Looking for “close by” destinations to explore and visit? If you, like me, have wondered just why the King Island Dairy Products, cream – dare I say double cream – taste so yummy, then once you visited King Island as I did with a small, private group, it becomes abundently clear.
Probably not a destination that many would think of, or consider, but let me assure you, it is worth a stop, and an ideal one on the way to Northern Tasmania. Flights operate from Melbourne to King Island, with the airport a short distance north of Currie, the largest township on the Island. The Island is located off the North-West point of Tasmania and can also be reached from Burnie on the North Coast of Tasmania. King Island is only 64 km long, and 26 km wide and is a wildly rugged, windswept but very attractive island boasting over 145 km of coastline and an incredible variety of seabirds and wildlife. The island has only 1500 permanent residents and – believe it or not –does not rely on Tasmania or Mainland Australia for its electricity supply! It is the second-largest island in Bass Strait.
King Island was first discovered and visited by Europeans in the late 18th Century and named after Philip Gidley King, the Colonial Governor of NSW. It enjoys a Mediterranean climate of mild summers and rain in winter.
My group was more than ready to go and check out the dairy shop as a priority, but to our surprise, we were soon told that the main Industry was – in that order at the time – kelp, beef, dairy. What a letdown! When we saw the source of the Kelp, however, and found out how widely kelp is used in the World, it became easy to understand: Cosmetics, Shampoo, Salad Dressing, Cakes, Pharmaceuticals, Frozen Food, WOW!
However, the dairy shop and bakery are absolute MUSTS and have you ever tried a Crayfish Pie?
Accommodation on the Island is not luxury, as you would expect, but the simple motels and guesthouses offer all you need. Getting back to our hotel, on the first night, and entering the dining room for our meal, you can imagine the surprise when we found our group’s table beautifully set but also displayed was a sumptuous lobster at each place and this was just our first course! So yes, crayfish is yet another industry on King Island. Probably the best choice of eateries on the Island is in Naracoopa, on the East Coast.
You will be totally surprised at what this tiny Island has to offer: exploring with a Hummer allows one to enjoy driving on the dunes. Great fun! The coastline is incredible, rugged, sand beaches with awesome rock formations. The Hummer can roll up and down the steep shoreline and get into the hidden corners!
And then there are the lighthouses. Being such an exposed island, I suppose it comes as no surprise that there have been more than 60 known shipwrecks around King Island and as a result, quite a few lighthouses have been built. I believe there are about 4 Lighthouses. Cape Wickham, on the north point, has not just Australia’s but also the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest Lighthouse! It is worthwhile taking a private guide for part of your visit. The guide can tell you the history of the area and share all the stories about quite a number of those shipwrecks around Currie harbour.
Seal Rocks State Reserve is another must on your discovery. Do ask your guide to show you where to see a platypus in the wild as this is one of the best places in the world for it! And one of the most enchanting ways to spend an evening is to venture to Grassy and check the waddle of the tiniest little penguins, what a treat!
Hopefully, Ruth has inspired you to add King Island to your bucket list. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1800 249 804