1 May 2019
1 May 2019
If you look down as you fly into Flinders Island (via Sharp Airlines from Melbourne or Launceston) you'll mostly see open fields of green rather than fences, houses, highways or traffic lights – and this is the basis of its appeal.
The tiny remote destination, which lies off mainland Tasmania's north-east coast, is a nature lover's dream. Until recently, though, it wasn't on the map as a restaurant destination, despite its reputation for meat and seafood production.
"It made me really sad," says Flinders Wharf co-founder Jo Youl, "that we have all this beautiful produce on the island, but you couldn't go out to eat it anywhere."
Jo and her husband Tom decided to do something about it. With the help of a Local Government grant and a team of helping hands they built The Flinders Wharf, a waterside restaurant and meeting place for locals and visitors alike.
Chefs in rotation
As you might imagine, finding staff on an island with only 900 residents can be a struggle, which is why the Youls invite big-name chefs to train people who live on the island during weekend kitchen takeovers.
These weekend sessions are not only a drawcard for visitors (in early 2020 you can expect to see names such as Matt Stone, Jo Barrett and Analiese Gregory on the roster), but they also provide essential training for locals who want to improve their skills without leaving home.
No matter who is in the kitchen, you'll find seasonal Flinders Island-sourced ingredients on the menu, from crayfish to sea urchin, abalone, pears, honey and foraged ingredients like fennel pollen, stinging nettle and kelp.
You can even go find your own treats: bespoke packages offering scenic flights, diving, walking, foraging and lunch in a secret, private location are available.
The venue shares the space with zero-waste Furneaux Distillery and there's an on-site provedore, live crayfish tank and working beehive – BYO jar and fill it with fresh honey straight from the source. On the second level you'll find incredible ocean views, a co-working space (a rarity on the island), Unique Charters and Flinders SkinSpa.
Find out more about The Flinders Wharf on the venue’s website.
By Nola James