Stressed hedge fund managers and pop idols whose singles sink faster than the Titanic no doubt dream about escaping to places like Flinders Island. As well as long, white sandy beaches the island comes with fabulously evocative names: Trousers Point Beach and Killiecrankie Bay are names that can make you stare at a map and wonder what’s there.
If you happen to have released a stinker of a song lately you might be thankful to know it’s easy to get acquainted with this get-away. The flight from Launceston to Whitemark takes just 40 minutes or on a Monday you could put your car on the ferry out of Bridport and take this slow boat to the island.
Flinders Island is the largest (about 70 km long by 35 km wide) of the 52 islands in the Furneaux Group in eastern Bass Strait. Around 900 people live here. Farming and fishing are important industries but this island retains its own call of the wild. The mutton birds returning from their sojourn to the Arctic still delight in the long, deserted beaches as much as any visitor.
The waters off the island are rich with fish and shipwrecks (65 of them). Some may have been caused by the wild coast as much as the first European inhabitants, the Straitsmen, who reportedly dabbled in piracy. The welcome these days is far friendlier, which is just as well as there is plenty to do.
Flinder Island Adventures
Flinders Island Adventures began sea charter operations 20 years ago when owners James and Lindsay Luddington arranged fishing holidays and game fishing. The company expanded onto land about 13 years ago. They offer guided walking holidays, 4WD tours, and touring packages. These days the fishing adventures are aboard the 10-metre express cruiser Strait Lady. The variety of their adventures is a snap shot of the island’s appeal.
A three-day/two-night Discover the Best of Flinders Island package will take you by 4WD to secluded coves and up into the island’s central mountain range (the Strzelecki Range is the spine of Flinders Island). There is also a 4WD day tour and packages for special interest groups based on the wildflowers and bird watching.
Check into this 4-star property for an escape from whatever world you have come from. After the Healing Dreams’ three night/four day Spa Experience you’ll be so relaxed you might conjure up plans never to leave the island.
The property and the resort managers, David and Kathleen Heap, focus on health and rejuvenation. Kathleen’s a fitness expert, David a physiotherapist. They can put together bespoke fitness routines that you can start on the island and then take them away with you.
Kathleen’s expertise extends to yoga and pilates. David and the masseur can iron out any of your kinks. The spa on the deck with its water and mountain views is a good place to soak up the island’s serenity.
Much of the food served at Healing Dream comes with local flavour. Organic fruit and vegies are grown on the property. The lamb is from down the road. There are eight deluxe suits to retire to after your meals and spa treatment.
Strzelecki National Park
The national park is a safe containing some of the island’s jewells including fabulous views from Mt Strzelecki. The park also helps safeguard some history of the Aboriginal communities and white settlers, and local flora and fauna. Wombats, potoroos and threatened bird species occur in the park, including the swift parrot, forty-spotted pardalote, grey-tailed tattler, and the hooded plover.
There are a number of walks in the park. The Strzelecki Peak (756 metres) Track is about three kilometres. The return walk from Trousers Point Road through wooded gullies takes about five hours. The Circuit of Trousers Point takes about two hours. There are also coastal walks that require overnight camping.
The first vines on this three-hectare vineyard were planted in 1999. “The weather’s been a trial but we’ve lived and learnt,” says Bev Watson who with husband Roger owns the vineyard, the only commercial one on the island.
They’ve been selling wines including riesling, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and sauvignon blanc since 2004. The whole winemaking process occurs on the island. The Watsons typically produce about 200 cases of wine but more is expected this year. They are going to need every drop they can produce as wine critic James Halliday recently rated the Unavale Sauvignon Blanc under his ‘Best of Best’ in the recent edition of his Wine Companion, awarding the wine 94 points out of 100.
Unavale is four kilometres from the village of Lady Barron, at the base of the Strzelecki Range. Most of the wines sales occur at the cellar door.