With its sheltered bays, deep drop-offs and close proximity to the continental shelf, the Tasman Peninsula offers an abundance of accessible marine wildlife encounters for visitors to the area. The nutrient rich waters host a wide variety of life from the tiniest of planktons to the migrating whales which can be encountered by easy access to the tidal rock pools, land-based viewing from beaches and cliff tops to boat trips, snorkelling and diving opportunities and even pelagic trips to the continental shelf. Tasmania is home to a large number of endemic species including the tiny live-bearing sea-stars found in the rock pools at the Tessellated Pavements.
Humpback and southern right whales migrate past the coast each year with October and November being the best time for sightings as the whales head south in search of food following the breeding season. Good viewing areas from land include the Fossil Island lookout and the Tasman’s Arch to Waterfall Bay track at Eaglehawk Neck. Dolphins are common in the bays including Pirates Bay, Norfolk Bay and White Beach.
Every year, the food-rich waters attract species such as the Short-tailed Shearwater, Buller’s Albatross, Fairy prions and Common and Bottlenose Dolphins to the area over the summer months. Feeding frenzies of krill, bait fish, tuna, fur seals, dolphins, gannets and albatross amaze visitors on coastal boat trips or walkers on our many cliff-top coastal walking tracks.
The haul outs of the Australian fur seal and the breeding colonies of the New Zealand fur seal are most easily accessed by boat although haul outs can be observed from the cliff tops at the end of the Cape Raoul walking track.
Walking along the tide line of one of the many pristine, unspoiled beaches visitors may encounter species such as Pied Oyster-catchers and the endangered Hooded Plovers as well as Pacific Gulls and Black-faced Cormorants.
The Tasman Peninsula certainly offers a unique and rich variety of marine wildlife for those tourists who wish to explore its treasures.