Montague Island (Barranguba)

Top choice nature reserve in Narooma

Wildlife thrives on this small, pest-free island, 9km offshore from Narooma, where fur seals frolic and 90 bird species wheel overhead. Little penguins nest here from September to February, while, offshore, whales are most numerous from September to November.

Book ahead for tours by park rangers. Boat operators can combine the island visit with snorkelling and whale watching. Snorkelling and diving are made even more exciting by the presence of fur seals, whose underwater acrobatics are enchanting to watch.

Be warned: seals delight in speeding towards unsuspecting snorkellers before veering off course at the last moment (boats, meanwhile, keep a respectful distance from the animals).

All tours are number and weather dependent, and independent visits to the island aren't permitted. Once ashore, the island's whale, shark and turtle rocks, named by the Aboriginal community, are off-limits to most visitors.

Aboriginal Australians rowed here for millennia to conduct ceremonies initiating boys into manhood. Today the most striking landmark is the lighthouse (1881); 1m rocks were shipped from England for its construction (nowadays it's solar powered).

You can stay at the island's tastefully renovated lighthouse keepers’ cottages, but you'll need to book well ahead (at the very least seven days, to allow boat transfers to be arranged).


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