Port Davey Adventure Map
There’s no shortage of things to do each day in the pristine wilderness of Port Davey – from cruising wild rivers and remote harbours to picnicking on untracked beaches, from climbing wilderness peaks to just sitting back and soaking up the serene landscapes. We don’t set a strict itinerary – rather, we tailor each cruise to suit your particular interests, guided by the weather. Find out more about the places we can discover and the adventures to come by clicking on the icons on the map below.
Choose your adventure! Click the icons on the map below to find out more.
We’ve marked up the map below with some of our favourite spots to visit in Port Davey. Click the icons for more information.
Seals can sometimes be glimpsed in the water or lying on a rocky slope of the Southwest coastline. There are two types of seals generally see - the Australian Fur Seal and the more common New Zealand Fur Seal. There have also been to known to be Leopard Seals and Elephant Seals found on Maatsuyker Island.
Visit Settlement Point
In the 1800s, a small piners settlement and boatyard was located in Payne Bay. The settlement remained until the 1900s when the Huon Pine trade ceased. Visit today and you'll see the remains of this settlement.
Tasmanian Boat Charters’ guests are almost guaranteed to spy sea eagles and wedge-tailed eagles on our expeditions into the remote and pristine wilderness of Port Davey. One of the highlights of our 2017 season was spotting 14 sea eagles in one day. As these birds are territorial, it's extremely unusual to see this many in such close proximity.
Pieter van der Woude, owner of Tasmanian Boat Charters and skipper of Odalisque, has long been an admirer of raptors (he'll be the first to point out one soaring in the sky or perched in a tree). Tasmanian Boat Charters supports the rehabilitation and protection of this magnificent species as sponsor of the Raptor and Wildlife Refuge of Tasmania.
Visit Maatsuyker Island on a side trip
Explore the coastline outside of Port Davey & Bathurst Harbour on a day trip, weather conditions allowing. The vessel Odalisque is custom-built for travelling comfortably through these Southwest seas, giving our guests a unique opportunity to visit places very few people ever see.
Maatsuyker Island is part of a group of island & rocks famous for their rich marine wildlife, predominantly wet and windy weather conditions and Australia’s most southerly light house. The swells regularly reach 6m (sometimes even up to 10m), wind gusts have been recorded at 176km/h and there is an average of 249 rain days a year. It’s a wild and beautiful place! Pieter, your skipper, regularly dived these waters as an Abalone diver. In fact, it’s his favorite spot on the coast!
Guests will have the opportunity to ahead ashore amidst a fur seal colony and climb up the steep slopes of the island. At the top, you can explore the lighthouse and soak up the amazing views of the South West Coast. Maatsuyker Island is a 2.5hr journey south of Port Davey.
Dolphins can often be found swimming in pods in the ocean on the outer side of the Breaksea Islands. If we're lucky and they're in a playful mood, they might spend some time jumping about in the Odalisque's wake.
Hike Mt Stokes & Mt Milner
Stretch your sea legs with a hike. Peaks such as Mt Stokes and Mt Milner offer top-of-the-world vistas of distant ranges, languid waterways and remote coastline.
Take a Jet Boat Excursion around the Breaksea Islands, Berry Head & Marvourneen Rocks
Discover the rugged coastline, amazing rock arches and stunning rock formations, blowholes and caves at the mouth of Port Davey in our jet boat.
A real highlight is visiting the Breaksea Islands, which guard the entrance to Port Davey. Aptly named, these islands protect the harbour from the wild swells of the South West Coast. In our tender, we’ll cruise through the rushing channels of these wave & wind battered islands, exploring their impossibly rocky coastline, blow holes and hidden sea caves.
See the West Coast on a side trip
Discover the coastline outside the protected harbour of Port Davey with a day trip aboard Odalisque.
Low Rocky Point: Here you can explore the rocky foreshore and other sites of special interest. There are also beaches to wander along and rock pools which often hold the elusive southern rock lobsters – you may see their feelers above the water line as they crawl along the shallow bottom. Low Rocky Point is approximately 1hr north of Port Davey.
The Shank: The Shank is a good anchorage for fishermen. Your skipper Pieter has sheltered here in swells of around four metres. From the Inner Shank, it’s possible to go ashore and explore the coastline. The Shank is approximately 1hr north of Port Davey.
Giblin River: Visit the Giblin River, 45minutes North of Port Davey. See large sand dunes and a walk along the beautiful sandy beach.
Mainwaring Inlet: We can explore the river & inlet in our tender. Interesting sites include some very unusual and evidence of Aboriginal occupation in the area. Mainwaring Inlet is approximately 2hrs north of Port Davey.
This amazing migratory species is commonly known in Tasmania as the muttonbird. We'll often see them floating in large, spectacular 'rafts' while feeding off shore.
