Bathurst Harbour

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WorldAustraliaTasmaniaBathurst Harbour


Bathurst Harbour
43°20.560'S, 146°10.540'E Chart icon.png
lat=-43.342667 | lon=146.175667 | zoom=12 | y
Bathurst Harbour Tasmania.jpg
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Bathurst harbour - SW Tasmania

Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour together provide a large world class temperate cruising ground. These two areas lie in the middle of Tasmania's World Heritage South West National Park.

Access is a challenge as the south and west coasts of Tasmania are fully exposed to the Southern Ocean. To the west, there is no land until you reach Argentina, to the south, the next land is Antarctica. There are few civilised facilities in the area and no permanent residents. There are no roads, although there is an unsealed airstrip at Melaleuca. Several walking tracks converge on this area, but the walk back to civilisation takes up to a week.

There is a huge number of anchorages spread around the shores of Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour and these provide great opportunities to explore the surrounding wilderness.

Port Davey is a large bay, mostly open to the west and experiencing the full effect of the westerly swell, but there are sheltered bays around the edge which provide sheltered anchorage.

The Breaksea Islands provide a natural barrier which shields the Bathurst Channel from the swell and this channel has numerous excellent anchorages along its length.

After 8 miles, Bathurst Channel opens out into Bathurst Harbour, a large inland waterway. The Harbour is quite shallow at around 5 or 6 metres, but mostly free from dangers. There are several good, interesting anchorages around the harbour.

Melaleuca Inlet lies in the SW corner of Bathurst Harbour and can be navigated (with care) by most vessels for 3 miles to the settlement of Melaleuca where the airstrip is situated.

Cruising the region

Because these waterways are within a World Heritage Area and National Park, there are some restrictions on anchoring, use of motors, diving and fishing. These are not onerous and those who sail with a clean wake will not be troubled by them.

Boats visiting this area should be prepared to be self sufficient in fuel, food and spares for an extended period of time. Good water is available from several sources. There is no guarantee that a suitable weather window for return along the south coast will be available when needed, so all vessels should carry an adequate reserve of supplies.

Note that there are strong tidal flows in Bathurst Channel, especially in those areas that are particularly narrow. The water in Bathurst Channel and Harbour is heavily stained from its passage through the local button grass. This strong discolouration makes it impossible to assess depth by eye. Keep a close eye on your charts, your depth sounder and travel slowly in doubtful areas, especially those that have not been charted. Most of the anchorages in Bathurst Channel and Harbour are tenacious mud. Your anchor and chain will be liberally coated when you retrieve them.

The whole area is a national park. No pets are allowed. No dogs, no cats.

Charts

See Tasmania.

Weather

A Typical SW Tasmania Day

While most of the pictures show Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour on beautiful clear days, this picture shows the normal weather in Claytons Corner. Be prepared for extended periods of wet and windy weather.

Sea breezes tend to blow from the west and can be strong from noon on.

Sources for Weather forecasts:

  • Weather forecasts are provide several times a day by Coast Radio Hobart on HF and VHF frequencies. There is a VHF repeater on Maatsuyker Island which broadcasts on channel 82. Reception of this channel in the Port Davey / Bathurst Harbour varies with your location and may depend on the height of your aerial. Clear line of sight through to Maatsuyker provides best reception.

Passages

Communication

See Australia.

Navigation

Access to Bathurst Harbour from Port Davey is via the 8 mile long Bathurst Channel. This channel is generally deep. Where it is narrow, tidal flows can be very strong. This especially applies in Bathurst Narrows and in the gap between Joan Point and Farrell Point.

Berthing

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

None.

Anchorages

The Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service proved guidelines for visitors. In particular, see the map of the Port Davey Marine Reserve. Note the restrictions on anchoring, diving, fishing, motorised boating and any boating in some sensitive areas.

Bathurst Channel

The Waterfall in Bathurst Channel

Waterfall Bay

Waterfall Bay/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Waterfall_Bay
Anchorage icon Waterfall Bay [[Bathurst Harbour#Waterfall Bay|Waterfall Bay]] DD.dddDD.ddd
Anchor in about 6 metres of water on a sand bottom, close to the waterfall. This anchorage is sheltered in all but strong easterly winds. The main value in anchoring here is to take on water from the waterfall. This can be done by maneuvering alongside the black poly pipe structure below the waterfall and using the hose provided.
Schooner Cove in Bathurst Channe

