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Flinders Island, Tasmania: Untapped Paradise in Waiting

November 8, 2016 Travel Deals No Comments Print Print Email Email

Discover a world of regionally produced and wildly sourced food, wine and coffee—and untouched landscapes waiting to be explored. Welcome to a wildly underestimated corner of Australia.

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Maybe you’ve heard of Flinders Island, that tiny gem sitting at the bottom of the world, among a cluster of small islands in Bass Strait, off Tasmania. But have you ever seen its sunsets in the flesh—burnt-orange and better than any postcard? Ever climbed its rugged mountains, big enough to make you catch your breath, but small enough for a day trek? Have you walked along Flinders’ pristine, almost-private beaches, edged with turquoise water and sound-tracked, not by traffic, but birds? Have you spied black swans gliding through unspoiled wetlands? Picked up local honey and hot sauce and pure, filtered rainwater? Or sampled Unavale, the award-winning boutique wine produced from start-to-finish on the island?

Until now, Flinders Island has been a well-kept secret, a wild and untamed wonderland flying well under-the-radar. It’s known to expert travelers and bird watchers and conservationists—all of them intoxicated by wildflower-filled bush land and sprawling national park, by the 200 species of birds and 85 pristine beaches. The landscape here is awe-inspiring, and much of the pleasure in visiting is simply soaking it up. Take a yoga class at the foothill of Mount Strzelecki or do a guided walk—Tasmania is, after all, renowned for them worldwide.

One of the island’s biggest untapped offerings is its burgeoning food and wine industries, propelled by many of the 900 locals who call Flinders home. The paddock, sea and garden to plate philosophy is everywhere—you’ll find succulent crayfish, wallaby, mutton bird, lamb and dry aged beef, plus organic garlic, honey, fresh fruits, vegetables and preserves in abundance.

It’s not just locals and a handful of travelers lapping up the super-fresh produce. Leading figures in Australia’s contemporary dining scene source Flinders Island Meat for their menus, including Dan Hunter of Brae, Ben Shewry of Attica, Kylie Kwong of Billy Kwong, Shannon Bennett of Vue de monde, Frank Camorra of Movida and Peter Gilmore of the Opera House’s Bennelong and its sister eatery, Quay. In 2015, the in-demand Rene Redzepi and his team from noma in Denmark stopped by the island on their Australian trip, testing everything from Green Lip abalone to Saltgrass lamb and local wallaby.

Spurred on by the growing popularity of their seafood, Flinders Island is launching an annual Crayfish Festival in March 2017. Think Montauk’s version, with its pop-up crayfish stands and butter-laden crayfish rolls, blended with the deftness of Australia’s very best chefs, who’ll cook live on the island paradise—its raw, fierce beauty the ideal backdrop. Also on the agenda: bonfires, local music and tastings of wine and gin.

Like most getaways, Flinders Island is whatever you make it—whether you’re there for a hiking trip or a restorative, leisurely stay. If it’s the latter, prepare to be welcomed with open arms, to feel completely at home. Visitors can connect with a local host, who will invite them around for a cuppa, introduce you to locals (including the much-loved Derek the wombat and friends) and point you in the direction of A Taste of Flinders, who’ll pack you a gourmet hamper for beach trips or a dusk barbeque looking over Bass Strait, elegantly-mixed local drinks at the ready. Add the soon-to-come community beachside barbeques and open dinners—where guests of all ages and walks of life are welcome—and you’ll discover a place so lush and authentic you’ll almost want to keep it to yourself.

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