Alamy

French Island

Exposed, windswept and isolated, French Island is two-thirds national park and it retains a real sense of tranquillity – you can only get here by passenger ferry, so it’s virtually traffic-free. Once a seasonal hunting ground for the Boonwurrung, its modern-day attractions are bushwalking and cycling, taking in wetlands, checking out one of Australia’s largest koala colonies and observing a huge variety of birds and wild orchids. The French Island Community Association website (www.frenchislandinfo.com) has information about the island and its inhabitants today.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout French Island.