Schooner Cove

Schooner Cove/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Schooner_Cove
Anchorage icon Schooner Cove [[Bathurst Harbour#Schooner Cove|Schooner Cove]] DD.dddDD.ddd
Schooner Cove is an excellent anchorage in Bathurst Channel. It is sheltered in all except strong easterly weather. Anchorage in 4 metres plus on a mud bottom. There is an aboriginal ochre mine and midden on the eastern side of the Cove. Note that there is a covered rock in the middle of the bay, normally marked by a pole. There are good walks on to the surrounding hillsides, all rewarded with great views.
Wombat cove in Bathurst Channel

Wombat Cove

Wombat Cove/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Wombat_Cove
Anchorage icon Wombat Cove [[Bathurst Harbour#Wombat Cove|Wombat Cove]] DD.dddDD.ddd
Wombat Cove is a pleasant small anchorage on the north side of Bathurst Channel. Anchorage is in about 4 metres on a sand bottom. This anchorage is sheltered from all wind directions, but there is very limited swinging room.

Parker Bay

Parker Bay/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Parker_Bay
Anchorage icon Parker Bay [[Bathurst Harbour#Parker Bay|Parker Bay]] DD.dddDD.ddd
This small bay is primarily a day anchorage for those wishing to visit the grave of Critchley Parker who died here in 1942. Anchorage can be found in about 4 metres of water in the middle of the bay.

Joe Page Bay

Joe Page Bay/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Joe_Page_Bay
Anchorage icon Joe Page Bay [[Bathurst Harbour#Joe Page Bay|Joe Page Bay]] DD.dddDD.ddd

To visit the Spring River requires anchoring in a relatively exposed position in Joe Page Bay. It is possible to anchor in about 4m, soft mud not far from the river mouth. Approaching the anchorage, be aware of the rock about 200 metres south of Cone Island and the islands and reefs to the east of Hehir Island.

Note: that Manwoneer Inlet and the lower reaches of the Spring River are areas frequented by Black Swans. You should try to avoid disturbing these birds if at all possible. Most of Manwoneer Inlet is very shallow, with large areas drying at low tide. The channel though the Inlet is indicated by a series of poles, though these have clearly not been maintained for some time. The River beyond the Inlet is restricted to non motorised vessels. While it is possible to row a dinghy for about one and a half miles beyond this point, it is not necessary to do this to see the most interesting aspects of the river. A short distance beyond entrance to the River, there is a large bay on the eastern side. Ruins of 19th century Huon Pining activities are to be found at the head of this bay.
Horseshoe Inlet

Horseshoe Inlet

Horseshoe Inlet/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Horseshoe_Inlet
Anchorage icon Horseshoe Inlet [[Bathurst Harbour#Horseshoe Inlet|Horseshoe Inlet]] DD.dddDD.ddd
Horseshoe Inlet is a very sheltered anchorage, but requires considerable care in negotiating its narrow entrance. There is a rock on the NE side of the entrance which should be avoided. There is limited swinging room in the Inlet and a shore line might be worth considering in some circumstances. The rest of the Inlet can be explored by dinghy and Balmoral Hill can be climbed easily using a track which leaves the bank opposite the anchorage. A small bay outside the entrance can be visited by dinghy and this gives access to the very picturesque Balmoral Beach. Though tempting, this small bay does appear to be suitable as an anchorage as it has very poor holding.

Ila Bay

Ila Bay/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Ila_Bay
Anchorage icon Ila Bay [[Bathurst Harbour#Ila Bay|Ila Bay]] 43°20.136'S, 146°05.251'E

Anchorage can be found on a mud bottom, about 6 metres depth. Note that there is an uncharted reef on the western side of the bay about 1/3 of a mile north of Farrell Point. This bay is suited to northerly conditions.

There is a dinghy landing at Point Farrell (and Point Joan) to allow bush walkers to cross Bathurst Channel. Boats are permanently located at both spots.

Landing at Point Farrell at the dinghy ramp gives access to this section of the Scotts Peak - Port Davey track. 3/4 hour easy walking leads to Lindsay Hill which can be climbed from the track without difficulty. This provides excellent views of Joe Page Bay and the Bathurst Channel.
Clytie Cove

Clytie Cove

Clytie Cove/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Clytie_Cove
Anchorage icon Clytie Cove [[Bathurst Harbour#Clytie Cove|Clytie Cove]] 43°20.990'S, 146°05.678'E
Clytie Cove is on the southern side of Bathurst Channel, just before the entrance to the Bathurst Narrows. It is an excellent anchorage, well protected from all but strong northerly winds. Mount Rugby forms a very scenic backdrop. Anchor in about 4 metres, mud bottom. Note that Ila Bay on the opposite side of the channel provides a complementary anchorage as it is sheltered from the north. Keep an eye out for eagles that frequent this area. There is a rough track from the small beach at the western side of the head of the bay which leads to the main Melaleuca track. Follow the track for excellent views from the obvious ridge.
Bathurst Narrows

