Low Head is a suburb of George Town, Tasmania, on a peninsula at the mouth of the Tamar River, 5 kilometres north-west of the town centre. It is a popular snorkel and scuba diving area during much of the year, with extensive wide, unspoiled beaches.
George Town is a large town in north-east Tasmania, on the eastern bank of the mouth of the Tamar River. It is Australia’s third-oldest settlement after Sydney and Hobart and has a rich maritime past and industrial present.
Things to Do
East Beach is located on the eastern side of Low Head and is the closest surfing beach to George Town and consequently a relatively popular beach.
The Low Head Surf Life Saving Club operated at the beach between 1950 and 1984.
The beach is relatively exposed to westerly waves, which average 1 m, but can be considerably higher during strong winds. East Beach is a moderately hazardous beach owing to its exposure to higher westerly waves and the presence of rips at low tide. The safest swimming is at the more popular western end, toward high tide and close inshore. Be careful of the rips at low tide and the increasing rocks to the east.
This is a popular surfing spot for the Launceston surfers and one of the first places to check out. It usually has beach breaks with conditions determined by the waves, wind and state of the tide.
There is road access and car park at the western end of the beach.
Low Head Penguin Tours was started in 1996 by Shirley Lincoln, the year after the Iron Barron disaster. Some nights about 200 penguins arrive on the beach at once. Shirley believes it is really important to be respectful of the penguins safety and also their environment. There are approximately 2000 to 4000 penguins in Low Head, and the most common breed is probably the blue penguin, or Eudyptula minor.
The tours consist of small groups of 10-15 at a time in order to protect the birds and make sure everyone has an experience they can remember, getting up close and personal with the penguins. The local guides make sure that everyone gets to discover these beautiful birds while protecting their habitat.
Low Head Light House is the third oldest light station in the Commonwealth after the Macquarie lighthouse (near Sydney 1818) and Iron Pot (Derwent River near Hobart). The first lighthouse was built in 1833, to a design by John Lee Archer. It was replaced by the present lighthouse in 1890. It is still in service, although is now fully automated. It is also the home of one of only two operating foghorns in Australia and and the only full operational Type ‘G’ system in the world. In service from 1927 to 1973 it has now been restored and is sounded at noon each Sunday.
Low Head Pilot Station, situated at the mouth of the Tamar River in northern Tasmania, is the oldest group of pilot buildings in Australia. While it was the first station to operate it is the third oldest pilot service after the private operations of Sydney and Hobart. The pilot service dates from 1805, with the appointment of William House as Harbour Master at Port Dalrymple, and the first building on the site was probably in 1806. The pilot service still operates from this site today.
The Watch House is the historic old gaol site and features a range of displays conveying the regions rich history.
The present building was built in 1843 and was reopened in 2004 as part of George Town's Bicentenary of European settlement. Features include a wonderful model village which allows visitors to imagine what early nineteenth century life was like in George Town, the acclaimed 'Departures and Arrivals' display describing the Female Factories and links to the convict experience, and a primitive cell where visitors can enter to get an idea of the tough life of prisoners awaiting trial. The Community History Room contains a wealth of local information for historians and those researching their ancestry.
The Watch House also houses changing displays featuring the best in Tasmanian arts and crafts.
The Bass and Flinders Centre is centrally located in George Town on Tasmania's Tamar River. In 1798, the explorers Bass and Flinders were dispatched to 'Van Diemen's Land' to ascertain if Tasmania was an island or not. They sailed with a crew of eight in Her Majesty's Colonial Sloop Norfolk right into the Tamar River and anchored off what is now George Town.
In 1998, Bern Cuthbertson in the replica Norfolk, re-enacted the Bass and Flinders journey. Like Bass and Flinders, Bern established a relationship with George Town and asked if she could be berthed on the banks of the Tamar at George Town.
Bern and his team of volunteers in Hobart constructed the replica Norfolk. The hull is Huon Pine and the mast and deck are made out of Celery Top Pine. Not a screw or a nail was used - trunnels or treenails hold the vessel together.
The Bass and Flinders Centre is now the home of the replica sloop 'Norfolk', together with the 'Elizabeth', a replica of the whale boat rowed by James Kelly around Tasmania; the ex-naval cutter 'Kenneth Dickenson'; two old racing 'fours'; a banana boat surfboard and the gentle 'Melanie' and many more.
The George Town to Low Head Kanamaluka Walking and Cycling Trail follows the Tamar River.
Suitable for walkers, runners and cyclists, this free and easily accessible trail was opened in 2011 and was designed to be used by people of all abilities. It is six kilometres in length and begins at York Cove in George Town. Cycling is one of the most enjoyable ways to experience the trail, and bicycle hire is available from the George Town Visitor Information Centre for use on the trail and around the George Town area.
The Kanamaluka trail links together key historical sites and areas of natural beauty and wildlife interest, such as Lagoon Bay, York Cove, Windmill Point and the Low Head Pilot Station. You will learn lots along the way about Tasmanian wildlife, colonial and convict history and how Tasmania communicates with the rest of the world.
Places to Eat
Cove Bar and Restaurant – a homage to wholesome Tasmanian produce.
Tasmania's enviable produce is the main character on the menu.
Seasonal produce dictates the offerings at the George Town restaurant and accommodation destination, matched with local wines and boutique beers. From classic hits like beer battered market fish to more unique offerings such as the honey and aniseed pork belly, the menu is sympathetic to the integrity of Tasmania's produce.
Monday – Friday 7am til 10am
Continental breakfast: Monday & Tuesday
Full a-la-carte breakfast: Wednesday - Friday
Sunday & Public holidays open 8am til 11am
Monday – Sunday 12pm til 3pm
A full A-la-carte menu is available.
Monday – Saturday evenings 5pm til 8pm
Closed Sundays and for public holidays.
Located on the main street of George Town, Grey's Hotel provides a good pub meal in a family friendly atmosphere. Bar and gaming machines.
Thursday night is Parmy night.
Sun - Thur 10am-10pm
Friday - Sat 10am-midnight
With a hint of country generosity and utilising the fresh local produce Tasmania is noted for, our talented chefs have created a range of enticing dishes to cover even the most discerning of tastes. Breathe the fresh air, and enjoy the superb views from our alfresco dining area. The sunsets can be magnificent from this area and the best part is, we don't charge a viewing fee.
Feel like a chat. Why not move to either our Lounge bar or the Public Bar where the locals will certainly entertain you. The Public Bar has retained its old world charm and during winter has a roaring open fire to warm the cockles of your heart.
Serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and coffee.
Eat in or Take Away Chinese.
Open for Lunch & Dinner
Enjoy freshly caught seafood, cooked directly from our shop at George Town Seafoods, where you have a choice from gourmet fish and chips, fish burgers, seafood wraps, cooked scallops and more!
Or buy some amazing fresh seafood and cook it yourself.
Kitchen Hours: 11am - 2pm Monday - Friday
Fresh Fish Shop Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm Monday - Friday
Places to Shop
George Town has 2 small supermarkets.
IGA is located at 103/105 Friend St
Woolworths supermarket is located at 8 Bathurst St
On the main street of George Town you will find a newsagent, Post Office, pharmacy, bakeries and cafes