Spiky Bridge, Attila Bicskos / Auscape International

Population 558

Perched on Great Oyster Bay, Swansea looks out to the Freycinet Peninsula. It is part of the Glamorgan/Spring Bay shire, the oldest rural municipality in the country, and many fine old buildings testify to its age. Today it is a popular holiday destination.

Visitor Information

Cnr Franklin and Noyes sts; (03) 6256 5072.


Nearby national parks

  • Freycinet National Park

    Freycinet National Park protects a whole peninsula of rugged mountains fringed with sea cliffs and picturesque white-sand beaches including...more

  • Douglas–Apsley National Park

    Situated between the Douglas and Apsley rivers, this national park spans rugged hills of superb dry sclerophyll forest. Its tranquil...more

  • Maria Island National Park

    With a west coast characterised by gentle sloping hills and an east coast of towering cliffs dropping dramatically to the sea, Maria Island...more

Nearby towns

  • Coles Bay

    Coles Bay is a little village of holiday homes and weekenders with a growing number of up-market accommodation including the ultra-luxurious...more

  • Bicheno

    Bicheno (pronounced 'bish-eno') has a chequered history. It was set up as a whaling and sealing centre in 1803, predating the official...more

  • Triabunna

    When Maria (pronounced 'mar-eye-ah') Island was a penal settlement, Triabunna (pronounced 'try-a-bunnah') was a garrison...more

In Town

Swansea Bark Mill and East Coast Museum The only restored black-wattle bark mill in Australia has machinery that still processes the bark for tanning leather. The museum has comprehensive displays on life in the 1820s, and the adjoining Wine and Wool Centre has wines from over 50 Tasmanian vineyards and textiles from around the state. A cafe and tavern complete the complex. Tasman Hwy; (03) 6257 8094.

Historical walk: self-guide tour takes in charming heritage buildings including Morris' General Store (1838), run by the Morris family for over 100 years, and Community Centre (c. 1860), featuring the unusually large slate billiard table made for the 1880 World Exhibition; brochure from visitor centre.

Waterloo Point: 1 km walking track leads to viewpoint to see short-tailed shearwaters at dusk and Aboriginal middens; Esplanade Rd.


Spiky Bridge Built by convicts in 1843, the bridge was pieced together without the aid of mortar or cement. The spikes – vertical fieldstones – prevented cattle from falling over the sides. The beach nearby has a picnic area and good rock-fishing. 7.5 km S.

Coswell Beach: good spot for viewing little penguins at dusk; 1 km S along coast from Waterloo Pt.

Duncombes Lookout: splendid views; 3 km S.

Mayfield Beach: safe swimming beach with walking track from camping area to Three Arch Bridge. There is also great rock- and beach-fishing; 14 km S.

Vineyards: Springvale, Coombend, Freycinet and Craigie Knowe vineyards all have cellar-door sales on weekends and holidays; 15 km N.

Lost and Meetus Falls: bushwalks past beautiful waterfalls in dry eucalypt forest. Sheltered picnic area is nearby; 50 km NW.

Fishing spots near town

Twin Lakes 71 km

I always thought the title of John Gierach’s entertaining book Where the Trout are all as Long as your Leg was a little farfetched, until I realised it related to a time when he was five years old. I am a little... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Freycinet Adventures 18 km

One of the best ways to experience the Freycinet environment is a morning paddle with Freycinet Adventures. You glide across Great Oyster Bay to a beautiful secluded beach, indulging in a scrumptious morning tea with... Find out more

Diving and snorkelling along Tasmania's east coast 33 km

Although diving might not be your first thought when you head south to Tasmania, the temperate waters usually provide much greater visibility than tropical waters, and offer a surprisingly rich and diverse range of flora... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

The Banc

At the centre of the east coast’s universe of gourmet produce, excellent wine and abundant seafood, The Banc’s husband-and-wife team John and Lee Bailey tend their quality restaurant with experienced care,... Find out more

Kate’s Berry Farm

Kate’s is an irresistibly sinful must-stop on any tour of the east coast, even if it’s nowhere near afternoon tea time. Off the highway, up on a little hill with views all the way to Freycinet, her bountiful... Find out more

