Lunch at King Island

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.

DC3 Gooney BirdThe interior complete with vinyl quilting and ashtrays in the seats.Inside the DC3King 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.DC3 over MelbourneOr 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. IMG_9165 Or here where we have passed over “the Heads” and entered Bass Strait territory.Out the headsAt 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.Kelp harvest curing An example of some of the rugged beach near Currie.Currie Coast King Island with some pretty little coastal plants holding onto the banks.IMG_9235 King Island is renowned for its lobster, oyster and prawn quality. Some lobster pots near the harbour.Lobster pots 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.Restaurant without food 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. King Island Cheese selection 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.

IMG_0742He got a birds eye view of the approach over the city and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.CockpitWe 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.

13 Replies to “Lunch at King Island”

  1. Sounds like a wonderful day away in spite of the lunch. I think you were generous in saying that something may have been going on in the background. I always check online reviews, but sometimes a restaurant just has a bad day, so not everyone’s experience ends up worth five stars. The cheese seems to have made up for it. Great haul!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a day and what a flight! Love that retro plane. Great shots of both Melbourne and King Island and Mr ATMT up front like an excited kid… wonderful. Shame about the restaurant, the icing on the cake for a foody like you. Did you have a wee grumble at the time? Fresh oysters and prawns sounds rather good- they should have come clean, if having a bad day in the kitchen, and just offered you piles of fresh seafood and slabs of KI cheese.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OK for me with the seafood but Mr ATMT has an allergy. I didn’t grumble too loudly as I get into trouble for being too fussy! The cheese they served was also past its best so I told the people at the KI cheesery that there produce wasn’t being showcased in its brightest. Loved the flight! 🙂


  3. We used to see that DC3 airborne from time to down when we had a place on the SW coast, it had quite a distinctive sound. Shame about lunch, but it sounds a great experience none the less. Glad that you were able to buy cheese for a reasonable price, it’s a great product, mmmm brie

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The KI cheesery would have mollified me… slightly. And I had no idea it could be frozen… there is no hope for my cheese addiction. What’s important is that Mr ATMT enjoyed his experience. But I’ll be interested to see how the restaurant responds to you. I read and write Tripadvisor reviews as I think it’s a -mostly- useful crowd sourced reference.


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