FLINDERS Island, a tiny gem in a cluster of islands dotted across Bass Strait, north-east of Tasmania, is as close as any destination gets to an untouched natural paradise.
But travellers unaware of the island’s postcard-worthy scenery and foodie reputation have long overlooked this laidback, salt-of-the-earth island. It gets only 6000 visitors a year – yet dotted between its crystalline waters, clean sands and rugged wetlands is a buzzing world of food, wine and coffee, and a warm community eager to welcome new faces.
- www.visitflindersisland.com.au – and while you’re there check out the island’s great new video that’s sure to have you ready to book your ticket.
BOOBOOK Ecotours want to help travellers connect with hidden worlds in Outback Queensland.
The company, based in Roma, has exclusive access to large privately-owned landscapes and can custom-make tours to suit small groups.
Participants can learn about inland Queensland’s natural ecosystems, lesser-known Australian wildlife, pioneering history, agriculture and coal seam gas industries, or can take groups through sandstone escarpments, canoeing on inland lakes or strolling among spring wildflowers.
An air-conditioned 4WD bus is used to access ancient cycad forests, Indigenous art and hidden gorges. Accommodation can range from glamping on a cattle station to modern motels in Roma.
Head guide, author Craig Eddie, has been labelled the David Attenborough of the south-west due to his unparalleled knowledge of the local natural environment. He sits on various expert panels for Queensland fauna, is a mollusc enthusiast, enjoys heavy metal and can play the didgeridoo.
- 07-4622-2646, www.boobookecotours.com.au
LEADING Indigenous tourism operator Lirrwi Tourism’s 2018 calendar features a variety of tour itineraries of the East Arnhem Land Yolngu Homelands.
Developed by Yolngu traditional owners, the immersive tours provide an economic base for Yolngu to remain on country and maintain their culture, while offering visitors the chance to experience their way of life.
Multi-day itineraries include a Crossing Country Tour, a Women’s Tour and a Photography Tour.
The five-day Crossing Country Tour visits remote communities across East Arnhem Land with overnight stays at beautiful Bawaka Homeland.
It is priced at $2399 per person twin share and includes accommodation, meals, transfers and touring. Lirrwi Tourism’s Women’s Tour is named Gay’Wu, meaning dilly bag, for its importance as a cultural symbol – both for its practicality in carrying bush foods and medicines, and for its spiritual significance: carrying knowledge.
On this five-day tour, participants learn from Yolngu women about traditions and links to the earth. Rates are $2399 per person twin share.
A dedicated Photography Tour will run over seven nights in July. Limited to just nine people, it includes a visit by boat to the Banubanu Wilderness Retreat on Bremer Island, three-night stays at two Yolngu homelands and a visit to the renowned Buku Larrnggay Mulka Arts Centre at Yirrkala community. Rates are $5750 per person twin share.
- 08-8987-2828, www.lirrwitourism.com.au