Monthly Archives: February 2022
More of Flinders
We continue to wander around the Island taking in the sites and some of the food of course. There are four main places to eat on the Island it seems. The Flinders Interstate Hotel in Whitemark (not far from the airport and our Yurt) has been there since 1911, the Furneaux Tavern at Lady Barron (over on the south east coast and where the port is), The Wharf ( a new establishment on the site of the old Whitemark pier complex) and next door to the Yurt the Mountain Seas Lodge.
We took the opportunity to eat at all four. All good. The hotel in Whitemark did a very steak. Probably Flinders beef. There is currently no abattoir on Flinders, although a small one is due to reopen soon. The cattle go to Tasmania to be dealt with and are then sent back to Flinders to eat. The locals try to get the Flinders meat back but it is not guaranteed. The Furneaux did some good fish n chips as did the Wharf ( a little more sophisticated with some fancy salad to go with the gummy shark). Mountain Seas Lodge has a great position and views, Homealone was very pleased with her lamb shanks. Conclusion, food on the Island is in good hands and worth trying!
We have seen a couple of Australian icons in the wild. Cape Barron Geese and Wombats, a few of these not just one! Coming back to the Yurt in the late evening we were guaranteed to see one of these fellows basking in the warmth of the late sun. A great sight, they scuttled off into the scrub if you got too close.
The coastline though is what continues to amaze, some great scenes along the way. Trousers Point and Lilly’s Beach were standout spots to visit.
We did the Trousers Point walk around the coastal cliff line, great lichen covered boulders and wind and salt adapted vegetation clothed the track. Took us a little over two and a half hours to complete. The frequently cloud covered Strzelecki Peaks in the background.
Allthego was tempted to do the Strzelecki climb, but thought better of it in order to preserve himself for the Cradle Mountain walk! So he just climbed over and the back across the fence at the start of the walk to get the feel of it. Maybe another time?
Our time at Flinders has come to an end and we left the Island today, flying back to Launceston. Homealone departed for Brisbane and Allthego headed off to the Entally Lodge on the outskirts of town to join the walking party for Cradle Mountain. Allthego will return with something on the walk in a week, no internet out in the wilds!
The north of Flinders
Flinders Island is really an island in two halves. The south is more developed and has most of the island’s social infrastructure and economic activity. The north is more ‘au naturel’, a few small settlements on the coast with scattered farm houses and a growing number of tourist accommodations; some rough and some very nice with great views. We are staying in a Yurt at the bottom of the island near Trousers Pt beneath the Strzelecki Range peaks. Mt Strzelecki at 756m is the tallest peak in the range and is a five hour walk to the top and back.
A yurt ‘house’, in the traditional sense is of Mongolian origin, is lived in traditionally by semi nomadic people. Of circular shape and made of skins etc the yurts were portable whilst being sturdy and protective from the elements. Our Yurt is twelve sided, a large single room with side annexes for bathroom, kitchenette and store rooms, cupboards. Not portable! It looks out over two small ponds that supply water to the property. Drinking water is filtered rain water, recommended to be boiled. In the old days Allthego used to drink unfiltered rainwater from tanks and never boiled it!
Following the island’s discovery by Europeans in the early 1800s it’s main claim to fame was as a site for sealing. The sealers were so ‘successful’ that they effectively wiped the seals out, they are only now slowly returning, we didn’t see any.
Flinders is also the location of a place that is infamous in the European treatment of the Tasmanian aboriginal. Wybalenna, on the west coast, is the location of a settlement to which upwards of 140 aboriginals were brought between 1833 and 1847 to ‘escape’ the elimination and removal programs of the Tasmanian authorities. The majority died from poor living conditions over a three year period, after the failure of the settlement the remainder (47) were returned to Tasmania. All that remains of the Wybalenna settlement is the restored chapel and graveyard.
Mutton birds call Flinders home and thousands of them return here annually after their long flight from the Bering Sea in the far north Pacific. Mutton birding is a continuing industry on the Island, with a short recreational and commercial season. Mutton bird chicks are ‘collected and milked’ for their oil, then snap frozen for human consumption. A lot are exported to New Zealand. We tried a mutton bird arancini as an entree, before some fish n chips. Harmless but wouldn’t rave about it!
There are numerous wallabies around, quite small fellows, and one has to have an eye out for them on the road lest they meet their maker. Most cars have bull bars! Some menus we saw featured ‘wallaby rump’ and there was a wallaby sausage roll. So there is a bit of industry here in wallaby meat as well!
In the early 1900s there was much land clearing and today sheep and cattle are everywhere.
We were filled in on numbers: around 950 humans, 30,000 cows and 3,000,000 wallaby. The wallabies are winning.
The coastline certainly has some wonderful features of lichen covered granite rock shelves and boulders. The water is crystal clear and the beaches postcard sights. Castle Rock is particularly impressive and a prominent feature on the shoreline. More coastline next time!
Off to Tassie
We are setting off for a bit of an adventure in Tasmania. It is a short trip to do two things. Visit Flinders Island, largest island in the Furneaux group, at the eastern end of Bass Strait. This is another instalment in our quest to visit Australia’s islands. We have done a few now and the pleasure goes on. Homealone, will return to Brisbane on the big island after five days on Flinders to be homealone and get back to craft! Allthego is to head to the small island to undertake the Overland Track walk from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, all up about sixty kilometres of walking over six days and five nights.
Virgin takes us down to Launceston and after a short stopover Sharp Airlines makes the 35 minute flight across Bass Strait to Flinders. Take off was a little rocky but the flight very pleasant with a good view of the islands on the approach to Flinders.
The planes windows were rather dirty and scratchy making photos problematic, so there aren’t any! After landing we picked up our Corolla hire car and headed off to our accommodation, a short drive from the airport in the shadows of the Strzelecki Range.