Cape Wickham calling
Cape Wickham is the northern most tip of the Island, 48 km from Currie. It’s a mostly sealed road with about 7 km of smooth gravel to reach the Lighthouse and golf course. Before settlement King Island was a heavily timbered island with thick tea tree scrub. There are remnants of this in the south-east, but in the north it has been largely cleared. It is now covered with beef and dairy cattle grazing on very rich pastures, many head to the acre.
Along the way we stopped off at a few of the beaches and rocky outcrops. One of the touristy things to do on KI is to visit the cairns and plaques that have been placed on the shoreline marking the areas where numerous ship wrecks occurred in the 1800 and early 1900s. Many of these occurred due to the lack of a lighthouse on KI. Ships coming through Bass Strait sailed too far south and, particularly during the frequent storms, ran into the numerous reefs off KI. The loss of the Cataraqui in 1845 prompted the building of the lighthouse at Cape Wickham in 1861. Over 400 free immigrants, half of them children, aboard the Cataraqui died. Many are buried in unmarked mass graves near the beach. There were only 9 survivors from the Cataraqui and to this day it is Australia’s worst ever peacetime disaster.
At 52 metres the Lighthouse is the tallest in the southern hemisphere and is constructed of KI granite with 3 metre thick walls at the base. Quite a spectacular backdrop to the new links golf course which runs along the shoreline. The beach here is actually in play at one hole and serves as a bunker. The course is attracting golfers from all over the world, with charter groups flying in for lunch and a round of golf.
The eastern side of KI is more protected from the prevailing westerlies and the bays and beaches are long and sandy. We dropped in on Disappointment Bay, not a soul to be seen anywhere. There were large granite boulders strewn along the shore, crystal clear water and rolling waves would make this a good surfing spot in warmer months.
Currie was calling and we needed to head back to Craypot Cottage for dinner. A lobster was in the fridge for dinner.
Next day we are headed home to Brisbane. It’s been a great few days on KI. The food has lived up to expectations. Particularly, the melt in the mouth filet steak (with garlic butter sauce, Leanne had an equally good pepper sauce) at Admiral Benbow’s Restaurant in the Currie Golf Club. If you are ever on KI don’t miss it!