I’d definitely call myself a city person, so when the opportunity arises to take a holiday or mini-break, I must admit I tend to gravitate towards busy places – you know, destinations full of shops, restaurants, cultural attractions and things to occupy my busy mind (and a five year old!). It’s not often I actively seek out a slower-paced getaway.
But, that’s exactly what I signed up for recently, when the opportunity to travel to Flinders Island popped up. It wasn’t a destination I previously knew a great deal about… but, after the year we’ve all had, I was more that willing to throw caution to the wind, pack up my little family and check it out. And I’m so, so glad we did! This three-day getaway turned out to be one of our most memorable family holidays ever.
Flinders Island is a 1,367 square kilometre island in the Bass Strait, off the north East coast of Tasmania. Here, a tiny, tight-knit community of around 1000 people live the simple life, surrounded by idyllic natural beauty. Honestly, the lifestyle here feels like a well-kept secret… The beaches are utterly breathtaking, with crystal clear water and dramatic boulders flanking the shoreline, whilst the coastal walks and views are nothing short of spectacular. Aside from this abundant natural beauty, there’s a distinct magic that comes from the island’s relaxed, slow pace, its limited phone reception and small-town quirks, and most of all, its warm, welcoming community.
Our accomodation was Wombat Lodge, which has a unique charm that takes a day or so to truly begin to understand. On face value, this farm stay property is a converted shearing shed, located on an expansive working cattle farm, with sweeping views of Mt Killiecrankie. With moody interiors by Melbourne designer Emily Fitzgerald, this cosy, comfortable three bedroom retreat is the perfect base from which to explore the island.
However, what you DON’T realise until after checking in, is that this charming, yet humble farm stay is located on an expansive 800+ hectare (ie ‘as-far-as-the-eye-can-see’) property, that backs right onto the Northern-most tip of the island. A short drive, walk or e-bike ride to the edge of the property reveals a pristine sparkling beach inaccessible by public roads, and an elevated look-out spot that must be seen to be believed! It’s almost impossible to believe this jaw-dropping scenery isn’t the site of a national park. It’s not – it’s the backyard of our hosts, the delightful Youl family – Jo, Tom and their three young kids.
Jo’s great grandfather bought this farm (known as Quoin Farm) in the 1930s, and though she grew up in country Victoria, Jo spent many childhood holidays here along with her siblings and cousins. So, when the opportunity came to take on the family farm and relocate here – she couldn’t pass it up! Now, she and her husband Tom are two of the island’s greatest champions.
Aside from running their large cattle farm, the accomodation, and parenting three kids, Jo has also helped to develop Flinders Wharf, the island’s only fine dining restaurant and event space. Here, acclaimed Head Chef Mikey Yeo conjoures up an ever-changing menu of seasonal food (local crayfish, yes please!), in a venue that also houses the Furneaux Distillery Co.
Flinders Island truly won our hearts during our short time here, and we left completely refreshed, and in awe of the magic of this place. A huge thanks to Jo and the Youl family for sharing their special slice of paradise with us!
Lucy’s Flinders Island Favourites
Wombat Lodge – A converted shearing shed turned cozy family holiday rental, this charming farm stay is more than meets the eye. The magic of this place lies in its access to ‘The Bar’ – a spectacular elevated look-out spot on the Northern edge of the property, accessible only to Wombat Lodge guests.
Flinders Wharf – Book in early for dinner, or order an incredible cook-at-home meal, and enjoy in the cosy confines of your holiday rental.
Killiecrankie Beach – a pristine, sparkling beach around 10 minutes drive from Wombat Lodge.
Cate Cooks, Whitemark – Whitemark is Flinders Island’s tiny main town, not far from the airport. It’s a ‘one supermarket, one petrol pump, one pub’ sort of place… and you’ll definitely need to stop here for provisions before heading to your holiday accommodation. Don’t miss Cate Cooks – and excellent little cafe / catering business for great coffee, home baked goods and sweet treats.
Unique Charters – For a birds eye view of the epic, untouched beauty of Flinders Island, Unique Charters offers spectacular scenic flights by both helicopter and small plane, as well as chartered flights across to mainland Tasmania.
Lucy travelled as a guest of Wombat Lodge / On Island Time. Sharp Airlines Fly direct from Essendon Airport, Melbourne to Flinders Island in just under an hour.
The Design Files acknowledge the Palawa people, the traditional custodians of the lands now known as Tasmania and the Furneaux Islands, and pay our respects to their elders past and present. We acknowledge the immense trauma and hardship experienced by Tasmania’s First Nations people as a result of white settlement and colonisation.