Swan IslandIf you think Cape Portland is remote, Swan Island is even more so. Off Cape Portland opposite Musselroe Ray and part of the Waterhouse Island Group, Swan Island is a 239-hectare (590-acre) granite base island with deserted pristine beaches and clear blue waters. If you like to swim, snorkel, fish, walk, watch seabirds and visit penguin and shearwater rookeries away from the rest of the world, this is the place to do it. The island has a working lighthouse built in 1845 that creates a perfect backdrop from the original lighthouse keeper s houses, which provide limited accommodation.
Getting to the Island is an experience in itself, flying via aprivately chartered scenic flight through Flinders Island Aviation. The 20 minute flight operates out of Bridport.
Seal hunting took place here from at least 1805 when a sealing party of nine men were put ashore from the British whaler Ceres. Swan Island has previously been subject to grazing by livestock. Several shipwrecks have been recorded here of vessels passing through Banks Strait; Brenda (1832), Mystery (1850), Union (1852).
Swan Island forms part of the Cape Portland Important Bird Area. Recorded breeding seabird and wader species are little penguin, short-tailed shearwater, Pacific gull, silver gull, sooty oystercatcher, pied oystercatcher, hooded plover, Caspian tern and crested tern. Cape Barren geese also nest on the island. Reptiles present include the metallic skink, White's skink, Bougainville's skink and tiger snake. European rabbits and house mice are present.
Part of the island is privately owned and this section contains an automated lighthouse, several houses and an airstrip. The accommodation offers a unique experience for those seeking the thrill of a totally secluded island where you'll be surrounded by the wildlife, wind and waves, and rugged Tasmanian wilderness. The lodgings are rustic, but the highlight is the spectacular island, including private secluded beaches to enjoy.
The island is a perfect spot for photographers, lighthouse enthusiasts, bush walkers and nature lovers, families and anyone seeking for a secluded holiday. The coastal walk around the island is nothing but spectacular and there are many private secluded beaches to experience along the way.
Built in 1845, the light from tower was the first to be established in Bass Strait being completed before that of Goose Island which had been started earlier. It is now the oldest tower under Federal control, the previous being the oldest being Cape Bruny, though built seven years earlier, has been decommissioned.
The lighthouse is a round masonry tower built with convict labour. Originally painted white with a red lantern room, it is now completely white. The staircase is unique in that it is suspended off the central column where all other Tasmanian Lighthouse staircases are suspended off the tower wall.
Cape Portland is the north eastern tip of Tasmania. Pointing west across Ringarooma Bay, it was named after the Duke of Portland by Matthew Flinders during his 1798 circumnavigation of the island in the sloop Norfolk with George Bass. It is an important bird breeding area for Cape Barren Goose, Chestnut Teal and the threatened Hooded Plover. There is a small fishing community at Cape Portland.
The clean, white sands of Musselroe Bay on the east side of Cape Portland, is popular spot for beach fishing and swimming. Situated within Mount William National Park, it is also known as a place to experience close encounters with Forester kangaroos and other Tasmanian wildlife in their natural environment.