers can embark on the challenging ascent of Mount Strzelecki, the island’s highest peak and the central feature of Strzelecki National Park. It’s a decent climb, but you’ll be rewarded at the top with panoramic views of the surrounding islands and Bass Strait. For a more leisurely experience, the Walkers Lookout offers a shorter trek with equally breathtaking vistas.

For beach lovers and water enthusiasts, Flinders Island’s coastline is a haven. More than 120 beaches await you. White sandy shores stretch for miles, inviting visitors to unwind and soak up the sun (although it can be windy too, so bring layers with you!). Swim, snorkel, or dive in the crystal-clear waters, where you’ll discover a colourful underwater world teeming with marine life. The north end of the island is a renowned fishing spot – but if you’re not keep to work for your supper, you can usually buy a crayfish from a local instead. 

Birdwatchers will also be delighted by their time on Flinders Island, as it’s home to a diverse range of permanent and migratory species. Over 200 species of birds can be spotted on the island, including the sea eagles, albatross, Cape Barren Geese, and the endangered forty-spotted pardalote. With binoculars in hand, bird enthusiasts can explore the island’s diverse habitats, from wetlands to coastal heathlands, in search of rare and endemic bird species.

There are countless other highlights on Flinders Island: from fossicking for topaz at Killiecrankie Bay, to discovering the historic treasures at Furneaux Museum. Sip on some spirits at Furneaux Distillery, or enjoy a wine tasting at Unavale Vineyard.

Flinders Island’s relatively small size might make you think you could see it all in just a weekend, but with so many activities on offer, it’s worth taking a little longer if you can.

After all, there’s nothing more relaxing than island time.

– Ruth Dawkins ( commissioned by Freycinet Resort)