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A guide to Montague Island

Montague Island, NaroomaCREDIT: Destination NSW

Montague Island Adventures tour boat along the shores of Montague Island Nature Reserve, Narooma.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

A guide to
Montague Island

Montague Island, Narooma CREDIT: Destination NSW

Montague Island Adventures tour boat along the shores of Montague Island Nature Reserve, Narooma.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Hashtags #lovensw #newsouthwales

Known for its unique wildlife encounters and fascinating maritime and Aboriginal history, Montague Island is a small island crowned by a heritage-listed lighthouse that rises up over a lush landscape dotted with boulders. One of Australia’s top ecotourism destinations, the protected nature reserve is also one of few places in the world where you can observe whales, fur seals, little penguins and more than 90 bird species in the one spot. Here’s how to make the most of your experience.

How to get to Montague Island 

Montague Island (or Baranguba to the local Yuin Aboriginal people, the region’s Traditional Owners) is located 9km off the picturesque coastal town of Narooma on the far South Coast of NSW. Narooma is approximately four hours’ drive south of Sydney, or three hours from Canberra. You can also fly from Sydney to Moruya Airport and rent a car for the 45-minute drive south to Narooma. The island is a 20-minute boat ride from Narooma’s marina (look out for dolphins, which are known to play around the boats en route). Note: the island is only accessible via authorised commercial vessel tour operators.  

Swim with seals 

Montague Island is home to hundreds of Australian and New Zealand fur seals, and one of the most memorable ways to observe these playful creatures is to join them in the water on a snorkelling or scuba diving tour. There are plenty of different tours to choose from, with some operators, including Montague Island Adventures, offering combined snorkelling and island tours. Island Charters pairs seal snorkelling with a gourmet lunch on its Meal with a Seal cruise. And with Narooma Charters, you can combine a fishing carter with scuba diving with seals. Underwater Safaris specialises in marine-based tours, including snorkelling and scuba diving with seals, while Island Charters Narooma offers mainland-based snorkelling and diving tours. You can also indulge in whale watching while out on the water, with peak whale season occurring from September to November.  

Montague Island Highlight Selects IMAGE ATTRIBUTION

Enjoy unique wildlife encounters on Montague Island.

Montague Island Highlight Selects IMAGE ATTRIBUTION

Enjoy unique wildlife encounters on Montague Island.

Montague Island, Narooma CREDIT: Destination NSW

Spot dolphins on the boat trip to Montague Island.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Montague Island, Narooma CREDIT: Destination NSW

Spot dolphins on the boat trip to Montague Island.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Montague Island, near Narooma CREDIT: Destination NSW

Snorkel with Montague Island’s fur seals.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Montague Island, near Narooma CREDIT: Destination NSW

Snorkel with Montague Island’s fur seals.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Tour the island 

Officially discovered by the master of the convict ship Surprise two decades after it was spotted by Captain Cook, Montague Island, which was named after British statesman George Montagu-Dunk, Earl of Halifax, has a rich colonial history. For centuries before that, however, the local Yuin Aboriginal people had used the island as a men’s teaching place. You’ll learn more about both aspects of its history on a guided tour of the island, which are led by knowledgeable NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service rangers who work closely with the commercial operators who bring you to the island; a range of different tour packages are available.  

Montague Island is also home to the state’s largest colony of little penguins, which you can visit on island tours from September to January. Birdwatchers can also observe three species of shearwaters, as well as birds of prey such as sea eagles and whistling kites, among the 90 bird species that visit the island throughout the year. 

Stay in a lighthouse keeper’s cottage 

Montague Island’s still-active granite lighthouse is a significant historical landmark, having remained largely unchanged since its construction was completed in 1881. Immerse yourself in its storied history with an overnight stay in one of the island’s two lovingly restored lighthouse keeper’s cottages. The Montague Island Head Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage, with five bedrooms, or the three-bedroom Montague Island Assistant Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage, both command superb ocean views. Boat transport and a two-and-a-half-hour tour of the island are included in the tariff.  

Each cottage has a well-equipped kitchen and barbecue facilities. While some parts of the island are off-limits to visitors for wildlife conservation and cultural reasons, stay overnight at one of the cottages and you’re welcome to tackle the Montague Island walking track, a steep, paved 1.5km circuit, or simply enjoy unwinding on the verandah of your cottage, watching humpback whales toss themselves out of the waves as fur seals doze on the rocky shoreline.  

When to go 

Montague Island tours run year-round, with each season offering a unique wildlife experience. The fur seal colony reaches its peak in mid-spring, with penguins and whales arriving in September. Huge numbers of shearwaters begin to arrive in October and nest on the island throughout the summer months, with the warmer weather being the most comfortable for snorkelling tours.   

Montague Island, Narooma CREDIT: Destination NSW

Spot the island’s prolific birdlife.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Montague Island, Narooma CREDIT: Destination NSW

Spot the island’s prolific birdlife.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Montague Island, Narooma CREDIT: Destination NSW

Montague Island lighthouse keeper’s cottage.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

Montague Island, Narooma CREDIT: Destination NSW

Montague Island lighthouse keeper’s cottage.

#lovensw #newsouthwales

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