In Lonely Planet’s newly published 1000 Ultimate Adventures, Tasmania’s Bathurst Harbour has been named among the world’s 10 ‘epic sea-kayak paddles’. It’s not difficult to see why, in this place that belies numbers. Deep inside the state’s World Heritage-listed Southwest wilderness, it’s little more than 100km from Hobart and yet you feel centuries away. When I kayaked here two summers ago, we paddled for a week and didn’t see another person or boat until the final day – and then it was a barge carrying in a bulldozer to grade the remote airstrip at Melaleuca.
This photo was taken early morning in Forest Lagoon, with the gorgeous and dominant Mt Rugby rising behind. It wasn’t where we intended to be that morning, but we’d been forced to retreat from the open waters of Port Davey by approaching 25-knot easterlies that were certain to slow our return through the Bathurst Narrows.
In the two days before, in Port Davey, we’d splashed through 4m swells around the Breaksea Islands and Spain Bay. The first day, it was rough and wild, drenching us in spray. The next day, it was rolling smooth mountains of water. Everything here is in constant change, as weather hurries through, and never more so than on the morning of this photo.
The previous day, we’d punched into the 25-knot winds as we retreated through the Narrows, hiding behind every headland to recuperate from the effort and swear a little. Finally, after hours of fight, we turned into Forest Lagoon. And then, the next morning, this… glass-smooth water, barely a puff of breeze. Reward for effort.
* Kayaking trips in Bathurst Harbour are operated by Roaring 40°s.