Raymond Island is a one of a kind part of the world…an island heaven. An asylum inside a wild noncaptive environment where Australia’s famous untamed life live unreservedly.
This tiny island may be small, but it makes a big impact on the region of Victoria where it can be found. At just 6 km long and 2 km wide, Raymond Island is a permanent home to over 500 residents, though the summer season brings a larger population of holiday goers and tourists to the island’s shore.
Raymond Island was originally settled by a clan of the Gunaikurnai people that controlled land throughout the southern side of Lake Victoria. As a tribe, the Gunaikuranai were remarkable self sufficient because they could rely on the bounty of Raymond Island to feed them. Birds eggs were an especially valuable commodity, as swan eggs were used for bartering with neighbors.
Over time, the Guanikurnai lost sovereignty of the island, and by the 1880s, the island was owned by several prominent Australian landowners. A small township was established later in the century, and Raymond Island became home to a small village.
The economy of the island through the 1900s was mainly focused on the ocean and relied on the trade of fish and fishing products. Not until the end of World War II did it begin to become a summer retreat, though the popularity of the island surged in the decades after.
Today, Raymond island is a tranquil space for visitors and residents alike. The ferry, established in 1889, is an integral part of island life and to this day remains the only way to get to the island. Though there has been talk in recent years of building a bridge across the land, most long term residents prefer that their piece of paradise remain somewhat isolated from the outside world.
If you don’t bring a bike, you can easily rent a fun surrey bike from Ride the Koalas, a bike company on the island that is happy to rent out two and four seater bikes as well as lead your group on private trips around the Island.