Flinders Island lies 54 km to the north of Tassie’s northeastern tip and is the largest of the islands in the Furneaux Group. To get to Flinders Island, you can fly in either from Melbourne or from Launceston. Alternatively, you can sail in by ferry from Bridport. There is archaeological evidence that shows that Aboriginal people lived on Flinders Island until about 4,500 years ago. They probably made their way here across the land bridge that used to cross the Bass Strait but the population seems to have died out after a shift in the climate. In 1773, Tobias Furneaux recorded some of the islands in what was to become known as the Furneaux Group. Matthew Flinders charted many of the islands in the group when he visited on two different occasions in 1798 and also reported that there were seals in the Bass Strait. This led to sealers moving to the islands. When the seal stocks collapsed in the late 1820s, some of the sealers stayed on, making a living through cattle grazing and muttonbirding. Just before World War I, new settlers boosted Flinders Island’s population. After World War II, more settlers came as part of the Soldier Land Settlement Scheme. Most people now living on the island work in the agricultural or fishing industries and a must when you visit is to sample the local produce, including the wine made here. Flinders Island is home to several conservation areas, among them Strzelecki National Park. Here you can go bushwalking, enjoy the views from the granite mountains, go rock climbing or try and spot the rare local wildlife. You can also go camping or simply enjoy the beach and the surrounding waters. An unusual activity to try on Flinders Island is fossicking for the type of topaz known as Killiecrankie Diamonds. Mines Creek and Diamond Creek are the best places to look for these stones, which on Flinders Island can be clear, pink gold or ice blue. Flinders Island has a wide range of accommodation options for every type of budget. There is no public transport but you can hire a car or bicycle, or you can get around by taxi. You can even bring your own car if you travel by ferry from Bridport.

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