King Island is not your run of the mill island off Tasmania – think delicious isolation and even more delicious cheese, writes Suzi Petkovski
If you’re after island isolation, King Island does the trick. Nothing south but yawning ocean until Antarctica. Go west – you’ll be going a long time – and you’ll hit Argentina.
Even a Taswegian friend, from the rough and rugged northwest, says King Island feels like the end of the world – only with sensational food.
Cheese, pies, seafood
Most of us have gorged on King Island cream and luscious Double Brie, so the King Island Dairy is a must-do.
But there’s so much more in the larder: grass-fed beef, seafood (including crayfish, king crabs and oysters in season), pies at the famous King Island Bakery, mountain pepper, honey, herbal teas, and don’t forget the kelp chutney!
Although farming is the main industry, wildlife abounds because of a lack of predators.
What’s notable about the wildlife here is that you can shoot much of it (wallabies and turkey anytime; ducks, pheasants and mutton birds in season, but permits and limits apply – check before you go).
King’s wild side
King Island’s lonely location in the west of Bass Strait, almost equidistant from Victoria and Tasmania and in the path of raging southwesterlies, has made it a graveyard for more than 60 ships.
The Cataraqui, wrecked in 1845 with the loss of more than 400 lives, is Australia’s worst-ever maritime disaster. The Cape Wickham Lighthouse, at the island’s northern end, is the largest in Australia. You can find out more on the Maritime Trail and at the King Island Museum in Currie.
The east coast has protected swimming and surfing beaches, as well as a penguin colony at Grassy.
Lavinia Nature Reserve occupies much of the northeast coast – here you’ll find the suspended lake, Penny’s Lagoon, a favourite swimming spot.
In the south, Seal Rocks Reserve has the 7000-year-old Calcified Forest and cliff-top walks.
More information: King Island Tourism