The opportunity arose to visit Flinders Island while our daughter Jessica was staying there as an artist in residence with her fiance Nick. We caught the early morning train from Wodonga and so arrived at our accomodation via car, train, plane and car again for the last 200 metres from the terminal to our cabin.
After meeting up with Jessica and Nick for a fantastic meal at the Whitemark pub (I would highly recommend the wallaby fillets with honey soy cream sauce. Yum!) we set off under bleak skies to explore the island. We headed north to Lillies beach to feature the remains of the jetty and discover the history of Wybalenna where the Tasmanian Aborigines were relocated in 1834. The lowering skies seemed to match the atmosphere of the lonely chapel and graveyard.
Further north we visited Castle Rock, the famous symbol of Flinders Island’s golden beaches, orange lichen covered granite rocks and blue seas. North East river and Patana completed our journey to the top of the island where we puzzled over the large hook embedded in the rock on a cove that looked too small for boats.
We stopped off at Killiecrankie where we were shown how to search for Killiecrankie diamonds (gem quality topaz) without any success.
We watched the sun set over Mt Strzelecki topped by an impressive lenticular cloud and explored the beach to the barnacle encrusted jetty (or sat in the car to escape the bracing wind!)
The east coast was the destination for the following day beginning with a trip to Walker’s Lookout in the centre of the island and giving a good view of the dramatic Darling Range which unfortunately was not easily accessed. Furneaux Lookout gave a view to the east coast with its flat green paddocks. We headed on down to Lady Barron, a very pretty village which would be a good base for a visit. We took the foreshore walk with colourful rocks, local boats and rugged off shore islands to provide an impressive panorama.
Having driven the main thoroughfares we now needed to fill in the bits that we hadn’t seen on all the little side roads. We began by revisiting Killiecrankie Bay and walking along the beach to the arch at the other end. An abandoned farmhouse in a paddock that we had been passing was visited and then Trousers Point in the National Park where we enjoyed the walk to Fotheringate Bay. We were bemused by the many oval and round balls found on the beach. Seed pods of some sort? but there was nothing in the middle except the same as on the outside. A local enlightened us – they are made up of small fibres from the seaweed that gather together and roll into a ball when moved by the wind! Ray and I walked up to Mountain Seas, sumptuous accomodation in a superb setting at the base of Mt Strzelecki where we had a lovely home cooked meal.
Sawyers Bay was our next side trip where we found a delightfully deserted bay (except for the cow keeping down the grass on the roadside) studded with orange rocks and expansive views across to Mt Strzelecki. We walked for an hour down the coast for more views and colour-splashed rocks before returning.
We headed back to Walkers Lookout and walked to Leventhorpe Gap for another view over the countryside. Unfortunately it did not get us any better views of those enticing peaks in the Darling Range. We spotted a browsing wombat – they and the echidnas are much lighter in colour here but we don’t know why.
Our second last day saw us tackling the big climb of Mt Strzelecki. The distance is only 4km return but is a steady climb the whole time as we gained 736m. There was some light cloud sitting on top but we hoped it would burn off during the day. Of course it didn’t but we still got good views on the way up and down while enshrouded in fog on the peak. We passed through different stages of vegetation as we climbed from the tea-tree forest up to an area of eucalypts and tree ferns, then the enchanting moss forest and finally up amongst the boulders and stunted scrub. Despite us thinking it was a cool day the local wildlife thought differently and we disturbed two snakes soaking up the sun – a white-lipped snake and the black appearance of the tiger snake in the southern regions.
We revisited some of our favourite place to see them under different conditions – sunshine, sunset and by star and moon light.
We left the sunshine of Flinders Island to descend into the drizzly gloom of a Melbourne day where we arrived at the overpass to see a tram go past under us, then arrived at the station as a train pulled out and so of course arrived at Southern Cross at 2.30, the time the train to Wodonga left. We then had lots of time to fill until the 6.00 train.