Islander Testimonials

King Islanders share their thoughts about living on King Island....

  1. "A Life Changing Moment" - Pam McKay
  2. "Celebrating the King Island Long Table Festival" - Cynthia Daniel

"A Life Changing Moment" - Pam McKay

Noel and I first visited here late November 2009 after reading a King Island article in Australian Geographic magazine, and came for a rest for 6 quiet days.

By day 3, we were so impressed by what we had found, and were standing in the shadow of the Cape Wickham Lighthouse on the most northern tip of the island when I quite innocently declared that I could live here!  It was one of those life changing moments – a stunning spring day with the waves crashing onto the rocks below, a gentle breeze rippling through the green pastures, and a Real Estate agent’s sign at our feet.  I impulsively phoned him with a view to buying a small piece of ocean-view land on which we could put a holiday home.  An hour later we were looking at an isolated property on the North West coast with 32 acres of undulating hills and rocky foreshore, a  very interesting house  powered by sun and wind only, and fabulous views right up the coast.  As  they say in the classics, ‘the rest is history’.  We returned to SE Queensland, consulted family, sold our home and moved back to King Island in April 2010.

We had been so impressed by the friendliness of the locals, even the children said a cheerful G’day as we passed in the street.  We noticed the laid back pace of life, the beauty of the cattle pastures, abundant wildlife, the availability of vibrant arts and crafts, and of course the ever present/ever changing sea.  Now that we have lived here for almost 2 years, we know our first impressions were so correct and have found a multitude of reasons to enjoy our life here.  We both grew up in sugar cane country North Qld and now find many similarities to our childhood days.  Getting back to nature has been so good for the soul and has inspired me to become far more creative in my felting and art endeavours.  The colours of the rocks along  the rugged coastline, beautiful beaches – some long and uninterrupted and many small sandy shell laden coves – the pheasants and peacocks with their brilliant feathers and the huge  turkeys which roam free;  the wild westerlies (Roaring 40’s) are a force to be reckoned with but are also exciting. Because we are relatively isolated, the only sounds we  hear are the birds and roar of the sea.  All this gives us a sense of freedom we’ve not experienced in our city lives.  We are still overcome by the kindness and genuine friendliness of the islanders, particularly the generosity whenever a hand is needed, and now feel part of the King Island family.  We drive half an hour to the post office – collecting the mail has never been so interesting!   It can take absolute hours with all manner of distractions and people to catch up with. The colourful Boat House ( the restaurant with no food) overlooking the harbour is quite quirky, BYO food and drink, a favourite meeting place.

We’ve involved ourselves in many different activities and organisations – arts and crafts at the Cultural Centre  and Portside Links Gallery, the Men’s Shed, Gardening Club, Field Naturalists, dinner clubs, felting group, exercise group; the possibilities of ‘things to do’ are endless. Life can be very social, though the change from ‘Australia’ life to King Island time is a welcome one, life has slowed down and we enjoy the simple pleasures of life like fishing, beach combing and gardening.  We’ve encountered many challenges also (apparently this is character building), and many things have been an exercise in patience.

We plan a long and full life here and hope to see the population grow a little and develop new industries. We hope to see new residents of all nationalities arrive and be assimilated and accepted as we were.  Undoubtedly tourism will expand, though we don’t want to alter the unique culture we have here and be overloaded.  We appreciate our peaceful existence, the bounty of local food which is highlighted early each year when the island celebrates ‘The Long Table’ , a festive week-end of food gathering, preparation and gourmandising by over 100 people from near and far.  Farm tours are also included in the programme.  We can’t imagine living elsewhere, it’s the home we’ve been looking for.


"Celebrating the King Island Long Table Festival" - Cynthia Daniel, founding member King Island Long Table Festival

King Island is famous for its cheese and beef; we also have amazing seafood and locally grown fruit and vegetables as well as abundant game foods.

When Paul and I planned our wedding in 2003, we invited friends and family to the Island. They came from interstate and overseas and many didn’t know each other. Helping us prepare our wedding, our visiting guests along with local friends, gathered local ingredients and cooked the wedding dinner together. During this time of gathering and cooking, strangers became friends and bonds were forged.

We were reminiscing with Melbourne chef Lucinda Macdougal in 2008, and discussing how we could share the same experience with others. It was then that the seed of the first Long Table Festival was planted.

Led by Lucinda, the first Festival was held in 2009 with a small group of family and friends. We gathered the foods, cooked together and then shared a long lazy lunch on Sunday. Our Festival offers activities not usually available to tourists, and is a rare opportunity to get a "behind the scenes" look at life on King Island.

We hope you will join us this year and enjoy the wonderful friendship, hospitality and food King Island has to offer.