Unlocking the secrets of the Furneaux Islands

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Tasmania's many offshore islands provide ample opportunity for exploration and discovery. Some are extremely popular, such as Bruny, King and Flinders Islands. Others lie mostly undisturbed, protected and in remote locations that make them a little too far off the beaten track for most travellers.

But what do you know about the group of Furneaux Islands in particular?

This group consists of 52 islets in total, and the largest and most famous is Flinders Island. Flinders and the rest of the scattered islands are the last remnants of the land bridge that once connected mainland Australia to Tasmania, around 12,000 years ago.

Flinders is a popular tourist destination, renowned for its shipwrecks, diving sites, and vast and rugged beaches. Mount Strzelecki and Killiecrankie are undoubtable highlights, too. There are also significant sites of Aboriginal heritage, contributing to the island's historical charm.

Not to mention, Flinders Island also has a small permanent population, meaning that at the main centres such as Whitemark, Lady Barron and Killiecrankie, you can make yourself at home. You don't need to worry about getting stuck on a remote atoll here – there are shops, restaurants and accommodation options.

But what about the rest of the islands in the Furneaux team? The remaining ones are also bunched into categories, such as the Badger, Babel and Big Green Island groups.

Here's a little information about the various groups and what makes them so special.

The Badger Islands: Nature and heritage

The Badger Island Group is significant due to the conservation efforts surrounding it.

Badger Island, as well as Mount Chappell Island, are known as Indigenous Protected Areas (IPA) and are therefore managed by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. Current efforts on the island include removing invasive introduced plant life and preserving heritage sites.

On Badger Island, there is a focus on preserving the limestone and granite structures around the island, which are particularly spectacular.

Cattle, sheep, pademelons and wallabies roam the island, which has a few simple buildings.
While some of the islands are private property or cannot be accessed, you can visit others by sea or helicopter.

Big Green Island Group: Full of unique birdlife

The Big Green group is made up of beautiful havens such as Chalky Island, which is full of seabirds of all different species. Watch out for fairy terns in particular! They come under the watch of the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act, and find refuge on this island. The small, round-bodied bird is an absolute delight to see.

Other birds you might come across on these islands include the little penguin, sooty and pied oystercatcher, Caspian tern, silver and Pacific gull – and even more intriguing species.

The Babel Islands: Abundant wildlife

Babel Island is extremely unique thanks to its granite makeup, making it of considerable geological interest. Not only this, it's also home to a variety of extremely significant wildlife.

Wallabies and pademelons roam the land, as well as a number of reptiles like lizards and snakes – some are even native to the island.

Birds such as short-tailed shearwaters, crested terns and silver gulls also call Babel Island home.
Storehouse Island and Cat Island also make up this group of wildlife-rich islets. 

While you might not venture off mainland Tasmania or some of the more popular and well-known islands during your stay in Tasmania, it's worth keeping in mind what else is out there.

Remember, while some of these islands cannot be visited or are not easy to get to, others can be explored if you are truly keen to head off the beaten path and see what few others have.

Farsund Wreck on Flinders Island

Furneuax Island Map - Image Credit: Sydney Postcard Co

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