The Ugly Duck Out

If you’re looking for a taste of fine Tasmanian produce served in a casual licensed eatery, the Ugly Duck Out is well worth a visit. There’s something here for all tastes, from every corner of the globe. The... Find out more

Kabuki by the Sea

Seated at a window table in this isolated cliff-top restaurant, you can look straight down to the waves crashing in below or across Great Oyster Bay to the horizon punctuated with the islands marking Freycinet... Find out more

Nearby eco-friendly places to eat

Purple Possum Wholefoods and Cafe 61 km

Purple Possum is in the great little town of St Marys, midway between St Helens and Bicheno. The cafe is wholly vegetarian, and you can take away a range of organic fruit and vegetables and locally grown supplies.... Find out more

Nearby breweries

Iron House Brewery 64 km

When White Sands Resort came on the market a few years ago it proved too tempting for Devonport businessman John White, who already runs several companies bearing his surname. Rebranded as White Sands Estate, the... Find out more

Campsites around town

Buckleys Rocks camping area 13 km

Named for the piles of black swan feathers that can sometimes be seen along its shoreline, Moulting Lagoon Game Reserve is an internationally recognised wetland. Camping here is restricted to a site at Buckleys Rocks.... Find out more

Mayfield Bay camping area 14 km

Space for seaside camping is tucked in beside the Tasman Hwy (A3) at the southern end of Mayfield Bay, 15 km south of Swansea. There is plenty of room for big rigs here, and with boat-launching access as well chances are... Find out more

Richardsons Beach (powered sites) camping area 18 km

There are 18 powered sites suitable for vans here, set on firm ground near the visitor centre and just metres from the beach. A day-use area nearby has a BBQ and picnic tables. If you are lucky enough to win a spot here... Find out more

Richardsons Beach (the Sand Dunes) camping area 19 km

In the dunes behind the southern end of Richardsons Beach are 25 tent sites (fewer in winter), allocated by ballot for the peak summer season each year. These are lovely sites with tracks to the beach and space for 1 car... Find out more

Honeymoon Bay camping area 19 km

This scenic spot is only open for the summer season and sites are allocated by ballot due to overwhelming demand. If you win a spot, you can pitch your tent above this deliciously enticing cove and enjoy one of... Find out more

Hazards Beach camping area (walk-in camping) 20 km

This lovely camping area is at the southern end of Hazards Beach, reached after an easy 2 hr walk across the isthmus from Wineglass Bay, or 2 hr from the carpark trailhead via the Hazards Beach Track and Lemana Lookout.... Find out more

Cooks Beach camping area (walk-in camping) 20 km

This camping area is 2 hr from Hazards Beach and a 5–6 hr walk to Wineglass Bay over Mt Graham. The side track to Bryans Beach (1 hr) is well worth the effort. There is tank water here, at Cooks Hut, which should... Find out more

Wineglass Bay camping area (walk-in camping) 20 km

There is a small camping area at this unforgettably beautiful bay, 1.5 hr from the carpark trailhead. Drinking water is not always available here.... Find out more

Whitewater Wall camping area (bush camping) 22 km

This camping area is a favourite with rockclimbers attracted to the area’s granite sea cliffs. Turn left from Cape Tourville Rd, 2 km before the lighthouse, but be sure to check out the amazing view from the... Find out more

Bryans Beach camping area (walk-in bush camping) 22 km

A 1 hr side trip from the main track, there is no water or toilet here at Bryans Beach.... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Bicheno East Coast Holiday Park 33 km

This is a good quality tourist park with a larger number of sites. Bookings are required in peak periods and a minimum-length stay applies over public holidays.... Find out more

Ross Caravan Park 49 km

Close to the centre of town, on the banks of the Macquarie River and adjoining historic buildings, this small, appealing park is one of the better parks in the midlands. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Amos House and 
Swansea Ocean Villas

This two-storey accommodation complex sits between the beach and the highway, right in the centre of Swansea. Chintz and floral decor in the motel rooms give Amos House an old-world ambience, while the better-equipped... Find out more

Meredith House

This gracious two-storey Georgian house was built in 1853 and had an early association with the family of the colonial artist Louisa Anne Meredith, whose husband owned the land and whose cousin ran a girls grammar school... Find out more

