Montague Island walking track

Montague Island Nature Reserve

Closed due to current alerts 

Overview

This coastal walk around Montague Island is short but challenging and takes you past the historic lighthouse and precious penguin breeding boxes.

Where
Montague Island Nature Reserve
Distance
1.5km loop
Time suggested
2hrs 30min
Grade
Medium
Price
Free
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note
  • Walking tours can be booked through the Narooma Visitor Centre via 1800 240 003.
  • You can choose a longer morning tour (2.5hrs on the island) or a shorter afternoon tour (1.5hrs on the island). During the months of September – February we also have our 1.5 hour evening penguin viewing tour.
  • You'll need to walk up a gradual but steep pathway to the lighthouse at the highest point on the island. You can tour through the lighthouse, but this isn't guaranteed and depends on weather conditions and group size.
  • Remember to take your binoculars if you want to bird, whale or dolphin watch.
  • The island can be windy. A windproof jacket is a good idea at all times.
  • Tours may be subject to late cancellation in the event of unfavourable weather and sea conditions

See the splendours of Montague Island with one of our knowledgeable guides on guided tour of this outstanding nature reserve. The effort of climbing the steep, paved track will be well worth it, as the walk reveals the lighthouse against a dramatic island backdrop.

Once you’ve captured the perfect Montague Island Lighthouse photo, it will be time to soak in the 360 degree views. Ascending the circular lighthouse stairs will give you an insight into the daily life of a lighthouse keeper from times gone by. Reaching the top, you’ll be duly rewarded with an incredible panoramic vista taking in the East Coast of Australia.

This medium difficulty walk leads past penguin breeding boxes where you’ll learn how conservation and revegetation programs on Montague Island help protect these unique animals. And if that’s not enough, whales, dolphins and migratory seabirds are all regular visitors.

Take a virtual tour on Montague Island walking track captured with Google Street View Trekker.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/montague-island-walking-track/local-alerts

General enquiries

Park info

  • in Montague Island Nature Reserve in the South Coast region
  • Montague Island Nature Reserve is always open but may have to close at times due to poor weather or fire danger.

    Please note that Montague Island is only accessible via one of NSW National Parks & Wildlife contracted commercial vessel tour operators (go to www.eurobodalla.com.au for details).

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Montague Island walking track.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Montague Island walking track is in Montague Island Nature Reserve. Montague Island is only accessible via one of NSW National Parks & Wildlife contracted commercial vessel tour operators.

    Montague Island water transport charters include:

    Montague Island tours and overnight stays depart from:

    • Narooma wharf - Bluewater Drive, Narooma
    • Bermagui wharf - Bermagui Harbour, Bermagui

    All visitors need to be able to climb the island’s jetty ladder and the steep hill that follows.

    Park entry points

    Parking

    Parking is available at Narooma and Bermagui wharves.

    Best times to visit

    There are lots of great things waiting for you on Montague Island Nature Reserve. Here are some of the highlights.

    Spring

    New Zealand and Australian fur seals are at their peak on the island during spring, making this the perfect time for some seal-spotting. To tempt you even more, humpback whales can often be spotted along the coastline, and pods of dolphins come to play among the boats too – book a guided tour that includes whale watching for the best chance to spot this special sea mammal in its own environment From October huge numbers of shearwaters begin to arrive and nest on the island through the summer.

    Summer

    Soak up the summer sun on a guided tour of Montague Island and provides some of the best weather for photographs.

    Winter

    From late winter the seal colony on the island starts to grow, and you can watch penguins land at the viewing area on the evening tour of the island. It can get quite chilly in winter so pack warm clothes.

    Weather, temperature and rainfall

    Summer temperature

    Average

    15°C and 25°C

    Highest recorded

    38.7°C

    Winter temperature

    Average

    4°C and 16°C

    Lowest recorded

    2.1°C

    Rainfall

    Wettest month

    March

    Driest month

    July

    The area’s highest recorded rainfall in one day

    182mm

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Beach safety

    Beaches in this park are not patrolled, and can sometimes have strong rips and currents. These beach safety tips will help you and your family stay safe in the water.

