I spent most of last week hidden from the world, kayaking on the waters of Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey in Tasmania’s World Heritage-listed Southwest wilderness. It wasn’t the first time I’d paddled here, but familiarity did nothing to blunt the impact of this utterly wild area. A second time here is effectively twice as good.
Few people see Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey quite like those in kayaks. Visitors who fly into the remote airstrip at Melaleuca see a puddle through the plane window. Hikers on the Port Davey Track cross the harbour’s narrowest point, but they get little more than a glimpse, a view that’s dominated by Mt Rugby but is blind to the area’s other treasures.
In the photo above, we were entering Wallaby Bay, sheltering briefly from the 2.5-metre swell that tossed us about the open waters of Port Davey. The arch that frames the bay is enormous and yet it too was just another passing bit of scenery.
For a place seen by so few, there’s so much along this coast. One morning we paddled into the fire-scarred Davey River Gorge, a silent stretch of water that resembled the famed Franklin River. Another day we walked to the largest Aboriginal middens in Tasmania, passing washed-up whale bones and errant Southern Ocean rain showers. As we returned through the Bathurst Narrows, we stopped to climb Mt Stokes and then pressed on through skin-tearing scrub to the summit of Mt Berry, from where it seemed that half of Tasmania was in view, including our entire week across the waters below.
**Adventure before Avarice travelled with Roaring 40s Kayaking.