Swansea Cottages 
and Sherbourne Lodge

Built in heritage style, this little village of six cottages and a lodge offers a range of accommodation, from an attic spa suite to self-catering one- or two-storey family cabins. There is also a specially built cottage... Find out more

Avalon Coastal Retreat

This architect-designed glass-walled ‘modernist coastal dreaming home’ offers ultra luxury in a secluded cliff-top perch surrounded by sea and sky. Rare and beautiful indulgences including a Huon pine bath,... Find out more

Piermont Retreat

Getting back to nature is the main intention of the award-winning eco-friendly Piermont Retreat. On a remote part of the coast south of Swansea, the retreat has several magnificent stone and rammed-earth cottages spread... Find out more


At Kirwans Beach just south of Swansea, the idyllic rural location of Warrawee adds to the special charm of this place. With magnificent views over Georges Bay, this B&B offers accommodation in a three-bedroom 1890s... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Rainbow Retreat 63 km

The owners of this 30-hectare nature reserve at St Marys are wildlife carers who rehabilitate then release wildlife on the property, so there are plenty of their old friends wandering around, including wombats,... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Swansea park area 1 km

At Swansea

On the south side of town via the esplanade.

Cressy Beach park area 5 km

44km NE of Triabunna (R) or 5km SW of Swansea (L)

Secluded in scrub just off the highway on the foreshore.

Spikey Beach park area 7 km

42km NE of Triabunna (R) or 7km S of Swansea (L)

Just off the highway and on the foreshore.

Moulting Lagoon camping area 14 km

T/O 34km NE of Swansea (R) or 9km SW of Bicheno (L)

On the foreshore surrounded by scrub 22km south of the highway via Coles Bay Rd.

Mayfield Bay camping area 14 km

34km N of Triabunna (R) or 15km S of Swansea (L)

Just off the highway among trees on the foreshore with excellent coastal views.

Coles Bay Camp Area 18 km

T/O 34 km NE of Swansea (R) or 9 km SW of Bicheno (L)

Large camp area located 29 kilometres south of highway near the foreshore. Limited shade.

NOTE: Powered sites available.

Friendly Beach Camp Area 23 km

T/O 34 km NE of Swansea (R) or 9 km SW of Bicheno (L)

Small camp area located 14 kilometres south of the highway on the foreshore.

NOTE: Access road part unsealed.

Little Swanport rest area 26 km

21km N of Triabunna (L) or 28km S of Swansea (R)

On the north side of the bridge at the Swanport River.

Bicheno park area 33 km

At Bicheno

On the foreshore on the north side of town.

Denison Beach rest area 36 km

6km N of Bicheno (R) or 51km S of Scamander (L)

Very small secluded area surrounded by scrub near the foreshore and adjacent to the highway.

Ross park area 49 km

At Ross

At the historic bridge on the road into town.

Raspins Beach park area 50 km

1km N of Orford (R) or 7km S of Triabunna (L)

Adjacent to the highway overlooking the foreshore. Toilets located 200m south.

Campbell Town rest area 53 km

At Campbell Town

On the banks of the river on the south side of town.

Lagoons Beach camping area 56 km

T/O 29km N of Bicheno (R) or 28km S of Scamander (L)

Well off the highway with numerous secluded sites in the scrub between the lagoon and the beach.

St Peters Pass rest area 57 km

8km N of Oatlands (R) or 28km S of Ross (L)

Just off the highway among a few trees.

Little Beach camping area 59 km

T/O 32km N of Bicheno (R) or 25km S of Scamander (L)

Well off the highway and near the beach.

Oatlands rest area 61 km

At Oatlands

On the banks of Lake Dulverton, just off the main street.

Conara rest area 62 km

At Conara

Just off the highway at the turn-off into town.

Scamander Forest camping area 77 km

T/O at Beaumaris

Among trees on the banks of Trout Creek 11km west of Beaumaris via Skyline Dr.

Shelly Point Camp Area 78 km

4 km N of Scamander (R) or 14 km S of St Helens (L)

Small camp area located just off the highway in the scrub near the foreshore.

NOTE: Campervans only.

Paddys Island camping area 83 km

8km N of Scamander (R) or 10km S of St Helens (L)

Just off the highway surrounded by scrub.

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