1. King Island Dairy Fromagerie
There’s little point including the “cheese shop” in a top ten list of places to visit because everyone goes there anyway. However, leaving it off the list would be a dereliction of duty as the array of award winning cheeses to sample is simply not to be missed. Located next door to the factory there’s a video to watch if you’re keen to learn more but the main event is in the refrigerated tasting room where you can sample blue cheese, white cheese, hard cheese, washed-rind cheese and ash cheese to name a few. Production cycles mean that not all cheeses made locally are always available to purchase but the low prices mean that you may try something different and find a new favourite.
2. Seal Rocks
As you fly over King Island on arrival you will be struck by how flat it appears and there’s no denying that much of the landscape is delicately beautiful rather than spectacularly so. This is why the churning sea and the steep cliffs at Seal Rocks come as something of a surprise to many visitors as such drama is unexpected. Nearby there’s The Copperhead Walk along the rugged cliffs and the remarkable remains of the 7000 year old Calcified Forest.
3. Disappointment Bay
If an aptonym describes a name which is well suited to its owner then Disappointment Bay must be the exact opposite. No one (except perhaps a shipwrecked sailor hoping to arrive in Victoria) was ever disappointed to set foot on this beautiful beach. The long stretches of white sand, occasionally broken by large, enigmatic rocks are perfect for walking, swimming, surfing, paddling or just generally lolling. There are many stunning beaches on King Island and everyone has their own favourite but Disappointment Bay seems to feature prominently when visitors recount their “wow” moments on King Island. Easily accessible from Cape Wickham Road at the north of the island, this beach is well worth the small diversion on your way to Cape Wickham Lighthouse or Cape Wickham Links.
4. Boat House
Perched on the edge of Currie Harbour under the gaze of the wrought & cast iron lighthouse sits The Boathouse – aka The Restaurant With No Food. “King Island’s best restaurant has no food. No chef or waiters, either, or anyone to wash the dishes. But don’t let these trifling matters put you off the Boathouse – it’s the best spot on the island for a long lunch or candle-lit dinner for two.” Lee Atkinson Sydney Morning Herald.
5. King Island Trail Rides
Michael and Eliza Williams both grew up on King Island and rode horses from an early age. They own and manage a successful local garage but their true passion emerges when they are given the opportunity to share their love of horses and knowledge of King Island with visitors. With safety being their number one priority they carefully match riders of any level with one of their friendly, well-mannered and experienced horses. The horses live on their property close to Currie at Badger Box Creek which is a short ride down a sandy track to the sea. If you’ve ever dreamed of riding a horse on an empty, sandy shore – and who hasn’t? – then this is an experience you cannot afford to miss.
For an island of 1500 people to have three top-class golf courses must surely be unprecedented. As such, it’s too difficult to pick one golf course from the two 18 hole links courses at Cape Wickham & Ocean Dunes and the nine hole local course found in the heart of Currie. Golfers have been flying in from all over the world and no one seems to be able to agree on which is the best but we won’t argue with the experts who rank both Ocean Dunes and Cape Wickham in the top 5 for Australia and heading towards the top 20 in the world. You’ll just have to play them all and judge for yourself.
Martha Lavina beach, on King Island’s north east coast, has been described by Tracks magazine as “The best beach break in Australia” which is some accolade. The advantage for surfers of visiting a relatively small island is that invariably something will be happening on one coast or another. No good on the east coast? Just drive 20 minutes back over to the west and have a look there. While some of the waves and some of the beaches are more for the experts you can find ideal beaches with gentle waves for beginners and you can also hire boards if you didn’t come prepared.
For such a small population King Island is over-endowed with creative people, keen to share their talents with visitors. If you’d like to meet local makers then drop into the King Island Arts & Cultural Centre at Currie Harbour and browse through a collection of art and crafts made exclusively by local people. Check listings for exhibitions and workshops. If you’re down towards the south of the island and you fancy a coffee or a cake then Portside Links Gallery at Grassy Harbour offers exhibitions featuring local and visiting artists in a very well-appointed setting. If you don’t have much time then the Hole in One gallery next to the Ocean Dunes Hotel on Main Street has a few works by local artists as does The Boathouse.
9. King Island Historical Museum
This well-stocked and informative museum, staffed by local volunteers, is located in the old Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage in Currie. Many visitors are fascinated to learn more about the shipwrecks which littered the coast of King Island and the terrible stories of disaster and salvation. There are also stories featuring Soldier Settlers, sealers and other early pioneers who strove to tame the wild forests of Kings Island and to whom the present day residents and visitors owe so much. You can also view the original Cape Wickham Lighthouse lens which is more than 150 years old. If you’re feeling adventurous and your taste for lighthouse history is piqued you can also book a tour of Currie Lighthouse by calling Ondrea on 0439 705 610.
10.What else should make the Top Ten?
The Platypus Tour, bird-watching, your favourite café or restaurant or maybe even a local identity? Tell us what you think by emailing Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.