Think Tasmania has already published stories featuring the top-quality bookends of downtown Swansea. The Bark Mill Tavern and Museum complex on Tasman Highway marks the entrance to the town from Bicheno. Robyn Klobusiak’s award-winning cafe, The Ugly Duck Out is at the eastern end of the main street, near the nine-hole golf course off Franklin Street. But what’s in between?

Bark Mill Tavern, Swansea
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Barn Mill Tavern and Museum, Swansea (photo by Dan Fellow)

The Ugly Duck Out - Robyn Klobusiak
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Robyn: The Ugly Duck Out, Swansea (photo by Dan Fellow)

Swansea: The Main Drag

It’s amazing what you can discover in Tasmania during a flying visit. Not that we’d recommend any such a thing… if a slow-and-steady exploration is at all possible, take that option for sure! We drove to the east coast from Hobart, visiting Thumbs Lookout in Orford; the Salt Works at Lisdillon and Spiky Bridge just south of Swansea.

Because we were already so close, we nipped into town for a look-see at Swansea’s main drag and a bite to eat. We hadn’t actually planned this part of the trip, but it will definitely serve as inspiration to return and investigate more another time. We always love to chat with locals about their own Tasmanian towns and learn about features worth sharing with Think Tasmania readers. And of course, showcase individual businesses in detail.

Swansea - Saltshaker Restaurant
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Saltshaker Restaurant: Swansea Tasmania

Swansea - Seafood
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Seafood and salad: Swansea Tasmania

Swansea - Chicken & Chips
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Dining in Swansea: east coast Tasmania

On the day in question, we were lucky to catch an impromptu (and free) show right from our front-row window seats at Saltshaker Restaurant. A gathering of jet-ski enthusiasts near the boat ramp and jetty provided much lunch-time entertainment. No doubt the Swansea beaches would come alive with activity during the summer months too.

Swansea - Jet Ski
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Lunch and a show: Swansea Tasmania

Swansea - Jet Ski Club
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Jet ski meeting: Swansea Tasmania

Swansea - Jetty
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Playground near the beach: Swansea Tasmania

Swansea - Beach
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Boat ramp near Swansea jetty

East Coast Visitor Information

The East Coast Heritage Museum is housed in a building combining old with new…

The old heritage listed section was built by James Hurst in 1860 as a school and residence for the teacher, the new section was built and opened in 2011.

The beautiful building features a striking red roof and also incorporates the local Historical Society, Visitor Information Centre and War Memorial. Tourists would be most impressed with the provision of free Wi-Fi to assist with travel research and allow communication back home.

Swansea - Tourist Information Centre
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Esat Coast Heritage Museum and Visitor Information Centre

Swansea - Free Wi-Fi
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Free Wi-Fi: great initiative, east coast Tasmania

Swansea - Roses
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Roses: Tourist Information Centre, Swansea Tasmania

Supermarkets and General Stores

Dining options are plentiful in Swansea… no one should go hungry on the east coast. If a picnic is more your scene, the small town boasts two general stores. One IGA supermarket is connected to a three-story heritage building on the waterfront. The other corner store version is located on the Tasman Highway as it leads into the main street from Orford.

Morris General Store sells a huge variety of interesting goods including souvenirs, clothing, fishing tackle and camping gear. We even spotted some of Dan Fellow’s CDs and digital puzzles showcasing his Tasmanian photos.

Swansea - General Store
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General store: Swansea Tasmania

Swansea - Store
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Morris General Store, Swansea Tasmania

Swansea - IGA
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Swansea Tasmania: corner store/IGA

Shopping in Swansea

Swansea has a well-stocked pharmacy. If you need a new pair of thongs for beachcombing, they’ve got you (and your feet) covered. If you love to browse through quirky second-hand furniture and trash-and-treasure-style collectibles, Posh Cargo (despite the name!) is the place to head. And what beachside town would be complete without a giftware/homewares store? Bear Cottage Crafts doesn’t disappoint, with a lovely little range of presents to take home.

Swansea - Pharmacy
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Swansea Pharmacy

Swansea - Collectibles
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Trash and treasure: collectibles and brick-a-brack

Swansea - Bear Cottage
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Lovely little shop: souvenirs, gifts and homewares

Michelle Kneipp-Pegler from Uncover Tasmania Guided Tours wrote a great piece for Think Tasmania about the value of the country town hall. Swansea has its own place for community gatherings, a fine-looking building located smack-bang in the centre of the main street. If you like your holiday location to be pretty, we’d say this seaside town on Tasmania’s east coast has loads of attractive buildings!

Swansea - Town Hall
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Impressive town hall: Swansea Tasmania

Swansea - Accommodation
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East coast accommodation: Swansea B&B

A footnote to this story: we did notice several prominent businesses for sale in Swansea, but one caught our attention more than most. The Horny Cray… could that be a sign for the Horne family to buy a takeaway shop? We don’t have any of the necessary skills for a venture of that kind, but the name is quite catchy. Hopefully someone has (or will) take over the property and make it great.

Swansea - The Horny Cray
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Business for sale< Swansea: The Horny Cray!

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