Jan – April, 2017
Someday we’ll do in-depth blog posts about Tasmania, but for now I just wanted to do a few general posts for anyone who’s interested, to give an idea of what cruising Tasmania’s like and why we loved it. I’ve done one post so far touching on some of the east and south coasts, and a bit of Hobart (here). Now, finally, here’s the next one (two or three more will follow).
After three wonderful weeks spent sightseeing and eating our way through Hobart–the pizza! the burgers! the seafood (damn)! the bread (that good)! the cheese (France has nothing on Tasmania)! the beer (Moo Brew and Denzel Frothington are big faves)! the wine (Tassie makes excellent ones)! the produce (including eating fresh wild blackberries picked from bushes that grew alongside sidewalks)!, the Asian noodles!, and other foods to numerous to mention–we reluctantly dragged ourselves away from this beautiful, historic city and garden of culinary delights.
Sightseeing highlights in and around Hobart were many, including touring wineries in Coal Valley, visiting beautiful Mount Field national park, going to the top of impressively-high Mount Wellington overlooking Hobart, and seeing the MONA museum which exceeded our expectations (and is one of maybe two museums in the world that hasn’t bored the heck out of Rich).
After Hobart, the next phase of our trip began when we traveled down the 25-mile long D’Entrecasteaux Channel. It’s a waterway that lies between the southeast coast of Tasmania and a long, hilly island called Bruny Island.
For those who live in Hobart, this well-loved cruising ground is the go-to place for boating trips. It’s well protected from sea conditions, has lots of anchorages, pretty towns, the lovely Huon River, and it benefits from Hobart’s pleasant summer climate: warm, sunny and rather dry. Between the green and mountainous west side of the channel and drier, hilly and grassy Bruny Island, there’s something for everyone.
We’d planned to spend about 12 days in the area, but along came a weather window to Port Davey (our next destination) that we couldn’t refuse. Our 12 days became five, but we made the most of them, enjoying warm sunny afternoons sampling the incredible oysters, cheese, sourdough bread (even better than Hobart–which is saying a lot), and beer on golden-grassy Bruny Island, going up the Huon River to pretty Port Cygnet, wine tasting in the charming and pretty little seaside town of Dover, and taking in the remote beauty of Southport. Finally, we spent a day in the beautiful and remote Recherche Bay before making the jump to the west coast of Tasmania. Above, an interactive map showing our stops, some of which were just for an hour or two.
Below, a photo gallery of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel area, Dover, Southport, and Recherche Bay. (Click to enlarge and scroll through photos.)
It was a shame to have to blow through this area so quickly, but the clock was ticking, not only on our visa but also for summer weather on the west coast, notorious for its potentially windy winter (including late fall and spring) conditions. We looked forward to seeing the jewel in the crown of cruising Tasmania: Port Davy, accessible only by boat or small plane.
And so we set out from Recherche Bay, down around the SW end of Tasmania and up a portion of the west coast. One local guy, hearing our plans, said, “Wow, that’s a dangerous trip!” Many others had seemed to wince at the idea of our going up the wild and wooly west coast. It seems a long history of boats ignoring or not knowing weather forecasts (and needing to be rescued as a result) has permeated the consciousness here–so many people seem terrified of this area of the ocean. As you can see from the photos below, being willing to wait for an appropriate weather window can result in a long day of motoring in calm seas, much preferable to sailing in gale conditions. Our main concern was having enough sunscreen.
Here, a photo from rounding the dreaded Southwest Cape of Tasmania.–Cyndi