    Bushwalking safety

    If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    Prohibited

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Nearby towns

    Bermagui (35 km)

    Bermagui is a colourful port, famous for its deep-sea fishing. It's on the estuary of the Bermagui River, close to national parks.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Central Tilba (15 km)

    Central Tilba is a picture-perfect country village in a charming setting on the South Coast of NSW. Located on a hilltop, the town is surrounded by pastures and hills and is classified as an Urban Conservation Area by the National Trust.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Narooma (7 km)

    Narooma is Coastal town with superb beaches and abundant wildlife. Its set on the the foreshores wrapped around the Wagonga River estuary.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Montague Island walking track is in Montague Island Nature Reserve. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    A sacred place

    Rocky shoreline, Montague Island Nature Reserve. Photo: Stuart Cohen

    The Yuin people have had a long connection with Montague Island; travelling to the island for traditional ceremonies and food, and using it as a men's teaching place. It would have been a dangerous trip - 9km each way by bark canoe. There are many Aboriginal artefacts and middens on the island. Montague Island is known as Barunguba, and is the eldest son of Gulaga (Mount Dromedary) and a brother to Najunuka (Little Dromedary). The older brother, Barunguba was allowed out to sea while Najunuka, the younger brother, had to stay close to his mother.

    Colonial heritage

    Gravestones at cemetery below the lighthouse, on Montague Island Nature Reserve. Photo: Stuart Cohen/OEH

    Get in touch with Australia's colonial history - Captain James Cook spotted Montague Island from his tall ship in 1770 but the island was in fact discovered by the master of the convict ship Surprise in 1790 and was later named after George Montagu Dunk, Earl of Halifax. The island received visits from several shipwrecked sailors, and during the goldrush, seabird eggs were collected from the island to sell to miners.

    • Montague Island Lighthouse Montague Island Lighthouse is the perfect place to get in touch with history while seeing dramatic views, amazing birds and marine wildlife.

    A sanctuary for seabirds, seals and whales

    A crested tern chick walks on a rock in front of its parent, Montague Island Nature Reserve. Photo: Stuart Cohen/OEH

    The protected waters of Montague Island are a playground for hundreds of seals who make the island their home, all year round. Between September and November you can also see humpback and southern right whales pass the island on their annual migration south. Watch for blowholes and spectacular displays from the island or on a combined whale watching and island tour. With more than 90 bird species seen on the island, and 15 species breeding there, you’ll be reaching for your binoculars – and camera – at every turn. Up to 8,000 penguins live on the island at any one time. Between September and March they are joined by three species of shearwaters, which can produce more than 12,000 chicks per year, and their colonies seem to be growing!

    • Montague Island Lighthouse Montague Island Lighthouse is the perfect place to get in touch with history while seeing dramatic views, amazing birds and marine wildlife.
    • Montague Island walking track This coastal walk around Montague Island is short but challenging and takes you past the historic lighthouse and precious penguin breeding boxes.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Australian fur seals, Montague Island Nature Reserve. Photo: OEH

      Australian fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus)

      The largest fur seal, Australian fur seals are found in isolated rocky outcrops and islands along the NSW coast. They come ashore to form breeding colonies and can often be seen at Montague Island Nature Reserve.

    • Humpback whale breaching. Photo: Dan Burns

      Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

      The humpback whale has the longest migratory path of any mammal, travelling over 5000km from its summer feeding grounds in Antarctica to its breeding grounds in the subtropics. Its playful antics, such as body-rolling, breaching and pectoral slapping, are a spectacular sight for whale watchers in NSW national parks.

    • White-bellied sea eagle. Photo: John Turbill

      White-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

      White-bellied sea eagles can be easily identified by their white tail and dark grey wings. These raptors are often spotted cruising the coastal breezes throughout Australia, and make for some scenic bird watching. Powerful Australian birds of prey, they are known to mate for life, and return each year to the same nest to breed.

    Environments in this park

    Education resources (1)

    Red rocks and aqua water on Montague Island foreshore with views across to Gulaga. Photo: Stuart Cohen/OEH