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A guide to: Swansea

If you are driving to Freycinet Resort from the south of the state, you will pass through the pretty seaside town of Swansea.

A popular stop on Tasmania’s Great Eastern Drive, this bustling town has many attractions that will appeal to visitors of all ages. Whether you’re in Swansea just for an hour or two to stretch your legs, or whether you’re spending a couple of nights here before making your way over to the Freycinet Peninsula, here are some of our recommendations for the best things to do in Swansea.

Eating and drinking in Swansea

For a small town, Swansea is lucky to have a great range of cafes and restaurants that will suit all tastes and budgets.

If you’re in town for breakfast, head to Artifkt or Cake and Honey. Artifakt is a gallery as well as a café, so you can enjoy browsing work by local artists while you wait for your meal to arrive.

For lunch, you might like to consider a short drive out of the town to one of the nearby wineries that offer menus showcasing local, seasonal produce. At Milton Vineyard, the restaurant overlooks a pretty lake, while at Boomer Creek you can enjoy your tasting plater with a view over Schouten Island and the Freycinet Peninsula.

Other great options include Devil’s Corner Vineyard, where you relax on the deck with a woodfired pizza from onsite restaurant Tombolo; Melshell Oysters where you can sample a wide range of fresh local seafood; or Kate’s Berry Farm – the ideal choice for family travellers who are keen to taste Kate’s delicious ice cream and berry pies! 

If you’re staying overnight in Swansea and searching for a good dinner spot, there are plenty of choices. The Swansea RSL and Bark Mill Tavern are more casual eateries, whereas The Branch is a wine and cocktail bar with an innovative menu offering Tasmanian tapas. The Waterloo is also a wonderful and uniquely Tasmanian restaurant, housed in a retro-style hotel. The menu changes daily and bookings are essential.

Walks around Swansea

It’s great fun to take a leisurely walk around Swansea’s town centre, checking out the shops, galleries and historic buildings – and if you enjoy learning about the area’s heritage you could also pop into the charming local history museum. You can pick up the Swansea Heritage Walk booklet from here for more information about self-guided walks through the town

However, the town’s real selling point is its unrivalled views across Great Oyster Bay to the Freycinet Peninsula, and those are best admired from one of the lovely local beaches.

Jubilee Beach is a safe, sheltered option for walking, swimming, and snorkelling – as well as fossicking for seashells and building sandcastles. At low tide, you can walk the length of the foreshore past Swansea Jetty and around Waterloo Point onto Schouten Beach where there are public toilets, a barbecue area and a playground.

You might also enjoy the loontitetermairrelehoiner circuit walk, named after the local band of Aboriginal people. The track passes through a shearwater breeding area, and the birds can be seen returning to their burrows at dusk in the summer months.

For a longer walk, make your way just north of Swansea to Nine Mile Beach, where you’ll find 13 kilometres of pristine sand, and very few people that you need to share it with. The western end of Nine Mile Beach borders Swansea, so it’s easy to access. At the eastern end of the beach, accessed from Dolphin Sands Road, is where the Swan River opens into Great Oyster Bay. The late afternoon views from here across to the Hazards are spectacular.

Tours and attractions in Swansea

If you’d like to extend your time in Swansea and explore some of the other attractions in the town, there are a few things to choose from.

Hop in the car and drive a few minutes south of Swansea to Spiky Bridge, which was built by convicts in 1843 without any mortar or cement – that’s why it has such a unique, spiky looking appearance. On the opposite side of the Tasman Highway, is the turnoff to Spiky Beach, a small but very pretty little beach where you can relax and enjoy the quiet. Keep an eye out for whales passing here during migration season

For active travellers, it can be great fun to book an experience with Swansea Cycle Tours. Your options include a vineyard tour that takes in three vineyards over the course of a day; an oyster farm tour; or a self-directed tour where you set your own itinerary.

Finally, book ahead to make sure you don’t miss out on a tour of the innovative saltworks at Little Swanport. Learn about Tasman Sea Salt’s unique production process, discover more about the importance of sea salt for our bodies and for flavouring, and sample some delicious bites of local produce – all perfectly seasoned.

– Ruth Dawkins ( commissioned by Freycinet Resort)