The seaside holiday town of Swansea is just under two hours from both Hobart and Launceston. Located along the Great Eastern Drive, the journey to Swansea takes in some of the most magnificent views on Tasmania’s East Coast. Across the bay from Swansea is Coles Bay, part of the spectacular Freycinet National Park with its many natural wonders including pristine Wineglass Bay.
The area was home to the Paredarerme Aboriginal language group before being settled in the 1820s. It’s one of Tasmania’s oldest towns and has a rich history. A Swansea tour takes visitors past wonderful old buildings, to a track boasting the longest name in Australia, a rather unique convict-built bridge, and some of the longest and most stunning beaches along the East Coast.
See the icons of the Apple Isle on this in-depth tour of Tasmania. Fly into Hobart for 2-nights and explore the Port Arthur Historic Site. Enjoy an epic Gordon River Cruise travelling to Strahan and Queenstown. Enjoy a train journey on the West Coast Wilderness Railway line before arriving into Tullah. Take in all the sights of Wine Glass Bay with an aerial view whilst exploring the Freycinet Peninsula before heading back to Hobart.
The East Coast of Tasmania is famous for its sparkling blue waters and smooth white beaches and sleepy little Swansea with a population of under a thousand has some of the best. What’s more, this sheltered cove has breathtaking views across the bay to the pink granite peaks of The Hazards mountains of Freycinet National Park.
Nine Mile Beach is a favourite spot for swimming and fishing, with views across Great Oyster Bay to Schouten Island, The Hazards, and the Freycinet Peninsula. Take in more fabulous views from Waterloo to Schouten Beach on Loontitetermairrelehoiner Track, named after the Aboriginal tribe who lived here before Europeans arrived.
Jubilee, Kelvedon, or Spiky Beaches are all perfect spots, or you can head to Great Oyster Bay and drop a line in. Maybe save yourself the trouble and relax at one of the many eateries in town serving the freshest seafood with Tassie’s famous East Coast wines.
Swansea was one of the first towns in Australia to be settled by Europeans. Visitors can take a self-guided Swansea tour through town, past beautiful examples of colonial architecture with galleries, gift shops and cafes along the way.
The East Coast Heritage Museum includes the local Historical Society and Swansea War Memorial and features some fascinating exhibits. Morris’ General Store in town is an impressive three-story Georgian stone brick building and The Bark Mill Tavern is a restored mill that was established in 1885 to mill bark used in the tanning process.
The most unusual structure at Swansea is Spiky Bridge. Originally named La Farelles Bridge, it’s easy to see how it gained its current name. Spiky Bridge was built in 1843 by convicts from the Rocky Hills probation station. The bridge parapets with their upright ‘spiky’ stones were said to be designed to prevent cattle from falling over the edge.
At the 2021 census, Swansea’s population was just shy of reaching one thousand, sitting at 997. Swansea has become a popular place to retire and has the largest percentage of over-65-year-olds in any town throughout Tasmania.
In 1789 the first European explorers named the area Oyster Bay. It was first settled in 1821 by three families from Glamorgan in Wales. Lieutenant George Meredith received a grant to farm in the area and moved in along with two tenant farmers.
They named the settlement Waterloo Point and set up a tannery and mill along the Meredith River and several whaling stations. Once established, they named the area Glamorgan Municipality, becoming the first rural municipality in Australia.
A Swansea tour or Swansea day trip takes visitors to all the most popular historic and natural attractions throughout the town and in the surrounding area.
There are a few different theories as to why there are spikes atop Spiky Bridge. The most common is that the spikes acted to protect cows from falling off the bridge. A more entertaining thought is that the convicts who built the bridge created the spikes as a bit of wilful revenge towards their superiors.
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