Visit Mutton Bird Island
Head ashore to explore one of small, unpopulated islands which dot the Southwest coastline. Mutton Bird island is a special site because it is home to a large number of breeding seabirds, including the little penguin, short-tailed shearwater (otherwise know as the mutton bird), fairy prion ), Pacific gull, silver gull and sooty oystercatcher.
Southern Rock Lobsters love these Southwest waters. Keep your eye out for cray weed, you know there'll be a crayfish close by. We'll sometimes share our anchorage with 'cray boats' (professional crayfishing vessels) sheltering in Port Davey for the night.
Port Davey & Bathurst Harbour has many remnants of Aboriginal occupation. Discover the ancient Aboriginal middens hidden in the dunes behind Stephens Bay.
Swim at Stephens Bay
Stephens Bay is a spectacular ocean facing, seemingly endless, white sandy beach, backed by tall sand dunes. The wild swells of the Southern ocean can roll in here strongly, but on a calm day it's a beautiful spot to cool down with an ocean swim after the walk from Spain Bay.
Walk from Spain Bay to Stephens Bay
From Spain Bay, a two-kilometre track across the buttongrass moorland leads you to Stephens Bay. Here you can check out the Southern Ocean weather, see seals on rocks and take a walk along one of the most remote and wild beaches in Tasmania.
Keep your eye out for Penguins. We often see their heads pop up in the water when we're exploring the outer edges of Port Davey aboard Odalisque.
Discover the Port Davey Marine Reserve
The Port Davey Marine Reserve was created to protect an extraordinary underwater world. In Bathurst Harbour a very unusual marine environment has been created by a deep layer of dark redbrown, tannin-rich freshwater, which overlies tidal saltwater. In the clearer marine waters of Port Davey – away from the influence of the freshwater tannins – a more typical Tasmanian underwater world exists. Diverse kelp forests and abundant fish thrive beneath the surging Southern Ocean waves. Read more here.
These creatures are noctural, so while it's unusual to spot them in the day, we'll see signs of them all over the place - from footprints in the beach to scats identified by your guide. Over night, we'll set up night vision cameras, so if there's any activity at the site, you'll be able to see what they've been up to.
Explore the Davey River on jet boat
Davey River is the only major river system in Australia totally untouched by man. Explore the winding, tree lined bends of this pristine riverine environment in our jet boat. Cruise past Huon Pine growing in the banks of the river.
Bramble Cove anchorage
A protected anchorage nestled in the mouth of Bathurst Channel. It's particularly picturesque at sunset when rocks in the steep hills which line the cove turn golden red in the evening light.
Schooner Cove Anchorage
This stunning cove is another one of the Odalisque's favourite anchorages.
Blacks Swans & other waterfowl at Horseshoe Inlet
Horseshoe Inlet is a protected inlet where we can often find a great array of waterfowl.
On our shore excursions, we'll often see wallabies. Like wombats, they particularly like the soft grass which lines the river banks.
Hike Balmoral Hill
A short but steep 30min walk up Balmoral Hill rewards the hiker with spectacular views of the lay of the land. It’s a great way to get your bearings of a waterway 3 times the size of Sydney Harbour.
Swim at Balmoral Beach
The tannin stained waters at this inner harbour beach means that the water is beautiful warm! It's a great spot to jump in for a dip.
Hike up Mt Beattie
Stretch your sea legs with a climb up Mt Beattie (2.5hrs return) for expansive views of the waterways and surrounding peaks.
In this quiet corner of Bathurst Harbour, nestled into the edges of the rainforest, you’ll find the home of Win & Clyde Clayton, two famous locals who made a home in this wilderness for many years. Their sheltered nook has been turned into an interpretive site. It’s a great place to spend some time exploring and learning about the region’s history.
Sunset Drinks on the Celery Top Islands
Enjoy sunset drinks and evening nibbles on one of the beautiful, tree-lined beaches of the Celery Top Islands. Soak up the picturesque views of Mt Rugby at sunset before we head back to Odalisque for dinner.
The only mooring in Port Davey is tucked within a calm bay, deep in Bathurst Harbour. Our special mooring allows us to leave Odalisque safely in the Southwest in between trips. When we have guests on board, Odalisque will spend her nights at the mooring or anchored in other protected bays in Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey, depending on the weather.
Scenic flight from Hobart to Melalueca
What better way to set the scene for your visit into this incredibly remote and wild part of Tasmania than with a scenic flight. The views over the city, dramatic coastal cliffs, towering mountain peaks and never-ending green of the World Heritage Area are awe-inspiring. One hour after we depart Hobart, we will land on Melaleuca’s stunning white quartzite airstrip, where you’ll be greeted by your Tasmanian Boat Charters crew.
South Coast Track
With no roads in and out of this area, if you're not coming in via air or sea,then the only other way to reach this remote wilderness location is on foot, via a 7-day, 85 km coastal walk along the South Coast Track.
Jet boat excursion through Moulters Inlet
Touring this shallow bay on our jetboat we'll spot many waterfoul including swans and ducks. This little inlet is also a photographers heaven - the reflections here on a calm day are incredible!
