Visit Fortescue Bay

Fortescue Bay beach

Located on the Tasman Peninsula, Fortescue Bay is part of the Tasman National Park (Parks Pass required) and is a picturesque location where towering forests meet the sea, and a gorgeous beach. It is best known for its camping, however it is well worth a visit for a few hours just to get back to nature. The turn off to the bay is approximately 10 minutes before Port Arthur, and it is about 12kms from the turn off the highway to the bay on an unsealed road (although it is well maintained).

We have visited multiple times with our kids and each time is just as enjoyable as the last. There are excellent BBQ facilities, toilets, a boat ramp and a ranger station. Even though there can be lots of people camping in the two camp grounds, the beach never seems busy - we've only ever seen about 10-15 people on it. Aside from the campers, Fortescue Bay also serves as the end of the Three Capes Track, so you may come across some tired hikers finishing their 4 day hike and hitting the water to refresh themselves.

We highly recommend a leisurely stroll along the beach past the Fortescue Lagoon (may require a bit of a jump over the water crossing the beach), with the forest providing a picturesque backdrop. There is plenty of bird life in the area, and the beach is used as a nesting ground for some species. At the end of the beach you can choose the follow a take a short walk on the Tasman Coastal Trail to Canoe Bay (2 hours return - we did it in just over 1 hour return) or even further to Bivouac Bay (4 hours return - we haven't done this one yet) - or if you fail to stop there it is an 8 hour hike to the Devils Kitchen!

Wreck of the William Pitt

We undertook the walk to Canoe Bay on our last visit. The sign indicated it was a 2 hour return trip, although we did it in just over 1 hour. The track can be a bit difficult in sections, and there are some steep(ish) sections and minor rock climbing. Along the way you are presented with stunning views of Fortescue Bay and the beach, and also out of the bay into the ocean. Once you arrive in Canoe Bay you will find the wreck of the William Pitt barge. This barge was in the 1940's in the construction of the Pontoon bridge that spanned the Derwent River in Hobart before the current Tasman Bridge. In 1955 it was scuttled in Canoe Bay to serve as a breakwater to provide shelter for small craft - and apparently it provides great snorkeling. We didn't know this at the time, however there are apparently Little Penguins that have burrows in the bay.

Overall Fortescue is a lovely place to visit for its tranquility and something you might want to consider squeezing in on a trip to Port Arthur.

And don't forget that Fortescue is in a National Park - so a Parks Pass is required.