Flinders Island

Nothing will prepare you for the spiritual beauty of Flinders Island. The island is in fact the largest in the Furneaux Group of 52 islands – mountain summits lying in the Bass Strait just off the north eastern coast of Tasmania – which presents a whole new island-hopping opportunity in its own right. Flinders Island (named after British navigator Matthew Flinders) is best accessed by air, on a 19-seat Embraer from Launceston (or via Melbourne making it an easy and obvious inclusion on a Victoria-Tasmania itinerary). It is probably the size that most uninitiated Brits and Europeans imagine Tasmania to be – just over 40 miles by 25 miles. To say it is picture-post-card-perfect does it a disservice. It has 850 secluded beaches of pure white sand lapped by turquoise water and lined with orange-stained granite rocks - that’s more than one beach per resident. The Strzlecki National Park is in the South West of the island, a walker’s paradise, with Mount Stzlecki rising to a height of 750 metres. The island’s biodiversity is reflected in its plant life with over 800 species, and the entire island is liberally carpeted with marsupials, easily spotted at close range throughout the day. It is also a significant birding destination, with one particular spot earmarked for especially important, having three breeding colonies of the endangered Forty-spotted Pardalote, and a habitat used by Flame robins. Other endemics found here include the Green Rosella, Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Black-headed Honeyeater, Strong-billed honeyeater, Tasmanian Thornbill, Black Currawong and Dusky Robin.

Accommodation is fairly simple but surprisingly plentiful and stylish, and extremely good value. Food is delicious and there is even a vineyard producing a very fine wine. A lovely farm stay/bed and breakfast promises a wonderful insight into island life, including the must-try muttonbird, a Flinders staple and there are a number of well-kept beach houses and cottages. There are two small, pretty settlements, Whitemark and Lady Barron, which provide visitors with access to a couple of cafes and well supplied supermarkets. Activities are endless and professionally run. They include superb diving and snorkelling to extensive bush walking, camping, birding, island hopping and fishing. Quite honestly, given the sheer natural beauty of the island, one could spend weeks exploring, beachcombing and drinking in the ever-changing vistas across the group of islands, and never, ever tire of it.