Next up in Tasmania we head for Flinders Island which is the main island of the Furneaux group, a collection of 52 islands stretching across Bass Strait between Tasmania and mainland Australia. There is much to do and explore on this island.
Visit Wybalenna one of the most historic sites in relation to Tasmanian Aboriginals and the Furneaux group. The graveyard has unmarked aboriginal graves as well as graves of some of the first European settlers. In the cemetery the Young Farmers’ Club put up a plaque to commemorate the death of more than 100 Aborigines at Wybalenna. What is left of this settlement is the chapel, cemetery and low piles of broken bricks. In early October you can see a sprinkling of white and blue irises in the grass. An area of 126 hectares has been made a Historic Site. Today Wybalenna counts again as an Aboriginal Land.
On Flinders Island visitors can visit and enjoy Strzelecki National Park. It is a lovely national park with granite mountains and rugged coastal scenery. This national park is a wild and remote sanctuary for a lot of rare plant and animal species. Within the park are open forests of Tasmanian blue gum and a dense coastal fringe of tea tree as well as Sassafras-musk rainforest and many rare orchids.
Among the resident animal population you’ll find wombats, Bennett’s wallabies, Tasmanian pademelons and potoroos. There are also many birds over 100 species living in the park. You can see the rare swift parrot, forty-spotted pardalote, grey-tailed tattler and the hooded plover.
Ways to get to know this national park is by taking short walks from Trousers Point and Fotheringate Bay as they pass through Casuarina woodland and coastal heath. For the more energetic you can take the Strzelecki Peaks walking track. This is a most challenging day walk that rises from sea level to the 756-meter granite massifs. This is the highest point on Flinders Island and offers awesome views. There are also a number of short rock climbs.
Popular holiday spots are the rocky headlands and lovely beaches at Trousers Point and Fotheringate Bay. Experienced sea kayakers can have great water adventures. Trousers Beach is a lovely cove that is protected from mighty winds and surrounded by granite headlands covered with orange lichen.
Fotheringate Bay has some unique rock formations and is a favorite place with the locals. There are family-friendly campsites and picnic spots. You can choose to swim, fish, snorkel, dive or take a long, leisurely stroll.
Take the Trousers Point Walk which features amazing rock formations, views of off-shore islands and two lovely beaches. This is a 1.5 hour circuit walk, starting from the main town of Whitemark. Granite boulders protrude through the shallow sandy soil and along the coastline.
Also known as Mutton-Bird the Short-Tailed Shearwater is a member of a group of 100 medium to large sea birds in the family Procellariae. At Port Davies visitors will find a viewing platform from which you can view the birds flying at dusk from November to April. These birds have a beak that hooks at the end so that they can hold prey. The chicks produce large amounts of oil in their stomachs which is high in energy. An adult bird has around a one meter wing span and weighs about 500 grams. These birds have webbed feet. Every year eighteen million of these birds arrive in Tasmania. Their largest colony with more than 3 million burrows can be found on Babel Island. Their breeding period is from September to April and their average life span is 15 to 19 years with some living up to 38 years. Local operators offer evening boat trip to let people see the flight of the Mutton-birds during the summertime.
Whitemark the main settlement on Flinders Island overlooks Parry’s Bay. It is a great holiday getaway. There is much to do like exploring nearby Strzelecki National Park.
Take a look at The Bowman History Room which offers an unusual historic collection. It is located in Whitemark. The room was created to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Bowman Family business, E.M. Bowman & Co. Pty. Ltd., established in 1921. This was Flinder Island’s longest established retailer. Their general store sold clothing, shoes, fabrics, gifts, stationery and household needs. It was also a newsagents that sold papers and magazines.
Here you can see an impressive collection of shop items, photos and account books dating from 1921 and onwards. These trace both the development of the one family and their business. The most looked at item is the huge scrapbook of newspaper and magazine articles which were collected through the years by Elvie Bowman.
For golf lovers there is Flinders Island Sports & RSL Club which has a nine-hole golf course. The course has picturesque views and provides a challenge for amateurs to experienced players. The golf course is located on the shore of Parry’s Bay and is open all year round. The club also offers a full size synthetic surface lawn bowls green, also available for visitors use.
Visit the seaside township of Lady Barron, offering scenic views and abundant wildlife. The township is located on the southern shores of Franklin Sound. In the middle of town you’ll find a wharf for excellent fishing. You can take leisurely walks along the protected foreshore. For impressive views walk up to the Vinegar Hill lookout.