Flinders Island Bass Strait beauty

Located 60 km off the north east tip of Tasmania and to the south east of Wilson’s Promontory, Victoria, Flinders Island is the largest of the Furneaux Group of islands which stretch across the eastern end of Bass Strait.

Bass Strait has a reputation for its storms, rough seas and high winds, so life on Flinders Island can sometimes be uncomfortable; but any discomfort is more than compensated for by stunning vistas of the Strait, and the natural beauty of the island.

The islands were part of the land bridge which once joined Tasmania to the mainland. Bass Strait was formed as a result of the melting of ice after the last ice age leaving the mountain tops to form the present day chain of islands.

The islands were first settled by a Tasmanian Aboriginals about 45,000 years ago, but rising seas following the last ice age saw them disappear from the island about 4,500 years ago.  The first Europeans to settle there were a group of hunters called the Straitsmen who lived by harvesting seals, wallabies and Short tailed Shearwaters –which are also commonly known as Mutton Birds.  At this stage Flinders Island was home to a massive number of Shearwaters, estimated to have a population of about 18 million, so many, in fact, they soon became a major export.

Today around 900 people live on the island, with farming and fishing being important industries. The farmers producing quality beef and lamb as well as clean fine wool and the fishermen harvesting crayfish, abalone, scallops and giant crabs.     

A little over a third of the island is used for farmland, with the remainder being National Park, bush land, lagoons and coastal reserves, providing the visitor with a superb opportunity to explore and enjoy little changed natural setting with abundant wildlife, spectacular scenery and fascinating history.

Today there are many different experiences available on Flinders Island, everything from rock climbing to searching out wildflowers. Bushwalking through the national parks is a popular pursuit, and there are many tours which take visitors right off the beaten track to explore some superb, but difficult to reach, parts of the Island.  Fishing and boat charters are also popular with visitors.

Several regional airlines have flights to the Island from Melbourne and Launceston, Tasmania, and there are various accommodation alternatives.  Given Flinders Island’s location and unspoilt wilderness, eco tourism and low impact activities are encouraged.

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