Eager for adventure – but not so keen on roughing it?
We tailor each cruise to suit your particular interests, guided by the weather. The experience can be as active or as relaxing as you like – there are plenty of opportunities to go ashore for walking, beachcombing and birdwatching, or you may prefer to choose a soft lounge aboard the Odalisque, sip a boutique Tasmanian beer and take in the wilderness scenery from a soft lounge aboard Odalisque.
The onboard expert wilderness guide & skipper, who know everything there is to know about the history, plants and wildlife of the area, will plan your shore excursions daily. The next day’s adventures are often the topic of conversation around the dinner table the night before.
We’ve included a sample itinerary below to whet your appetite and aid your imagination.
A 4-Day Sample Itinerary
Day 1 – Melaleuca to the Breaksea Islands
Your experience with Tasmanian Boat Charter’s begins at Cambridge Airport, the gateway to the South West Wilderness. 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.
Your guided experience starts as soon as you step off the plane. We’ll begin with a tour of the cultural & historical sites around Melaleuca, including the old tin mine & the newly built Melaleuca Museum. We’ll then take you on an Aboriginal heritage walk, which shares the story of the Needwonnee people of the Southwest with innovative interpretive installations along a new 1.2km boardwalk. The path weaves its way through the forest and buttongrass plains beside Melaleuca lagoon. We’ll also visit the Orange Bellied Parrot viewing hide, where there may be the chance to spot this critically endangered animal & the measures being taken to save this beautiful creature.
From the jetty at Melaleuca, we’ll travel by tender through the mirrored waters of Melaleuca Inlet to Odalisque, your floating home for the next 3 days. You’ll be greeted aboard by your chef, who has prepared a delicious lunch of fine Tasmanian fare. This all goes very nicely with a boutique Tasmanian beer or a glass of fine Tasmanian wine.
Sit back, relax and soak up the scenery while the Odalisque travels slowly through Bathurst Harbour & the aptly named Narrows to an anchorage at Casilda Cove or Horseshoe Inlet. We’ll use the afternoon to travel ashore for a short 30min walk up Balmoral Hill. From the top there’s a spectacular view 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. There’s also the opportunity to view the gravesite of Critchley Parker, where your guide will tell you of his doomed but romantic tale of exploration.
Back aboard Odalisque, we’ll slowly motor further towards the mouth of Port Davey to an anchorage for the night, possibly Schooner or Bramble Cove depending on the weather. The days are long this far South; it doesn’t get dark here until after 9pm. So we’ve got lots of time before dinner to fill with chatting, storytelling and relaxing over pre-dinner drinks & nibbles. We have boutique Tasmanian Moo Brew beer on tap and a great range of Tasmanian wines. We can spend the last of the daylight setting up night vision motion detection cameras ashore. Then it’s back to the Odalisque to enjoy a gastronomic feast prepared by our onboard chef.
Day 2 or 3 – Old rivers & history
We’ll head out first thing in the morning to collect our motion detection cameras. Back on board we’ll set up TV viewing so that you can find out what the animals were up to last night while you were sleeping. While you watch the footage over breakfast, Odalisque will slowly cruise to a new destination: Payne Bay. We have the opportunity today to explore the winding, tree lined bends of Davey River aboard our jet boat. This remote & beautiful river is the only major river system in Australia totally untouched by man. Keep your eye out for Huon Pine growing on the river banks.
We’ll have a gourmet picnic lunch ashore at Larson’s rocks, one of the many beautiful harbour beaches, and after lunch we can wander along Bond Bay shoreline to view aspects of both Aboriginal and European culture.
On our way to Odalisque’s next anchorage, we’ll explore the coastline around Ashley Point. You’ll see amazing rock arches and stunning rock formations including the Marvourneen Rocks, plus blowholes and caves.
Anchorage options for the evening include Wombat Bay or Schooner Cove. After some time relaxing aboard, we have the option up to hike up a nearby peak for some amazing views. There are several great hikes in the area between 2-3hours return. We’ll pick one depending on your preference. The 1hr hike up Mt Milner is rewarded with spectacular views over the harbour’s entrance and Spain Bay, the Breaksea Islands and Big Caroline Rock. Other walking destinations include Morning Hill, Mt O’Brien and Mt Stokes.
Day 2 or 3 – Coastal beaches & hidden inlets
We’ll set out early on a nice, calm day to explore the nearby waters & coastline beyond the protected harbour of Port Davey. In the tender, we’ll cruise through the rushing channels of the aptly named Breaksea Islands, exploring their rocky & wave battered coastline, blowholes and hidden sea caves.
Our journey around the coast offers a spectacle of unchanged majesty – wave cut rock formations, gulches, petite inlets, sweepings bays and sand dunes many thousand of years in the making. We’ll head ashore on the impossibly remote Spain Bay. From here, we’ll traverse a deserted, prehistoric and undulating landscape and emerge through a thick clump of forest to one of the world’s most spectacular beaches at Stephens Bay. We’ll enjoy a gourmet picnic hamper nestled somewhere in the white sands of this 4km long beach. Keep your eye out for ground parrots, wombats and Sea Eagles today. We can wander further along the beach to explore ancient Aboriginal middens hidden in the dunes.
