Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) hauled out, Kent Group National Park.
Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) hauled out, Kent Group National Park. (photograph: Darroch Donald)

Kent Group National Park

Island sanctuaries in remote Bass Strait.

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About

​As beautiful as it is remote, Kent Group National Park is made up of a group of islands and islets, situated halfway between Wilsons Promontory in Victoria and Flinders Island off Tasmania’s north-eastern tip.

Comprising three main islands – Erith, Dover and Deal – this isolated national park in the middle of Bass Strait is subject to a constant barrage of wild seas. Three major ocean currents meet at the Kent Group National Park, which over the years have sent numerous ships onto the islands’ unforgiving coastlines. Over 20 recorded shipwrecks now lay in the shallow waters surrounding the islands.

The convergence of currents also bring a richness in nutrients that supports a unique diversity of marine life, creating a wonderful breeding sanctuary for the Australian fur seals who make their home on the rocky outcrops. The islands are also an important refuge for sea birds.

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If windswept, picturesque and private are words that appeal, you've found your destination in the Kent Group National Park: a cluster of islands set in the middle of eastern Bass Strait, halfway between the northern end of Flinders Island on mainland Tasmania and Wilsons Promontory in Victoria.

With around 55 kilometres to nearest landfall in any direction, and no public airstrip, getting there is not easy. You'll need a boat. And once there, don't expect facilities. You'll need to be completely self-sufficient. (This park wasn't reserved with you in mind.)

For those who do venture here though, when the islands loom out of a vast Bass Strait, they are a salve for salt-ridden eyes:  sheltered sandy coves, turquoise waters, sheoak grey and eucalypt green forests, fields of waving tussock grasses, and abundant and tame wildlife.

The Kent Group comprises Deal, Erith and Dover islands; North East and South West isles; Judgement Rocks, and Big Rock. Deal Island is the largest in the group, with a jetty (no public access), lighthouse (built in 1848 and the southern hemisphere's highest), several residences and outbuildings, a small museum in the original lightkeepers' house, and a few informal walking tracks. Wildcare volunteer caretakers live in one of the houses, providing a year-round presence. (Walk notesheets are available from caretakers.)

The Kent Group Marine Reserve surrounds the national park, and its waters are further surrounded and protected by the Beagle Marine Park – a testament to the specialness of the marine life found in Bass Strait, largely thanks to the convergence of three ocean currents. ​See our Marine Reserve page for information.

Enjoy swimming and​ snorkelling in the relatively warm waters, but keep away from any seal colonies. Oh, and you'll be able to frolic with wild abandon amongst the tussock grasses as the only venomous snake species here is too small to bite!

And with visitor numbers at less than one thousand per year, you may well have the place to yourselves.

Experiences in Kent Group National Park

Fishing on the rocks at Friendly Beaches, Freycinet National Park

Statewide

Fishing

Tasmania has a wealth of excellent inland and ocean fishing locations where you can cast your line.

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Beachside snorkelling

Statewide

Snorkelling and scuba diving

Bring your wetsuit, mask and fins to discover the underwater life.

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