A tour of Tasmania would not be complete without a day or two spent in the quaint seaside town of Swansea, situated in the heart of the east coast. Charming and distinct, Swansea is the perfect retreat to unwind, collect your thoughts and enjoy the unique delights of the town and the surrounding region.
The town sits on the north-west shore of shining waters of Great Oyster Bay and is right next door to the alluring beauties of the Freycinet National Park. Great Oyster Bay is perfect for adventurous water sports such as kayaking and canoeing, and is also popular amongst fishermen. The pink granite peaks of the Hazards mountain range are the perfect backdrop to this picturesque bay, completing paradise setting. Swansea Holiday Park Schouten Beach has views of both the park and the bay, and powered sites for the campervan.
Swansea boasts numerous heritage buildings and homes which give it an unmatchable atmosphere of olde world charm. The Swansea Heritage Centre was a school in the 1860s, but the building now holds local history exhibits and an antique billiard table. Among the more notable examples of 19th century architecture are the Gothic Restoration-style Anglican Church and the redbrick and stonework Morris' General Store, built circa 1838. Schouten House is a fine early-Victorian colonial home built in 1844, and is now in use as a hotel. A wander around the town will reward you with more examples of lovely Georgian era and Victorian era buildings.
The quirky and unusual Spiky Bridge is one of the popular amongst tourists. It is a convict bridge that was built in 1843 from fieldstones, and some of the stones were laid vertically to give the bridge its spiky appearance. There are many explanations as to why the bridge was built in such a unique manner, but the mystery only adds to its appeal.
The Swansea Barkmill Tavern, Bakery and Museum houses a steam-powered machinery plant dating back to the 1880s, and was originally used to process black wattle bark for tanning leather. The machinery still works and the museum has other exhibits on the history of the area.
Just 3kn drive from Swansea is Kate's Berry Farm, a café and gift shop. It sells homemade jams, wines, sauces, and ice cream, and the lovely café serves excellent afternoon teas. This opportunity should not be missed by the foodies.
The Freycinet National Park is just a short drive from Swansea, and the pleasant little town of Coles Bay sits right on the edge of the park. Coles Bay has the 9-hole Freycinet Golf Club, just don't be distracted by the views of the Swan River and Oyster Bay you can see from the greens. BIG4 Iluka on Freycinet sits opposite Muirs Beach at Coles Bay, and has powered sites for your campervan.
The Freycinet National Park provides plenty of opportunities for exploration, bushwalking and sightseeing. The world-renowned Wineglass Bay is situated here, and is a big drawcard to the region, with its perfect curve of pristine sand cupping the turquoise of the water, a wonderful place for romance.
The hardest part of a Tasmanian holiday is deciding what to do first. Swansea has so much on offer, the worst part about waking up in the morning will be picking the day's itinerary, and the worst part about going to bed will be wondering what you might be missing while asleep. Plan to stay a while.