Until recent times French Island was one of Victoria’s most remote and least known destinations, although there were attempts in the 1960s to establish Australia’s first nuclear power plant on the island.
The MacLeod Prison Farm, established in 1916 and closed in 1975, now operates as a tourist venue. With a permanent population of 68 (many of whom are descendants of original 1850s pastoralists and later operators of the chicory kilns), the 24km island is most famous for its colony of prolifically breeding koalas. The vegetation and wildlife give the island a rare ecological status.
Sometimes described as the ‘island outback’, French Island has no local government, no sealed roads, no piped water, no rates and generates its own electricity.
You can get to French Island by passenger ferry or light aircraft. The ferry cannot take cars, but there is ample parking at Stony Point Caravan Park for your vehicle. The ferry leaves from Stony Point 2-3 times per day, please visit www.interislandferries.com.au for the current timetable.