- Cape Wickham, King Island, Tasmania, 7256, Australia
- 61 3 6463 1200
Oliver explained what he saw in the site this way: “After seeing more than 1500 golf courses worldwide, I stumbled upon Cape Wickham on King Island and instantly recognized it to be the most beautiful golf site anywhere on earth. The property is unique for a number of reasons; the rugged cliffs, the jagged, irregular coastline, the constant and uninterrupted Bass Strait views, the towering dunes, the beach and north-facing Victoria Cove and the 150-foot stone Cape Wickham lighthouse. “Beyond those dramatic physical features, are a gloriously walkable routing and an unmistakable aura that you feel as you traverse the various sections of the course.”
With a population of approximately 1600 residents, King Island is not a major hub and you’ll be flying in on a regional airline or charter as there are no ferry services – my advice is, the larger the plane, the better. However, golfers are making the journey to Cape Wickham to enjoy a course that has captured the attention of the golfing world. After opening in 2016, Golf Digest immediately ranked the links No. 24 in its list of World’s 100 Greatest Courses – 2016-2017 and Australian Golf Digest ranked it No. 3 in the country.
The first five holes work across Cape Farewell headland (watch out for seals on the rocks near the hole 2 green), holes 6 to 13 incorporate the dune land to the south of the cape, and the final five holes head towards the Lighthouse and Victoria Cove.
With eight holes running next to the ocean, two greens and three tees by the shoreline and a dramatic 18th that bends around the beach at Victoria Cove that is in play, I can almost taste the salt from the sea spray.
Golf Digest’s Ron Whitten described the breath-taking layout at Cape Wickham this way:
“Its routing is heart-pounding, starting along rocks and crashing surf, moving inland but not out of the wind, returning to ocean edge at the downhill 10th, pitch-shot 11th and drivable par-4 12th, then wandering into dunes before a crescendo closing hole curving along Victoria Cove Beach, which is in play at low tides.”
The challenges: Undulating fairways, wild-looking bunkers, forced carries over valleys and ridges as well as large greens make this a tough course. A howling wind from the south-west will make it truly challenging. A wind jacket is recommended.
When to play: The course is open all year, but it gets coldest between June and September and the Roaring Forties blow strongest between October and December if you are after a true golfing test.
Yardage: 6725 yards, 6149 meters
Best hole: The par-4 eighteenth is a beauty. The fairway follows the curve of Victoria Cove Beach and players are invited to cut the dogleg from the tee with the beach being in bounds. It might be the world’s longest bunker. It’s then about landing the ball on a thin green.
The designer says: “Unique is thrown around too liberally in the golf world, but it’s a more than apt description of this place.”
– Darius Oliver
The resort experience:
Cape Wickham’s golf course is the drawcard here with the resort itself being in its infancy. This destination is purely for golfing parties and individuals that want to play a unique and brilliant course. There are 16 rooms that take advantage of the location with balconies that overlook Cape Wickham Lighthouse, Victoria Cove Beach or the golf course. There are daily flights to King Island from Melbourne airports as well as Launceston and Burnie in Tasmania. Once there, you can book a bus transfer or hire a car from the airport for the 30-minute drive to Cape Wickham.
Dine and wine:
Continental breakfast is included in your room but you can also go to the Clubhouse restaurant for something hot. The lunch menu includes burgers, steak sandwiches, Aussie meat pies and crayfish risotto. I’ll be choosing a King Island eye fillet or Atlantic salmon for dinner there. King Island boasts of some highly-sort-after produce – including lobster, cheeses, beef, oysters and vegetables – that all can find their way onto restaurant menus.
The lodging is comfortable but modest. Each air-conditioned room (34 square meters, 366 square feet) features an en-suite bathroom, two single beds, a fridge, LCD TV and Wi-Fi. Ceiling-to-floor windows take advantage of some beautiful views.
The trade winds can produce some good swells out of Bass Strait so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are some great surf breaks on the quiet beaches, including Victoria Cove. The most famous surf spot here is Martha Livinia Beach, which is less than 30 minutes away. King Island also offers anglers some great fishing, either from the shore or on charter boats, where you can hook a snapper, barracoota, or salmon.