Jet Boat Excursion up the Old River
The Old River is a pristine riverine environment where you’ll get the chance to see Azure Kingfishers and Huon pine on the river's edge. It's tannin stained river waters feed straight into Bathurst Harbour. There's nothing more peaceful than soaking up this stunning scenery as we float with the gentle current down river.
Azure Kingfishers can often be seen perched in the trees lining the banks of the Old River. With its combination of royal-blue plumage on its upperparts contrasting with orange on its underparts, it is one of the smallest and most dazzling kingfishers in Australia. Photo: Mick Brown
Wombats will sometimes be seen on the flat, green banks which line the rivers lower reaches.
Willson's Tin Mine & Smelter
The mining of the past has left a rich heritage of objects and stories. We can explore the old tin mine site & other mine structures around Melaleuca.
The rare and threatened orange-bellied parrot is one of only two species of migrating parrots. They only breed in Southwest Tasmania, generally within 20 kilometres of Melaleuca, where they nest in hollows of eucalypts bordering on buttongrass moors. The breeding season is October to January. There is a viewing hide for orange-bellied parrots at Melaleuca and we have an excellent chance of spotting this rare bird.
Deny King Heritage Museum
The Deny King Heritage Museum is set up in the old Deny King Bird Observation Hide. This small museum will house objects and stories related to the rich history of the area, including its mining history, aspects from the early huon-pine cutters and whalers of Port Davey and the iconic Deny King.
Aboriginal Interpretive Walk: Needwonnee Walk
This interpretive walk shares the story of the Needwonnee people of the Southwest with innovative interpretive installations along a new 1.2 km boardwalk. The path weaves its way through the forest and buttongrass plains beside Melaleuca lagoon.
Port Davey Track
The Port Davey Track is 70 km in length and used by walkers between Scotts Peak Road and Melaleuca. This walk isn't part of the Escape to Port Davey expedition cruise experience, but it's an iconic track which we always point out to our guests. When we cruise through Bathurst Channel, we can see where the track comes to the waters edge. At this point, walkers exchange their boots for oars and can often be seen rowing across the channel.
Most people take about 4 to 5 days to complete the Port Davey Track and either fly out at Melaleuca or continue along the South Coast Track to Cockle Creek; this being a further 6-8 days walk. The Port Davey Track has some steep and muddy sections and is recommended for experienced walkers only.
Critchley Parker's Grave
Critchley Parker disappeared while searching in the Port Davey region for a site to establish a Jewish enclave. His body was found some months later. There are some intriguing rumours surrounding his expedition to Port Davey and his disappearance.
Hike Mt Rugby
This steep, challenging walk climbs to the highest and most prominent peak bordering the marine reserve. The 360-degree wilderness view from the summit is acclaimed by many as the best in Tasmania. This is a must-do if the weather and fitness allow.
Whalers at Bramble Cove
In the early 1800's, a temporary whaler settlement was made at Bramble Cove. Head ashore to learn about the area's whaling history.
Melaleuca is a remote locality (former settlement) in the south-west area of Tasmania, Australia. The locality now consists of a couple of buildings and a bird hide where the orange-bellied parrot can be viewed, and is a tourist attraction. Melaleuca has a white quartzite gravel airstrip which is used by small aircraft to bring tourists to the remote Southwest Wilderness region of the state, and is where our own guests will land. The airstrip was single-handedly built by Deny King in the 1930s. Two hiking trails meet at Melaleuca: the Port Davey Track and the South Coast Track.
Visit the site of Win & Clyde Clayton's original home in Bond Bay.
Southwest National Park
The magnificent Southwest National Park encompasses over six hundred thousand hectares of wild, inspiring country and forms part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area encompasses a greater breadth of values than any World Heritage property on Earth. Of 1052 sites in the world which are recognised as World Heritage areas, Tasmania is one of only 35 sites that satisfy both cultural and natural heritage values. But even more impressively, the area satisfies seven of the ten criteria, including unique human culture and history, wilderness, plants and wildlife, and geology. Only one other site in the world (located in China) equals this number and none exceed it. There’s a lot to explore; Tasmania’s World Heritage Area comprises 1.38 million hectares, or about 20 per cent of the entire State.
Huon Pine only grows in the wet, temperate rainforests of Southwest Tasmania. On our cruises, we see it most often lining the steeper, darker, wetter gullies of the many rivers draining into the estuary. This species of tree was once a prize target for 'piners', an intrepid band of men who felled and transported prized Huon pine for ship-building. Huon Pine is still used today in boat building, cabinetry work and furniture making, but the harvesting of this wood is strictly managed by Forestry Tasmania.
Explore with people who know this wilderness intimately. Find our more about your expert guide and skipper.
Our itineraries are fluid, moulded by wind and weather, time and tide and the interests of our individual guests.
Your boutique floating hotel, custom-built by Tasmanian owner and operator for this Southwest experience