Last year for Mr ATMT’s ‘special’ birthday celebration we had organised to spend the weekend in Melbourne with all the family sharing an apartment, going out to dinner with a close-knit group of friends and then heading off on a hot air balloon ride over Melbourne at dawn. Well the apartment and dinner went well, but the balloon ride was cancelled due to being too windy. A voucher was issued that could be used within 15 months on any number of activities. Because we had done the AMAZING balloon ride in Turkey, we didn’t think one over Melbourne would have anywhere near the WOW factor so he chose flying to King Island in a DC3, having lunch and doing a mini explore of the area around Currie in the South West section of the island. King Island is a small island located in Bass Strait about halfway between Victoria and Tasmania’s main island. We headed to Essendon Airport which is about a 2 hour drive but being Sunday morning it didn’t quite take that long. Here is our transport for the day. DC3 “Gooney Bird” a beautiful plane that first flew in 1935.
The interior complete with vinyl quilting and ashtrays in the seats.King Island is renowned for its high quality dairy products, fresh seafood, green pasture where cattle graze and fatten into quality beef and more recently a thriving kelp forestry/harvesting industry. Apologies for the following photos. It never works well taking shots through bus/plane/train/car windows, the weather was awful and I am struggling with a terrible ‘Man Flu”. Wonder I got out of bed to make the trip really! Sometimes though, you just get carried away with the moment and keep snapping away regardless and expect everyone else will have the same appreciation for your enthusiasm. Like here, where along with 3/4 of the wing you get a glimpse of Melbourne from about 1500 feet.Or here, where we are heading towards Port Philip Bay, the safe shipping harbour for freight entering Melbourne from overseas and where Melbournians spend many recreational hours at the safe beaches along the shoreline. Or here where we have passed over “the Heads” and entered Bass Strait territory.At this point we hit quite a bit of cloud and didn’t have much to view until we landed at King Island.
One of the more recent industries to develop on KI is kelp harvesting. Apparently kelp is used in the food, textile and agricultural sectors. I don’t know a lot about this industry but the appeal to me is the sustainable and organic concept. I will be doing some reading to find out a bit more. This is a shot of some kelp that has been hauled from the beach drying in readiness to be put into a ‘chipper’ to make little kelp bits that are exported to wherever they need to go. An example of some of the rugged beach near Currie. with some pretty little coastal plants holding onto the banks. King Island is renowned for its lobster, oyster and prawn quality. Some lobster pots near the harbour. This cute little boat house is known as ‘The Restaurant with no food’. Apparently it is available for parties, community use and anything else that is self-catered for. It sits beautifully overlooking the harbour. After lunch, we headed off to the the King Island Cheesery and I was pleasantly surprised that they sold the cheeses at about half the cost of what we pay retail. So often you go to a direct outlet and it is so expensive it doesn’t warrant the hassle of carrying it, but that was not the case here. You may wonder why there is no detail about the lunch that to us was to be an integral part of this day. Well in honesty it was awful. I suspect there may have been something going on in the background that led to things like canned chicken soup, tinned pudding, packet custard, store bought mayo and 1000 island dressing and gravox on the roast beef. I had only heard good things and seen good reviews about the restaurant so I’m going to be gracious and not do any naming and shaming here. We did however have a lovely bottle of Pipers 9th Island Sauvignon Blanc and the oysters and prawns were fresh and lovely.
On our flight home, Mr ATMT paid a bit extra to sit in the ‘jump’ seat for our landing back at Essendon airport.
He got a birds eye view of the approach over the city and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.We had a lovely day, the old DC3 is beautiful and I love the sound of the thump, thump, thump, throbbing of the engines. I found it extremely comfortable and would highly recommend it in a heart beat.
If however, you are hoping for a quality gastronomical experience, do some research first. Very disappointed. Once I have communicated with the organisers I will decide whether or not to comment on the establishment.