We have just returned from a month’s sailing trip to Tasmania on our Seawind 1250 – Whiskers! This was our second trip in two years having enjoyed it so much last year that we vouched to return. We left on 8th February and sailed from Martha Cove to Bicheno on the NE Coast in 4 days via Cape Woolamai, Deal Island, and Badger Island (off Flinders Island). Our total sailing time was 52 hours so we made it in good time with the weather in our favour.
After 2 days in Bicheno, we sailed down the east coast of Tasmania past the scenic Freycinet Peninsula and Schouten Island. We spent a night at Riedle Bay, Maria Island then ventured further on towards Tasman Island sailing past the majestic rock cliffs of the Tasman peninsula and into Port Arthur. Sailing that day was exhilarating to say the least with wind around 30 knots from the north giving us a wild ride, surfing down waves, reaching a top speed of 17 knots! When we arrived in the peaceful waters of Port Arthur we were greeted by the magnificent sight of the Golden Princess, a P&O cruiser along with sailing ships Enterprize and Tenacious, an English tall rigger, the latter two returning from Hobart’s wooden boat show.
Our next destination was the Huon River where cruisers can stay in Kermandie marina, Port Huon for free by purchasing a meal at the adjacent pub. No problems! Then on to Franklin which is home of the Wooden Boat School and the Living Boat Trust (a sort of men’s shed for those passionate about wooden boats).
We sat out cold weather in the Huon while Melbourne was also shivering through its coldest weekend in February. We then sailed on down the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to Dover, Southport and Recherche Bay – all ports on the west side of the channel and each with very protected anchorages and beautiful white sandy beaches. From there we went over to South Bruny Island anchoring in Great Taylors Bay where we walked to the Cape Bruny lighthouse. Back on up to Isthmus Bay between North and South Bruny, then Barnes Bay on North Bruny, and finally Kettering which is a huge marina on the NW of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. The D’Entrecasteaux Channel is a sailor’s dream as it runs between ‘mainland’ Tasmania on the west and Bruny Island on the east providing flat water sailing and plenty of protected anchorages in picturesque bays. We made the decision not to visit Hobart as we had spent quite some time there last year. So we began our return journey to Melbourne passaging through the Denison Canal and up the East Coast to Triabunna. After provisioning there we sailed to the absolutely breathtaking anchorage of Bryan’s Corner on the SW of the Freycinet Peninsula. Aqua water and pristine beaches as well as clear rock pools to swim in – we voted it the best anchorage of the trip. Plenty of flathead too!
Our trip home was blessed with Easterly winds so we were able to visit the anchorages of Spike Cove on Clarke Is, and Trouser Point and Roydon Island off Flinders Island. From there we set our course straight to Oberon Bay on Wilsons Prom bypassing Deal Is. Due to strong SE winds, we chose to head to Cowes overnight for protection and were able to pick up a Parks mooring outside the yacht club. The next day we timed our passage to enter Port Phillip Bay on the incoming tide before making our way back to Martha Cove. Our round trip took exactly 4 weeks.
This was a fabulous trip which surpassed our expectations. We were constantly in awe of the spectacular scenery, the fabulous rock formations, the clear waters, in all the raw beauty of this yet unspoilt cruising ground. Make sure you put it on your cruising list but don’t have a tight schedule as weather in this part of the world is extremely unpredictable, February-March probably being the safest bet (and warmest time to travel). We have cruised extensively in Queensland but actually prefer Tasmania and the Bass Strait islands as they are for a start just on our back doorstep and provide some of the most beautiful, pristine anchorages in Australia, if not the world.