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Scamander, TAS

Holiday resort town on the Surf Coast

Scamander is a typical holiday resort town noted for its wide sandy beaches and its major attractions which include surfing, swimming and fishing. It is located between St Helens (18 km to the north) and St Marys (19 km to the south), and has a happy, holiday feel about it. Names like Blue Seas Holiday Units and Pelican Sands Units hint at the ambience of the town.


Scamander is located 233 km north east of Hobart and 142 km east of Launceston. It is located between St Helens (18 km to the north) and St Marys (19 km to the south).


Origin of Name

The area was first explored by Europeans when the surveyor John Helder Wedge passed down the coast in 1825. He named the future township Yarmouth (after the English port) and the river Borthwick. It is believed that the name was changed to Scamander by the Tasmanian Governor, Sir John Franklin, who had a love of classical Greek culture.  Scamander was the name of a river god in Greek mythology.


Things to See and Do

Water Activities
Scamander is primarily a town which attracts holidaymakers and travellers eager to enjoy the beautiful beach and the district's water activities. Surfing and swimming are popular and the river is known to anglers for its excellent bream.

Surfing at Scamander
The remarkable Surf Forecast website explains: "Scamander Rivermouth on the East Coast is an exposed beach break that has reliable surf, although summer tends to be mostly flat. Offshore winds blow from the west with some shelter here from north winds. Windswells and groundswells in equal measure and the best swell direction is from the southeast. Waves at the beach break both left and right. Best around low tide. Rarely crowded here ... The best time of year for surfing Scamander Rivermouth with consistent clean waves (rideable swell with light / offshore winds) is during Winter and most often the month of May." Check out https://www.surf-forecast.com/breaks/Scamander-Rivermouth for up to date information on surfing conditions including both weather and surfing reports.

Fishing at Scamander
Scamander is known as a place where anglers can reasonably expect to fish successfully for flathead, couta and striped trumpeter, albacore, southern bluefin tuna, marlin, Australian Salmon and bream. There is also Rock Lobster in the area. The Tas Fish website (check out https://www.tasfish.com/articles/130-salt-water-fishing/20-scamander) notes that the "Scamander River is one of Tasmania's great bream locations. Fish are not as big as in some of the other estuaries, but they are plentiful. It fishes well all year, but the best time is from November to March. Usual methods such as bait fishing and lure fishing are the way to go. Pretty fish and shrimps are some of the best baits, but it pays to have a variety. Locals comment that the fishing now is as good or better than fifty years ago. Bait is available from the shops in Scamander."

Scamander Circuit Walk
The Scamander Circuit Walk is a 3.5 km walk, starting in Dune Street, and heading south and returning along the beach. It is a pleasant way to experience the coast around Steels Beach. Check out https://www.cowirrie.com/stepscape/?walk=ScamanderWalk for details.


Other Attractions in the Area

Scamander to St Helens Point
To the north of the town is the beautiful St Helens Point Conservation Area and Scamader Conservation Area - they are characterised by heavily timbered sand dunes and beautiful clean beaches. From Scamander River to St Helens Point  is a seemingly endless white beach with pristine aquamarine waters where there are two outstanding walks. Near the Scamander Conservation Area, at the southern end of the beach, there are important First Nation middens comprising mussel shells, abalone, rock whelk and warrener as well as evidence of seals, kangaroos and wallabies as part of the indigenous diet.

Falmouth's Blowhole and the Coast
There are blowholes where the sea is forced through an aperture and there are lesser blowholes which are actually nothing more than a fissure in the rocks. The Falmouth blowholes, which are located just beyond Howitt Street, which is the most north-easterly street in the tiny town, are large fissures in the rocks where the waves, when they break, cause plumes of spray to rise into the air. To get to the blowhole the visitor needs to walk north along the cliffs. The walk is pleasant with the rocks tumbling down towards the sea and the bedding of the rocks being cut by narrow fissures. The views from the northern end of the town are excellent and near the blowhole it is possible to see the beach which lies to the north across Henderson Lagoon. Park at the end of Howitt Street and walk towards the low lying cliffs.

Enstone Park
Originally known as Thompson Villa, Enstone Park which stands back from the road north of the Tasman Highway just outside Falmouth is a large Victorian homestead which was built by William Steel's nephew, J. Steel, in 1867 for the huge sum of £1,740. In 1868, just after it had been built, the Launceston Examiner visited the house and wrote: "On a gentle slope, about a half mile from the sea, stands the mansion of our host, known as Thompson Villa. The exterior of the building produces a highly picturesque and pleasing effect. The style is Italian, with projecting roof. The principal rooms open onto a wide veranda, the design of which, as also the balcony, is decidedly ornamental. The interior fittings are of the best character, the entrance hall being divided by Corinthian fluted columns, with pilasters and Corinthian cornice; and well lighted up by a beautiful ornamental stained glass window, which I recognised as the handiwork of our enterprising fellow colonists, Messrs. Ferguson, Urie and Lyon, of North Melbourne. It was named 'Enstone Park' after World War I by LJ Steel who lived in the house until his death at the age of 102 in 1968. The property is currently owned by Enstone Park Pastoral Company. It is not open to the public.



* Prior to European settlement the area around Scamander was inhabited by members of the Paredareme First Nation language group.

* As early as 1803 whalers and sealers were in the area. They used Bicheno as their base.

* The area was first explored by Europeans when the surveyor John Helder Wedge travelled down the coast in 1825. He named the future township Yarmouth and the river Borthwick. They were subsequently changed to Scamander and Scamander River.

* The first bridge, a flimsy thing with pylons no thicker than an average telegraph post, was constructed by Richard Terry in 1865 and lasted until it collapsed under the weight of a mob of cattle in 1875.

* The first bridge was replaced by an ironbark and bluegum bridge which was built in 1875 and lasted until 1889 when a particularly heavy flood washed it away.

* A third bridge was built in 1889 by Grubb Bros. for £4,500. It was built from ironbark and lasted a record of 22 years until the flood of 1911, sending numerous trees down the river, put such pressure on the bridge it collapsed.

* The Scamander Post Office opened in 1896.

* The last wooden bridge collapsed in 1929 and the town was forced to rely on a punt across the river.

* The local post office closed in 1933.

* A concrete bridge was built in 1936.

* A new Post Office opened in 1950.

* A new bridge has finally built in 1991.

* The town was severely damaged by bushfires on 11 December, 2006.

* On 30 January, 2009 the town recorded a Tasmanian record temperature of 42.2°C.

* In 2021 the bridge built in 1937 was finally removed.


Visitor Information

There is no Visitor Information in the town. The closest is the St Helens Visitor Information Centre, 61 Cecilia Street, St Helens, tel: (03) 6376 1744


Useful Websites

The Tourism Tasmania official website for the area can be found at https://www.discovertasmania.com.au/about/regions-of-tasmania/east-coast/scamander.

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