At Bridport Aerodrome, the plane all set for take-off. We (ie the pilot) wisely decided to wait for an hour or so till the rain was a tad less torrential. You wouldn’t want all that water coming in through the hole where the door is meant to be.

Flight headed out over Barnbougle golf course although vision was somewhat impaired by the rain.

Turned out not to be rough, even heading through a low very grey looking cloud mass.

Whitemark has a mid-sized tarmac runway, but we landed on a grass strip in the southern “town” of Lady Barron. The rental car was waiting, with the bullocks nearby.

My accommodation, a comfortable studio on an acre or so, with the main 3 bedroom house nearby. Had lots of light, a good wall mounted airconditioner, a sizeable vegetable garden, and everything one could want. No tv, but with the marvels of modern technology I could access the net over my phone’s hotspot (telstra access only), and the footy over my Foxtel account.

Whitemark, the biggest “town”, has about 20 houses, a supermarket, one pub, a baker, a household goods/newsagent, and a butcher closed for a family event. Later in the week I found a very nice modern spacious cafe on the waterfront, open Wed -Sun. The other township, Lady Barron, is about 25 km south. It has a small shop and a tavern. Fuel is available in Whitemark via a very smart 24/7 card operated pump. There is also a pump at the Lady Barron shop. There are half a dozen other small groupings of houses, but none other with any shops. A very good museum is about half way up on the east, at Emita, which is on the way to Wybalenna.

Whitemark from Walkers Lookout.

There are a couple of stretches of sealed road, but mostly the through roads are good quality gravel.

Shops shut on Saturday at noon and are closed Sunday. The only bottle shop is a small one in the Whitemark pub. Apparently locals import beer and wine from Tasmania in bulk orders. Wednesday is an exciting day as the ship comes in.

Day one saw me heading out to Wybalenna, the chapel built for the tasmanian aboriginals rounded up for life saving conversion to christianity by George Augustus Robinson. Then up to the top of the Island, Parana, and winding back down. There are lots of holiday shacks but also some magnificent houses making the most of the strait views.

Killiekrankie is similar, and famous of course for the Killikrankie diamonds, being Topaz. There were families on the beach straining sludge through sieves in hope, I imagine, of becoming rich.

Once back, I continued down to Trousers Point, to the west of the Strezlecki Ranges. A very scenic bay and forest featured.

The next day I went to various west coast beach spots, with short spells out in the gale and rain. All had interesting features, including at Allport a classic mutton bird (short tailed shearwater) nesting ground. Also visible to the north was the famous Castle Rock. The water is universally crystal clear.

Next day was mild with a low wind. I headed out to the east side via Walker’s Lookout, from which there are expansive views in all directions.

Essentially the Island is farming country. Homes are many kilometres apart and isolated. The farming land is largely flat and verdant. Mostly it is along the east coast, but I found very flat expansive farmlands in the north east too.

All the roads out to the lagoons were ok till the last vital stretch, where they were all adversely affected by the rain and, I guess, 4WDs. Saw a few birds, but only two I hadn’t seen before – a yellow throated honeyeater, and a lost looking Short-tailed Shearwater (mutton bird).

This is Patriarch Lagoon.

West of Lady Barron, on the so-called coast road is interesting volcanic remnants, pumice and basalt flows. The bird hide there is well placed, but the water was so far out both times I went there, so were any birds. What is notable here is that it looks like a major breeding area for White-Faced Heron (there were about 100), Sooty and Pied Oyster catchers, and Chestnut Teal.

The weather was mild enough at the end of the week, but windy with frequent squalls making getting far from the car problematic. Pottered about the various bays and forests. Saw plenty of green rosellas and yellow-tailed black-cockatoos. Also spotted lots of Little Grassbirds, Black Currawong, Cape Barren Geese, some pheasants, and a couple of Brown Falcons, which were very nervous of a stopped car. In the garden where I was staying there were Grey Fantails, Welcome Swallows, Fairy-wren, Grey Shrike-Thrush, and a lone young Green Rosella.

Above from left to right: Little Grass Bird, Yellow-throated honeyeater, Pacific Gull, Grey Shrike-Thrush, Pheasant, Black Currawong, Cape Barren Goose, Dusky Woodswallow, Brown Falcon and Green Rosella.

Sawyers Bay was a very photogenic spot, and I spent a few hours trying to capture it – with the camera. Below are aspects of Sawyers Bay. The Granite (volcanic) boulders were covered with limestone in the long periods underwater, then having been exposed, the limestone becomes coated with lichen.

Finally, I was impressed at what wise people run the Flinders Island International Hotel.

Michael Monaghan

April 2023


  1. Thanks, Michael.

    Very impressive scenery. We will have to put Flinders Island on our “to do” list.

    We are planning to go to Uganda and Kenya in September, assuming that the Sudan “situation” has not spilled over into neighbouring countries! We are doing a custom birding tour with a couple of friends and also of course visiting the Mountain Gorillas.

    Cheers, Caroline


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