If you live in the unique state of NSW, or are planning a visit, Montague Island is a must-see. The Nature Reserve is the jewel in the crown, with Narooma being the nearest mainland town, which caters for the tourist and is the port to choose when visiting the island.
Swimming with Fur Seals
One of the main attractions is definitely Narooma seal swimming, which puts you in the water with experienced guides and with their instruction, you can safely interact with these amazing animals. If you have your own snorkelling gear, it is recommended you bring that along, although the equipment is available from the tour operator if need be. The coral is amazing and there is a diverse range of marine creatures; the best time to swim with seals is from the end of November through to April, which doesn’t clash with the whale watching season, which runs from May to November.
In order to maintain an unspoiled environment, there are lots of do’s and don’ts, which your guide will explain; there is a limit to the number of people that can be in water at any given time and you should never touch the coral. Of course, you can take your underwater camera and get some stunning footage, as you will likely be the centre of attraction.
There is a large colony of Little Penguins on Montague Island and they are protected by the reserve and you can watch the birds from special piers along the rocks. Their numbers have risen significantly and are now estimated at 13-15,000, which is remarkable. Females typically lay two eggs and the majority make it to adulthood, as they have no land predators; the best way to view the colony is by boat and a guide will give you information.
May to November is the annual Humpback Whale migration, when the whales head north to the warm waters off Queensland, where the females give birth, then they return to their feeding grounds in the cold Antarctic waters along with their calves and they like to stay close to the shore, which is great for whale watching. Once on the operator’s website, you can find out what you need to do, in terms of preparation and you can book your spot on the boat.
Montague Island is host to a diverse range of flora and fauna and if you are a lover of nature, you will love this amazing Natural Reserve that is only 10km from the mainland.