Surrounded by wild seas, and the source of famously good produce, King Island delivers an array of island-off-an-island experiences.
Home to two of Australia’s best golf courses and one of the world’s great surf breaks, it’s a place where the only things that hurry are the waves and the wind.
The main town on Tasmanian’s second-largest offshore island is Currie, the location of most of the island’s services (and the site of a memorable annual festival). The small, sleepy towns of Grassy and Naracoopa dot the east coast.
Settle into a luxe retreat and walk up an appetite before tucking into the island’s celebrated beef, seafood and cheese – or discover a renowned restaurant with no food. Witness seas littered with shipwrecks, and find Tasmania’s northernmost brewery set among lush pasture. These are just some of King’s contrasts.
- Boogie away to catchy folk, blues and indie tunes at Festival of King Island (early February).
- Tee up a round of golf at Cape Wickham Golf Links or Ocean Dunes Golf Course.
- Watch the surf pound ashore at Martha Lavinia Beach.
- Witness the destructive fury of the ocean on a shipwreck trail.
- Tuck into island produce metres from the source.
Car hire is available at King Island Car Rental. There is no public transport on the island.
Things to do
Two courses – Cape Wickham Golf Links and Ocean Dunes Golf Course – were ranked among Australia’s top-20 golf courses by Golf Australia magazine in 2022, making King Island one the world’s great golf destinations. The two links-style courses mix challenge with rugged coastal beauty, while the relaxed, nine-hole King Island Golf Course adds more dramatically designed holes to the island’s golfing menu.
Empty beaches and wild coastline call, and they’re best experienced on foot. Hike into the Calcified Forest on one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks. The short walk (30min, 1.3km) reveals hundreds of bizarrely shaped limestone features, which are the calcified remains of a 7000-year-old forest. The rural nature of the island makes the rugged Seal Rocks coastline – with the island’s highest cliffs, rising 60m from the sea – seem all the more powerful. It’s a short walk to a lookout over cliffs. The Copperhead trail sets out north from the lookout for a walk along the clifftops (90min return, 4km).
Surfers talk in revered terms about Martha Lavinia Beach. Surfing Life magazine once rated the waves on this beach in the island’s north-east as among the 10 best in the world, and world-champion surfers such as Kelly Slater, Sunny Garcia and Tom Carroll have dropped in to surf here. If you’re not a wave rider, it’s a lovely beach to wander and beachcomb.
Festival of King Island
Share in an eclectic selection of live music, great food and wide smiles with the cruisy King Island locals at this laidback summer festival. Enjoy renowned King Island produce and feel the energy of the crowd as talented artists perform. Whether you're bringing the little ones for a casual family outing or getting merry with mates, two days in the King Island sun will have you feeling relaxed, indulged, and connected to a place that does things a little differently.
King Island Maritime Trail
The tempestuous seas around King Island have claimed an estimated 140 shipwrecks. Pick up a Maritime Trail brochure from the visitor centre in Currie and set out to discover the island’s dark side. The trail passes the site of eight shipwrecks, including the Cataraqui. It claimed 400 lives in 1845, and it remains Australia’s worst peacetime maritime disaster. The trail also takes in the island’s lighthouses and safe havens.
King Island Dairy
The island’s famous cheese can be found at the cheese shop at King Island Dairy, less than a 10min drive north of Currie. Tuck into a platter of cheeses from the dairy’s award-winning range, or enjoy a baked brie – settle in with a matching wine or beer.
King Island Historical Museum
Learn about shipwrecks, sealing and the old scheelite mine in Grassy, and see the original, 150-year-old lens from Cape Wickham Lighthouse at this museum in the old lighthouse keeper’s cottage in Currie.
Brews and botanicals
Tasmania’s most northerly brewery, King Island Brewhouse, stands atop one of the island’s few rises, surrounded by verdant pastures. The taproom has a lounge and deck, and pours a range of core beers alongside seasonal creations and bar snacks. Call ahead to King Island Distillery for a tour and tastings of its award-winning native gin and ruby vodka.
Eating and drinking
King Island on a plate – this fine-dining restaurant in Grassy delivers the best of the island’s beef, lamb, vegetables and seafood, creating a paddock-to-plate and sea-to-plate experience.
The views are, indeed, part of the dining experience at this restaurant inside the King Island Golf and Bowling Club, with an outlook over the golf course and coast.
King Island Hotel
Hang with the locals over a pub meal at the bistro in this Currie hotel.
Restaurant With No Food
A colourful boathouse in the shadow of Currie Lighthouse is the setting for this unique ‘restaurant’. The setting is sublime, and cutlery and crockery are provided – you just need to bring the food and drinks.
Currie has two supermarkets, which are open seven days a week. Grassy also has a small supermarket, which is closed on Sundays.
Every space in sumptuous Kittawa Lodge gets a coastal view, including the polished concrete bath. Enjoy the seclusion and an exclusive stretch of coast, returning to a four-course dinner prepared by your private cook.
Sitting high in the dunes are Ettrick Rocks’ three self-contained retreats, commanding one of the island’s best coastal locations. Explore the rugged coast or simply settle into the cantilevered window seat in the bedroom.
Bass Lodge King Island
Gather friends and family at this four-bedroom dune-top retreat. Distractions include a new outdoor spa, wood-fired sauna and firepit and, further afield, private bush tracks and beach access.