Frogs Hollow

Frogs Hollow/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Frogs_Hollow
Anchorage icon Frogs Hollow [[Bathurst Harbour#Frogs Hollow|Frogs Hollow]] 43°20.903'S, 146°06.070'E
Frogs Hollow lies just inside the western entrance to Bathurst Narrows on the southern side, just beyond Eve point. Depth is around 4 metres and the bottom is sand and mud. This all weather anchorage is a useful base from which to climb Mt Rugby. From the anchorage, dinghy across to Starvation Cove. The Mt Rugby track heads up the prominent ridge. Allow most of a day for the climb. Good footwear and suitable clothing for rough weather are essential for this climb. Note that a weather change could make a return dinghy trip across the Bathurst Narrows very dangerous.

Iola Bay

Iola Bay/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Iola_Bay
Anchorage icon Iola Bay [[Bathurst Harbour#Iola Bay|Iola Bay]] 43°21.229'S, 146°06.817'E
Iola Bay is an alternative base from which to climb Mt Rugby. The bay is small, shallow and there is a rock shelf extending from its southern side. Enter through the narrow entrance with care and anchor in the centre of the bay. To climb Mt Rugby, dinghy to Starvation Bay or to the small bay to the east of Iola on the northern side of the Channel, where the track heads up from a rocky beach. Note that you must not anchor in Bathurst Narrows, apart from in these bays. See the Port Davey Marine Reserve Map for details.

Bathurst Harbour

Kings Point

Kings Point/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Kings_Point
Anchorage icon Kings Point [[Bathurst Harbour#Kings Point|Kings Point]] DD.dddDD.ddd
The bay south of Kings Point offers a very good anchorage in strong westerly conditions. Anchor in about 4 metres on a mud bottom. Expect to take the full blast of the wind, but the holding should be more than adequate. This anchorage is very exposed to the east.
Claytons Corner in Bathurst Harbour

Claytons Corner

Claytons Corner/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Claytons_Corner
Anchorage icon Claytons Corner [[Bathurst Harbour#Claytons Corner|Claytons Corner]] DD.dddDD.ddd
Claytons Corner has the only jetty in the World Heritage area of SW Tasmania. Rain water tanks feed the hose on the jetty. Anchorage is in about 4 metres, with a thick mud bottom. Vessels drawing less than 2 metres should be able to use the western side of the jetty, but only at the outer end. Win & Clydes house and the attached water tanks are maintained by volunteers - please respect the facilities that have been provided. Note that a good track leads from the house to the top of Mt Beattie. This walk takes about an hour and provides excellent views of Bathurst Harbour, the Narrows and Mt Rugby. This is a good alternative short walk for those who don't fancy the day long effort of climbing Mt Rugby. The nearby Celery Top Islands have not experienced fire for hundreds of years and are free of root rot. For this reason , the Parks and Wildlife Service would prefer that people did not visit these islands. If you do choose to go ashore, please only visit the 2nd island and ensure that you have thoroughly cleaned all your walking gear (especially boots) of mud to prevent the transfer of root rot.
Moulters Inlet in Bathurst Harbour

Moulters Inlet

Moulters Inlet/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Moulters_Inlet
Anchorage icon Moulters Inlet [[Bathurst Harbour#Moulters Inlet|Moulters Inlet]] 43°22.229'S, 146°12.806'E
Moulters Inlet is a large, very shallow inlet on the southern side of Bathurst Harbour. Navigate carefully and expect to anchor in only about 2 metres of water on a mud bottom. Explore the Inlet by dinghy and climb the nearby hills for great views.

North Inlet

North Inlet/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#North_Inlet
Anchorage icon North Inlet [[Bathurst Harbour#North Inlet|North Inlet]] 43°18.394'S, 146°09.860'E
Earlier guides mark this area as a possible anchorage, however it is a black swan breeding area and motorised boating is not permitted anywhere north of the two points that form the entrance to the inlet.

Swan Cove and Old River

Swan Cove and Old River/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Swan_Cove_and_Old_River
Anchorage icon Swan Cove and Old River [[Bathurst Harbour#Swan Cove and Old River|Swan Cove and Old River]] 43°19.680'S, 146°13.440'E

Swan Cove is a fairly open anchorage for those planning to explore the Old River by dinghy. It is really only suitable for use on calm days and would be particularly exposed in SW conditions. Use your depth sounder to find a suitable spot near the mouth of the river. The dinghy trip can take several hours and provides an opportunity to explore the lush riverside vegetation. Look for Huon Pines overhanging the river and for Leatherwoods when they are in flower.

