Look at a map of Tasmania and you might see a beast's face emerging from the Bass Strait with two horns still partially submerged. King Island is the Western horn. It's remote, incredibly beautiful and it sits right in the midst of the Roaring Forties which brings it the freshest air on earth.
Currie Harbour plays host to the Festival of King Island every year. With the sparkling waters of the harbour in the background, live bands blast the latest folk, blues and rock. And while you won't catch a world-famous act at the festival, you will discover plenty of local artists that you'll add to your musical rotation.
It's an effort to get to King Island so the crowd is committed. You will meet heaps of friendly people from Tasmania and the mainland. The festival is quite small and attracts those that also love the outdoors. You won't be hampered by queues and you're likely to make some friends who want to explore lighthouses, go beachcombing, surfing or swimming.
A laid-back and older crowd indulges in the Festival of King Island. Some of Australia's best food items, from cheese to beef to seafood, are sold at the event. It's complete indulgence for those who like a slow-paced, authentically delicious and outdoorsy lifestyle.
The Festival of King Island takes place every summer in January over a weekend -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's occasionally scheduled for Australia Day.
The festival is located at Currie Harbour on King Island. You've got two choices for getting there -- plane or boat. The only airline that supports the festival is Sharp Airlines departing from Hobart, Launceston and Wynyard. The airline also flies from Mainland Melbourne's Essendon Airport. Flights on other airlines originate from Tullamarine and Moorabin airports on the mainland.
You can also hop aboard a private yacht to Currie Harbour. Larger vessels can port at the all-weather Grassy Harbour.
There are plenty of vendors offering up some of Australia's best cheeses, beef and seafood dishes. You also can't go wrong with a selection of Tasmania's cool climate wines from the Tamar River Valley, and a dry cider from the Apple Isle goes down crisp on a summer's day.
Be prepared for outdoor activities during your visit. King Island features great snorkelling, diving and beachcombing. The festival also offers up some cheeky fun in a homemade raft race, plastic sheet waterslide and pie eating contest. And feel free to jump right into the harbour for a swim at the festival grounds. You can also jump off the jetty.
The closure of a beef factory near Currie lost the island about 100 jobs. To mitigate the negative effects to the economy, Troy Smith, a local dairy farmer, introduced a music festival. It started small but is now making a positive economic impact for the island. But the festival has not forgotten its roots. It is casual, laid back, friendly and takes place in one of the most beautiful harbours in all of Australia. In fact, it's so down home that artists are hosted in local's houses.
Single-day and multi-day tickets range between $15-$55. They can be bought online or in-person at the event. But, if you choose to buy at the event, some tickets may no longer be available.