Tasmania’s entire south coast is part of the Southwest National Park. The park, the largest in Tasmania at over six hundred thousand hectares of wild, inspiring country, epitomises the grandeur and spirit of wilderness in its truest sense. Much of it is remote and far removed from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. For many, just the fact that such a place still exists brings solace. For others, like owners of stout well founded vessels, the region offers the challenge to explore areas that retain the same wildness that once characterised new frontiers. Many of the vessels making the passage either to or from Tasmania’s East Coast make the voyage in one long day. But there are several places to stop along the way, if the weather allows.
1/ Maritime Tasmania – A Cruising Guide with historical notes and coastal photography by J. Brettingham-Moore. 1988.
2/ King of the Wilderness by Christobel Mattingley – Much of this area is described. Deny King walked and sailed his vessel along this coast countless time in his fifty years living self-sufficiently in the rugged Tasmanian south-west.
South Coast Weather:
In summer, when a big high-pressure cell comes over Tasmania, its south coast can have up to a week of calm weather. There may still be heavy southern ocean swell, but then again, it might be flat, giving a great opportunity to explore the South Coast. Modern forecasting gives ample warning. But even if the weather turns foul, the distance to good shelter is hours not days away. Recherche Bay is good in bad westerly conditions, although some swell may be felt. Further north into Southport is heavenly. If heading west, make your move in time to be inside Bathurst Harbour or turn back for Recherche.
All GPS positions are Approximate.
43°31.79’S ~ 146°06.87’E
Shelter from W through N to NE in 4 – 5 m sand with weed.
May be swell affect. Fine weather anchorage.
Banyandah found shelter here after a NW rain squall. Exquisite.
43°30.42’S ~ 146°08.90’E
Shelter from SW through N to E in 6 – 8 m sand. May be swell affected.
Some fishermen sit out SW gales here, but that might be a bit frightening. Maatsuyker Island and its light are in sight from an amazing beautiful bay that can have a small break on the beach. There is a well formed track to South West Cape, taking several days, accessible from west end of beach. Access New Harbour from either side of Inner Rocks; can break in heavy swell.
1/ The Gap
43°38.27’S ~ 146°16.64’E outside kelp beds
Shelter from SW through W to NW in 18 – 24 m rock, sand, and kelp. Can be swell affected. Fishermen use this in gales; we’ve seen a video of cray boat anchored in 50 knots.
2/ Haulage Cove,
We didn’t stop, but the walk to the lighthouse starts here.
Suppose to have shelter from S to NNW in sand at the head of the cove.
Approx position. 43°38.7’S ~ 146°16.7’E
1/ Louisa Island,
43°31.88’S ~ 146°21.47’E
Shelter from N through S to SSW in 6 – 8 m sand. Fine weather
Scenically beautiful spot but quite rollie.
There is a rock and foul ground off west end, and watch for breaking water when approaching spit joining island to mainland on east end.
2/Anchorage Cove,we’d try here next time.
Shelter from SSW to N in 6 – 8 m sand with patches of kelp.
Also affected by swell. Approx position 43°31.7’S ~ 146°19.5’E
Sailing directions to Recherche Bay,
From south is clear except for extensive kelp off Fishers Point, keep ½ mile clear.
From the north, easiest route, from abeam Actaeon Island light, track 190° T to pass outside kelp beds til just past Sterile Island. Then 257° T which will miss Blind Reef to south, to midway of Recherche Bay, watching Kelly Rocks, awash on west point.
1/ Cockle Creek
43°34.83’S ~ 146°53.56’E
Shelter from E through S to NW in 5 – 8 m sand.
Foreshore walk to ruins of Sawyers Arm Hotel
Start of South Coast walk, can walk to South Cape Bay and return in half a day.
Pleasant stretch along dirt road to Catamaran to view d’Entrecasteaux Watering Place.
NOTE: Give Pearl Rocks a wide berth either side
2/ Coalbins Bay,
43°33.88’S ~ 146°53.55’E
Shelter from SSW through N to NE in 4 – 7 m sand. Patches of kelp.
Exposed to more swell.
3/ Pigsties Bay,
43°32.11’S ~ 146°54.10’E
Shelter from all winds in 4 – 7 m mud
Tight entrance passing close east of Shag Rock.
1/ Off the town,
43°26.09’S ~ 146°58.36’E
Shelter from W through N to E in 3 – 6 m sand
Near jetty, general store and telephone. Really pleasant small village.
Easy entry, watch kelp bed in middle of bay.
2/ Deep Hole
43°27.20’S ~ 146°58.14’E
Shelter from SSE through W to NW in 6 – 10 m sand.
Good flathead fishing. Excellent walk to monument marking wreck of the convict ship George III.
TWO NEW BOOKS from Jack and Jude
Where Wild Winds Blow – An Exploration of the Islands and Coastline Exposed to the Great Southern Ocean under Australia
Practical Boat Bits and Tips – One hundred quick and easy ideas, illustrated. Refined in our forty years afloat.
© 2020 Tujays Publications