If you are feeling adventurous and do not draw more than 2 m, cross the bar and anchor in the Old River. Waypoints from 2012 are: start at WP1/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#WP1World icon.png WP1 [[Bathurst Harbour#WP1|WP1]] 43°19.860'S, 146°12.727'E , head to WP2/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#WP2World icon.png WP2 [[Bathurst Harbour#WP2|WP2]] 43°19.752'S, 146°13.032'E , then turn towards WP3/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#WP3World icon.png WP3 [[Bathurst Harbour#WP3|WP3]] 43°19.680'S, 146°13.452'E , and anchor alongside the point.

Kings Jetty, Melaleuca Inlet

Kings Jetty, Melaleuca Inlet/wiki/Bathurst_Harbour#Kings_Jetty.2C_Melaleuca_Inlet
Anchorage icon Kings Jetty, Melaleuca Inlet [[Bathurst Harbour#Kings Jetty, Melaleuca Inlet|Kings Jetty, Melaleuca Inlet]] DD.dddDD.ddd
Melaleuca Inlet can be easily traversed by dinghy. If you wish to take your boat to Melaleuca, some care is required. Ideally, make the trip when the tide is high and still rising. A draft of 2 metres is probably the limit in most conditions. Generally follow standard river rules to find the deepest water. There are two lagoon areas to traverse. There are sticks marking the channel across these lagoons. Heading upstream, these sticks should be kept close (very close!!) to your port side. There is a 5 knot speed limit in most of the Inlet, but if you hit the mud at 5 knots, you may become a permanent feature. At the end of the Inlet, there is a pile structure against the northern bank. This was the permanent mooring for Deny King's boat, Melaleuca. This is the end of navigable water. The structure has deteriorated and is unsafe for mooring, though some boats were still using it (at their own risk!)in 2014. New mooring piles have been installed at the 'heavy landing', approximately 500 m down the Inlet from the old mooring, but the piles are at such an angle to the bank that you may have to stand off from them (somehow) to prevent your hull from rubbing on them below the waterline. An alternative is to anchor in the narrow channel opposite the old mooring, possibly running a line ashore. From here, it is a short dinghy ride up the Melaleuca Creek to the landing by the airstrip. Note that no vessels are permitted in Melaleuca Lagoon.
Facilities
Water Volunteers have refurbished Win and Clyde Clayton's house and its jetty in Clayton's Corner. Most vessels will find it possible to moor alongside the outer end of the jetty (western side is deepest). The roof of the house collects rain water to the tanks and this is piped to the jetty. Note that this is the only clear water in the area and others may need it as well, so only take what you really need, especially if the weather has been dry for a while
Electricity None available
Toilets ?
Showers ?
Laundry N/A (Not Available)
Garbage There are no garbage disposal facilities with the World Heritage Area. Basically, if you sail into the area with it on board, sail out with it on board

Parks and Wildlife prefer that holding tanks be used within the Bathurst Channel and Harbour area

Supplies
Fuel None available
Bottled gas ?
Chandlers ?
Services
Repairs No facilities at all
Internet None
Mobile connectivity ?
Vehicle rentals No roads, no cars

Provisioning

None.

Eating out

N/A (Not Available).


Transportation

  • Access to the Port Davey area is by foot (up to a weeks walk), boat or by air to the Melaleuca airstrip. In summer, Par Avion run regular flights and in winter, occasional flights from Hobart airport. Note that Par Avion run tours from Melaleuca out into Bathurst Harbour and beyond using fast runabouts. If you intend having visitors join you, they will deliver them to your boat at Claytons Corner.

Tourism

History

Give a short history of the port.

Places to Visit

List places of interest, tours, etc.

Friends

Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

Forums

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

Links

References & Publications

  • J. Brettingham-Moore, Cruising Tasmania, Shadrach P/L, ISBN 9780731633319
  • ROYAL YACHT CLUB OF TASMANIA, Tasmanian Anchorage Guide, ROYAL YACHT CLUB OF TASMANIA, ISBN xxxxxxxxxxxx
The Anchorage guide is produced to enable passage planning and provides details of possible shelter available around the Tasmanian coast.
  • Port Davey Marine Reserve Map and Notes - Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service (available from Service Tasmania).

An insight into the recent European history of the Port Davey and Bathurst harbour area can be found in:

Comments

We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

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