Known as Barungaba to Yuin Aboriginal people Montague Island, 9 kms offshore from Narooma is contained within the Montague Island Nature Reserve which is a protected nature reserve.
The island is home to the largest colony of Australian and New Zealand fur seals in New South Wales with numbers recorded in excess of 2,000. It is also home to thousands of penguins and is the third-largest colony of Little Penguins along the east coast of Australia. In addition to the birdlife excursions to the island offer great opportunity to see dolphins and whales.
There are charter boats that run snorkelling and scuba diving trips where you can be in the water with seals along with grey nurse, Port Jackson and wobbegong sharks
Humpback and southern right whales pass the island twice a year on their annual migration, firstly in June and July as they make their way north and then in September and October as they return south, often with calves. The waters around Montague are are teeming with fish that including tuna, marlin and kingfish making it a fishing mecca for anglers from all over the world.
From October huge numbers of shearwaters begin to arrive and nest on the island through the summer. The island tour cruises also provide access onto the island for an explore that includes encounters with nesting birds.
The island accommodates a full functioning lighthouse. The building of a "First Order Fixed and Flashing Light" was first decided 1873, with finance approved in 1877 and tenders called in October 1878. The lighthouse is one of many designed by James Barnet along the New South Wales coast.
In 1969 the light was electrified, with a diesel generator supplying the power. New lenses were added and soon the lighthouse became automatic without the need of a lighthouse keeper. The original lens is displayed in the Lighthouse Museum at Narooma.
National Parks have fully restored the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottages, built in 1881. They can now be rented for overnight visits by those who have always wondered what it might be like to sit on a rock in the middle of the sea under a lighthouse. National Parks and Wildlife Service runs day and overnight eco tours to the island where you can join a research project during your stay.
The Montague Island Lighthouse Experience offers the opportunity to book either the five bedroom Head Keeper's Quarters (maximum of 10 people) or the three bedroom Assistant Lighthouse Keepers Quarters (maximum eight people). Details HERE. The beautifully renovated 125 year old houses are fully self-contained. Rates include all boat transport, linen and towels, and a two and a half hour tour of the island.
Take a virtual tour of Montague Island Assistant Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage captured with Google Street View Trekker
The Narooma Lighthouse Museum, located at the Narooma Visitor Centre, houses the original light and optical apparatus from the Montague Island Light Station. This light station was the last in NSW to be manned, and is still the only remaining occupied light station on the NSW coast. The light and optical apparatus were constructed by Chance Brothers of Birmingham, suppliers of most lighthouse equipment for colonial governments at the time. The light was first lit on 6 October 1881 and was used for almost 105 years, with its final manual lighting occurring 14 September 1986. The light and optical apparatus were removed from Montague Island when the light was automated. A detailed interpretive display 'Mainland to Island' and a collection of items have been developed around the theme of this central piece.
Seals & Snorkelling
Many people come to Narooma to experience the marine life and snorkelling with the seals is a great way to do it. Snorkelling and scuba diving with seals is hugely popular and they can be dived with in sheltered bays at Montague Island all year round.
Share the shallow and clear water with playful seals. It is so much fun and definitely worth the trip out. Tours are offered on a regular basis. Visitors are provided the snorkelling gear, PADI instructor, a noodle for flotation if required, yummy snacks and drinks and the seals!
Montague Seals and snorkling adventures are suitable for all ages, sizes, and abilities. More Information HERE