Flinders Island, off the coast of Tasmania, has become famous among chefs for its giant rock lobsters, lamb, wallaby and muttonbird (a fat-rich native harvested by the Aboriginal population). But until now the rugged land has been relatively restaurant-free. The annual star-studded food and crayfish festival (held late March) has increasingly put Flinders on the food tourist's map.
But now locals Jo and Tom Youl are hoping to turn the island into a year-round food and adventure destination with their new Whitemark hub Flinders Wharf.
The ambitious project encompasses a zero-waste distillery, day spa, beehives, live cray tanks, a provedore selling Tasmania's best produce and a tourism office that can arrange accommodation, foraging or fishing tours ending with long lunches in remote locations and scenic flights. There are even hot desks with high speed internet for locals and tourists.
At the heart of the warehouse-size space, overlooking Bass Strait's wild waters, the all-day cafe and restaurant is serving a tight menu starring that produce from honeycomb, eggs and toast for breakfast, fish-of the day tacos, and platters of raw and cooked seafood, charcuterie and cheeses served alongside wines curated by Alice Chug of Hobart wine bar Ettie's and non-alcoholic cocktails by juice queen Chloe Proud.
To catch the end of cray season, hop a flight from Melbourne (or Launceston) now, or else look for the weekend-long takeovers by the likes of chefs David Moyle (Longsong, Franklin), Luke Burgess (ex-Garagistes) and ex-Agrarian Kitchen chef Ali Currey-Voumard.
Each chef will explore the island for the week prior, to devise menus. David Moyle is up first on May 10-12.
Gemima Cody was a guest of Flinders Wharf
Open Mon-Thu 8am-5pm, Fri, Sat 8am-late; Sun 8am-5pm
16 Esplanade, Whitemark, Flinders Island, theflinderswharf.com.au