King Island - Tasmania - Islands of Australia

Island Location

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Island Details

Accommodation

Places to Visit

Places to Eat

Tours

Activities

Rentals or Hire

Facilities

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Unique to the Island

Facts and Figures

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Pictures - Photos

Map

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King Island is a small island in Bass Strait, not too far from the north western horn of Tasmania and roughly half way between the big island and Victoria on the mainland. It was named after Philip King, the third Governor of New South Wales.

King island has about 2000 residents, mostly in the towns of Currie on the west and Grassy (a former mining town) on the east. Temperature and rainfall are generally moderate, but the island is sometimes swept by “Roaring 40’s” gales, where winds can reach 100 kilometers per hour.

Two large nature reserves help to protect and display the island’s many native plants and animals. As with other Australian islands, large-scale farming is gradually being broken up into specialty farms which produce small amounts of gourmet items of various types, including lobsters, crayfish, oysters, crab, fish, grass-fed beef, sausages, lamb, native pepper, fine cheeses, virgin water, local teas, honey, and kelp products.

At the end of the 18th century, European explorers sighted and named King Island. Sealers and hunters were the first white people to stay for any length of time, occasionally joined by castaways from the numerous shipwrecks in the difficult waters surrounding the island.

In 1825, King Island and the rest of Van Diemens land were declared their own state, separate from Victoria, eventually renamed Tasmania. Early settlers Smith and Turnbull take up farming and grazing. Telegraph cables and the Cape Wickham lighthouse soon followed, but ships continued to founder in the shallow water until the Currie lighthouse began operating in 1880.

In 1888 the island was opened up for settlement, and by the beginning of the 1900s the town of Currie was built, and the population had grown to nearly 200 – a figure which nearly quadruples over the next ten years as prospectors joined into the community when scheelite and tin were discovered, along with tiny traces of gold.

In the aftermath of World War I, fifty “soldier settlements” are created for returning war veterans, and a memorial is built for the twenty-two soldiers who never would return, even as the first planes arrive on the island. Improvements came quickly after that, with an airfield, a telephone cable, a bank, a golf club, a library, and more.

After World War II, two hundred settlements were again provided to returning soldiers. The Tasmanian Hydroelectric Commission builds a power plant; mining, farming and kelp processing are the island’s major industries.

In the 1980s the economy starts to turn more towards tourism with new parks and reserves gazetted, and more hotels and museums built. Hydro Tasmania opens a “wind farm” pilot operation in 1998.


Accommodation (Resorts and Hotels) King Island

 

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One caravan park, a few motels, and many houses, cottages, cabins and flats available for hire.
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Places to Visit King Island

 

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Lighthouses, nature reserves, seal rocks, penguin nesting grounds, King Island dairy and fromagerie, museums and galleries, kelp racks, wind farm
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Places to Eat King Island

 

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Four fine restaurants, several smaller cafes and shops. Cheese tasting and wine tasting.
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Tours King Island

 

 

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Coach tours, boat tours, evening penguin tours, many custom options.
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Activities King Island

 

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Air sports, beaches and lagoons, surfing, nature outings, birdwatching, diving, fishing, golf, horse races, horse riding, hunting, sailing.

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Car, Bike and Boat Rentals/Hire King Island

 

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Facilities King Island

 

Trend and Tourist Information Centre (petrol, bike hire, fishing gear), caravan park, supermarkets, postal agent
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How to get there King Island

 

Airplane

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Car/Bike

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Flights from Melbourne, Devonport and Wynyard.

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Unique to the Island King Island

 

King Island has many shipwrecks, and many lighthouses; calcified forest
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Facts and Figures King Island

 

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Services King Island

 

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Pictures - Photos of King Island

 

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Send in your photos and display them here with a hyperlink to your website

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Map King Island


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