Located around 20 kilometres to the east of Devonport along Tasmania’s north-west coast, the seaside holiday resort of Shearwater boasts a picturesque location overlooking Bass Strait. It lies on the edge of the Rubicon Estuary, identified by BirdLife International as an important bird habitat, and is home to the Port Sorell Golf Club and Shearwater Country Club resort.
Alexander Street is the main commercial strip running through the town, with a supermarket, post office and hardware store, while an esplanade hugs the waterfront and Shearwater’s idyllic stretch of sand at FreersBeach. In between lies the Shearwater Country Club which offers studios and apartments, together with two heated swimming pools, tennis and squash courts. There’s also a children’s play area and it’s surrounded by a 16 hectare, 9-hole golf course as part of the Port Sorell Golf Club. The Rubicon Estuary stretches to the east, adjacent to the Narawntapu National Park, and its shallow mud provides a home for numerous wader bird species, including around 1% of the world’s pied oystercatchers. Narawntapu has been dubbed the “Serengeti of Tasmania”, and its headlands, wetlands, dunes and lagoons provide one of the best wildlife spotting destinations on the island. Forester kangaroo, Bennetts wallaby and common wombat are all frequently seen, together with occasional sightings of Tasmanian devils.
Local public buses connect Shearwater with Devonport to the west, from where the Spirit of Tasmania ferry departs for Melbourne. The town itself is very compact and can easily be explored on foot or by bicycle, together with its coastal surrounds.
Shearwater lies adjacent to Port Sorell which originated as a fishing and seal port named Burgess in the early 19th century. It was renamed Port Sorell after Governor William Sorell in 1822, but extensive bush fires prevented the port and surrounding region from flourishing, with Devonport eventually taking its place.