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King Island Day Tour with Air Nostalgia

Home > Melbourne > Adventure | Day Trips | Escape the City | Restaurants
by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published March 8th 2019
Dine like a King on King Island
The chance of a flight in a Douglas DC-3 doesn't happen every day, but Air Nostalgia, operating out of Essendon Aerodrome makes it happen on a regular basis. Using their DC-3, VH-TMQ, Air Nostalgia make regular Sunday day trips to King Island in Bass Strait.

Our aerial chariot, a 1945 vintage Douglas DC-3.

The details of the day is best described by their advertisement recently published on the back page of Flightpath magazine. It reads: "King Island Gourmet Tour."

"Includes return flights from Melbourne to King Island, Boomerang by the Sea, 3 course seafood and roast beef buffet lunch with a house drink and King Island Cheese platter. Bus tour and visit to the King Island Cheese factory."

Every word of their ad was true and then some.

The assembled passengers congregated in the comfortable passenger lounge of hangar 81, on Bristol Street at Essendon Airport.

My first observation was that most of the passengers were older than the 70-year-old aircraft we were about to depart in.

When the flight crew arrived, my wife remarked that the average age of the people on board wasn't going to be reduced by much.

Just like it was 50 years ago, passengers walking to their waiting aircraft on the tarmac.

Boarding aircraft
Passengers eagerly boarding the DC-3. No air-stairs here.

Our flight crew were both ex TAA and Australian Airlines captains.

On the flight deck
Our flight crew get the best view.

Taking off on Essendon's runway 35 a reasonable low level was maintained until we passed over Port Phillip Heads.

Port Phillip Heads
Passing over Port Phillip Heads.

We then made a gentle climb (is there any other in a DC-3) to around 5000 feet.

Looking towards the cockpit from the rear of the 28 seat configuration.

Approaching King Island about an hour later a gradual descent was made over the island to land gently at Currie, on King Island's only aerodrome.

Disembarking at Currie Aerodrome. Temperature at Essendon 34 degrees. Temperature at Currie 18 degrees and windy, a welcome change.

Our tour bus awaited outside the modern terminal. As islands go, King Island isn't that big, so I was worried about the bus driver's navigation skills when he handed out a map of King Island to each passenger.

Very relieved to find it was a tourist's guide.

Lunch lived up to expectations. Moroccan pumpkin soup, oysters, mussels, smoked salmon, huge prawns and the most tender roast beef I have ever tasted. Salads and vegetables complemented the feast. A choice of several deserts followed by a cheese platter, tea and coffee.

Truly a gourmet buffet. I was so anxious to tuck in, I forgot to take any photos of the feast.

After an hour and a half of culinary delights was a two-hour bus tour around Currie.

Currie lighthouse, one of the sights we saw.

A visit to the kelp factory and onto to the King Island cheese factory, where a tasting of over ten different cheeses was available.

Harvested kelp on drying racks.

The cheese shop did a brisk trade, with the cheeses costing a lot less than the same product on the mainland.

A short bus trip saw us back at the airport for another comfortable flight home at 5000 feet and a leisurely 134 knots.

The King Island flights are so popular that they are booked out until May 2019.

Look up their website or call them at 9379 6999 for details of future flights.

The cost is all inclusive at $489.
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Phone: 9379 6999
Cost: $489.
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We lost our money. Theyve gone into liquidation
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