Our armchair travels have taken us from the European continent to Australia where we began exploring from Western Australia and have now left the mainland to begin taking a look at Tasmania. First we begin with Kings Island which offers many interesting things to see and do for tourists. It is easily accessible from both the city of Melbourne and from the mainland of Tasmania by air. King Island is located in the middle of the Bass Strait between Victoria and the North West Coast of Tasmania. Here visitors will find some of the most beautiful beaches that Australia has to offer. The island also offers delicious gourmet cheeses, succulent beef and crayfish that come right out of its crystal clear waters.
On Kings Island you’ll find a network of recreation and food trails which cover five distinct areas around the island. The Grazing Trails were created to combine the best of King Island’s walks and sights with the most delicious food available. You can relax at one of their fantastic local restaurants or you might like to take along a packed lunch, picnic hamper or have a barbecue.
Unfortunately King Island has a rather grim history of shipping disasters with war, disease and weather events that have claimed more lives in Australian history than the Cataraqui shipwreck in 1875.
The King Island Maritime Trail opened in 2001 and features interpretive signage close to the sites of many of the most notable wrecks around its shores. Following the trail around the island, visitors learn more about the history of migration to Australia, discover what happened to the descendants of those who survived and can hear the stories of some of the shipwrecks.
Currie is the largest township and the administrative center of King Island, Tasmania at the western entrance to Bass Strait. It has a most scenic harbor with awesome views of the vast Southern Ocean.
Nature lovers will enjoy Seal Rocks State Reserve, offering amazing views of stunning cliffs and calcified forests to explore. Lavinia Nature Reserve has wetland bird habitats and a popular surf beach.
Currie is well-known for its gourmet produce that includes superb soft cheeses and grass-fed beef.
The King Island Arts & Cultural Center is a small gallery and studio that is located in the picturesque Currie Wharf precinct. The gallery displays art and craft that was made by King Islanders. It is a great place to visit for tourists who want to know more about King Island. It frequently changes exhibitions that feature the work of several well-established artisans. There is also a range of artwork and craft items for sale. The Cultural Center has a creative space and hosts a wide variety of workshops and master classes for locals and visitors.
The artist-in-residency program is one of the most celebrated functions at the center. Visiting jewelers, writers, painters and musicians from all over Australia and overseas come here and stay awhile working at their craft and getting to know the local community.
Cape Wickham Lighthouse at 48 meters in height is both the tallest lighthouse in Australia and in the Southern hemisphere. It was built from locally quarried stone and has celebrated its 150th anniversary.
King Island Historical Museum located in Currie this museum features exhibits that are unique to King Island’s history like shipwrecks, mining, sealing, lighthouses, agriculture and telecommunications.
After the Cape Wickham Lighthouse started operating in 1861 tragic shipwrecks continued to happen. A lot of the ship’s captains mistook the light from this lighthouse for the light coming from the Cape Otway in Southern Victoria, Australia and therefore sailed straight onto the coast. To help with this unfortunate situation the Currie Lighthouse was positioned so it would be visible to ships approaching from the south-west and would remain visible to the north until the Cape Wickham light could be seen. This lighthouse began operation in 1880.
The King Island Dairy has earned the reputation of being a producer of some of the world’s finest produce. There is a wide range of delicious cheeses it make such as Brie, Camembert and different Cheddars as well as many others. All of their products are made at their factory on the island. Milk for the products comes from King Island dairy farmers whose cows are known for their unique quality of milk. King Island is one of the few areas in Australia where cows graze all year round. The King Island Dairy’s Fromagerie Tasting Room can be visited on weekdays or on a Sunday. There you can sample their wonderful cheeses and as you walk about the island you can see the cows grazing in the pastures.
King Island also offers excellent salmon, flathead and whiting fishing from east-coast beaches and morwong, yellowtail kingfish and squid fishing at British Admiral Reef just three kilometers south of Currie.
In the south-east at Grassy you can see penguins returning to shore at dusk.
King Island Kelp Craft specializes in the rare form of bull kelp handicrafts. It offers special displays and sales.
For all surfers out there King Island is a great location for surfing.
While you are exploring King Island don’t pass up the chance to see Naracoopa on the east coast. This is a quiet and beautiful settlement known for its lovely beach, great fishing and local eateries. You can relax and watch as crayfish boats cut through the waters while migrating whales pass by. Visitors can hike, snorkel and fish at nearby Sea Elephant Bay. There is safe swimming available at Fraser Beach.
At The Blowhole you can explore offshore shipwrecks and get to meet the island’s unusual wildlife which includes the rare orange-bellied parrots. For more energetic activities there is kite surfing and diving.