Explore four of Tasmania’s islands – Macquarie, Flinders, Bruny and King – where you can escape reality and immerse yourself in the sparkling beaches, rugged ranges and amazing flora and fauna these floating idylls have to offer.
Discover more about Tasmania's off-shore retreats from sweeping beaches, dramatic coastlines and abundant wildlife.
Macquarie Island, known as 'Macca’ to local Tasmanians, is an extraordinary subantarctic island located around 1500 kilometres (930miles) south of Tasmania – literally halfway to the Antarctic continent.
Macquarie Island is unlike other, more well-known islands along the Tasmanian coast. It isn’t populated by humans, meaning it’s a truly unique wildlife experience. Access to Macquarie Island is by expedition cruise only – it’s a mid-way stopover point for long voyages which depart Tasmania’s capital city of Hobart heading for East Antarctica, or is a destination in its own right for shorter subantarctic voyages which typically focus on bird watching.
Macquarie Island is one of only a very few islands in this rugged part of the world where native fauna can breed - around 3.5 million seabirds and 80,000 elephant seals arrive on Macquarie Island each year to breed and moult, as well as a growing population of fur seals and between 25,000 and 40,000 King penguins gather on the shore and slopes at Lusitania Bay on the east coast of the island.
Flinders Island, located off mainland Tasmania's North East Coast, is part of the Furneaux group of islands that stretch across Bass Strait between Tasmania and mainland Australia. Take a break from the world and enjoy what Flinders Island has to offer – explore the rugged mountain ranges, fossick for Killiecrankie diamonds, relax on the beaches and interact with unique Australian wildlife.
A selection of must-do experiences:
On land: Flinders Island is homne to some awe inspiring mountain views. If you want the biggest mountain and best views on the island, Mt Strzelecki is it. Set aside a day for this one as it’s a four to five-hour walk to the top, but the views are well worth it. Along the way, you'll also meet local wildlife like the long-nosed potoroo (part of the rat-kangaroo family), the endangered forty-spotted pardolate (one of the smallest birds in Australia) and the rare ‘burrowing crayfish’, which can be found in creeks higher up in the range.
Pack a picnic hamper with some quality local produce (head to Flinders Island Fresh in Whitemark who will look after your needs), grab a rug, drive towards Allport Beach and look out for the Castle Rock walk to take in sunset
Visit Derek the Wombat. If you're unfamiliar, Flinders Isalnd is home to a little wombat joey named Derek who captured the hearts of thousands when photographer and Friend of Australia Sean Scott filmed Derek and posted the video to Facebook. You can find out more here.
On sea: Booking a diving tour is the perfect way to get a good look at the amazing marine wildlife in the waters of Flinders Island. Fish, dolphins and seals make up the underwater paradise, and seeing first hand the exquisite colours of the marine environment, feeling the invigoration of the cold water on your skin and being just centimeters (inches) away from beautiful dolphins will be an unforgettable experience.
North East River is a favourite for fishing and you can also book a Rockjaw Tour to catch the famous Flinders Island crayfish.
Take spectacular cliff-top walks, spot wildlife and soak up history on rugged Bruny Island, near Hobart. One of the four significantly populated islands off Hobart, Bruny Island has a population of 600 and is about 360 square kilometres (138 square miles) in size.
Bruny Island houses the South Bruny National Park, which provides an amazing Tasmanian wilderness experience.
On land: explore the wilderness with one of Bruny Islands many bushwalks like the Labillardiere Peninsula circuit or the quick Mavista Nature Walk.
Keep an eye out for the white wallaby. If you’re a nature and bird lover, try the Inala nature tour which are tailored to suit your interests.
‘The Neck’ Bruny’s landmark viewpoint is an absolute must see for visitors to the island. Make your way up the large staircase for an incredible view of Adventure Bay.
Bruny Island is a great food and wine destination. On the island you can indulge in hand-made fudge, chocolate, truffles, berries, cheese and fresh oysters. Take the Cape Queen Elizabeth walk and enjoy some amazing Bruny Island Cheese (a must visit on the island) and Get Shucked oysters on the beach.
On sea: join an eco-cruise and explore the coastline. Here you will get the opportunity to see Bruny Island’s fur seals and fairy penguins.
Accommodation: You can experience nature at its best and camp on the island, bring your own caravan or stay in one of the many cottages available on the island.
King Island lies 80 kilometres north-west of mainland Tasmania and and is beautifully rugged and windswept. It has over 145 kilometres of coastline that stretches along the Bass Strait. The island is 64 kilometres long and 26 kilometres wide and is home to a unique array of seabirds and wildlife lie the rare orange-bellied parrot. The Island is well-known for its produce - beef and dairy farms cover the island (King Island cheese is a must), and the fresh seafood is famously good.
On land: King Island is now home to three world-class golf courses – Ocean Dunes, Cape Wickham and King Island Golf Club. If golf is your thing, this is the place to be.
If you like to explore on foot, take one of King Islands many walking trails. They range from guided and self-guided tours that will take you off the beaten track to some of the islands best spots – from spotting penguins to exploring the island’s delicious food. Cape Wickham Lighthouse is a must-see, and can be worked into a walking tour of your choice. The lighthouse is the southern hemisphere’s tallest lighthouse and sits on the northern tip of King Island.
Another must-do is to explore the shipwrecks. King Island’s coast is stormy and rugged and the remains of many ships are buried at sea. The partial remains of the only shipwreck you can see from the land (the Shannon ship wreck) is somewhat ironically located on one of the most beautiful and peaceful beaches on the island, Yellow Rock Beach. Getting to the beach involves a ten-minute walk on a sandy track over a small hill. Parts of the track overlook beautiful Yellow Rock River, which flows directly onto the beach.
On Sea: avid surfers and kite surfers will feel right at home here. King Island has long been known to surfers all over to have great waves and has numerous surf breaks to choose from, including the well-known Martha Lavinia beach. King Island Surf Safari offer tours of 3 to 5 people that include a chartered aircraft, accommodation on the island and 4WD to access to all the great surfing spots.