Returning to Spain Bay, we can venture into Hannat Inlet. The waters here are beautifully calm and warm – the perfect spot for a swim! It’s also a favourite nesting site for swans and waterfowl, so we’ve got a good chance of spotting these birds.
Back aboard Odalisque there’s time to relax & soak up the scenery as we slowly cruise to a different anchorage. Potential options for tonight’s sunset views include Ila Bay, Cyltie Cove or Eve Point.
Day 2 or 3 – Beyond the beyond
Today the Odalisque will venture into the Southern Ocean. Our destination is Maatsuuyker Island, Tasmania’s most southerly island. Take in the wild & rugged southwest coastline as we make the 2.5hr journey south to the very edge of the Southwest National Park and World Heritage Area.
Maatsuyker Island is part of a group of islands & 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 place! Which is why we make sure we only go in the right weather.
Get a real taste for life on this wind-battered, far-flung South West island when we head ashore. Our arrival will be with met with interest by many curious eyes from the nearby fur seal colony. The steep 45min climb up the slopes of the island is well worth the amazing views out over the nearby islands including De Witt, Flat Top, Round Top, Flat Witch Islands and a picturesque succession of triangular rocks called The Needles. We’ll have the opportunity to explore Australia’s most southerly lighthouse and to meet the volunteer caretakers who man the lighthouse
This area will be a favourite amongst bird lovers. Sea birds present include the critically endangered northern soft plumaged petrel, short-tailed shearwaters, fairy prions, black-faced cormorants, little penguins, albatross and common diving-petrels.
Heading back down the slopes of Maatsuyker, we’ll re-board the Odalisque and make the journey back to the calm waters of Port Davey for a quiet dinner over sunset.
The journey to Maatsuyker Island is subject to a $250/hr fuel levy, to be shared between all guests.
Day 2 or 3 – Birds & Buttongrass
It’s been a big few days packed with adventure thus far, so if you like, we can take the opportunity for a bit of a sleep in. We’ll have a relaxing morning, making our way to explore the beaches at Whalers Point. There are amazing views from here back over the whole of Port Davey. And if it’s a sunny day, it’s the perfect spot for a swim!
After a tasty lunch aboard Odalisque we’ll head back ashore again to walk to Paradise Lagoon. The walk will take us through low buttongrass country. You’ll be one of only a handful of people, perhaps the only ones this year, to visit this remote area. Paradise Lagoon is a pristine habitat for ducks & swans, its waters bordering right on the edge of the wild west coast. From the lagoon we can walk to Sandblow Bay, where you can dip your toes into the waters of the Southern Ocean.
Returning to the boat, replenish your energies with scrumptious, hearty fare & relax over a drink as Odalisque slowly makes her way to the mooring at Kings Point for the evening.
Day 2 or 3 – Conquer Mt Rugby
Mt Rugby dominates the landscape wherever you are in Port Davey, and today we have the opportunity to climb this mountain. The journey is a 6hr return walk for fit walkers, whose efforts will be rewarded with top-of-the-world vistas of distant ranges, wave-wasted coastlines and languid waterways.
For those guests less vertically inclined, we can spend the day touring on the jet boat around the coastline of Bathurst Harbour. We’ll motor up Old River, a pristine riverine environment where you’ll get the chance to see Azure Kingfishers and Huon pine, and will spend the day making mini-missions ashore to explore various historical and cultural sites. We’ll have lunch at Fulton Cove, a peaceful, lovely destination.
All guests will meet back aboard Odalisque, swap stories from their day and share photos after their various adventures. We’ll motor back to Odalisque’s original mooring, while you chat and soak up the view. Sunset drinks will be on one of the beautiful, tree-lined beaches on the Celery Top Islands. Soak up the picturesque views of Mt Rugby at sunset before we head back to Odalisque for dinner.
Day 4 – Bathurst Harbour
Following breakfast, we’ll head ashore for the morning to explore Clayton’s Corner. Here you’ll find nestled into the edges of the rainforest 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. This is site is also the launching pad for a number of great walks. A short walk takes you up to the top of TV Hill, which offers wonderful views over Bathurst Harbour, Melaleuca Inlet, the Celery Top Islands and Mt Rugby. If you’d like to stretch your sea legs a little further, we’ve also got the option to climb Mt Beattie (2.5hrs return) for more expansive views of the waterways and surrounding peaks.
After one last meal aboard Odalisque, we’ll make the journey from your floating home back up Melaleuca Inlet to the jetty. Time allowing, we’ll have one more chance to spot the Orange Bellied Parrot before your return flight departs from Melaleuca.
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Our itineraries are fluid, moulded by wind and weather, time and tide and the interests of our individual guests.
Explore with people who know this wilderness intimately. Find our more about your expert guide and skipper.
Tailor your itinerary with an endless list of activities including jet boat excursions, walking, beachcombing…
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