ROAR­ING 40s KAYAK­ING

Outer Edge - - Australian Adventures -

The re­flec­tions of the pris­tine Tasmanian wilder­ness are per­fect, right way up and wrong way down. Kayak­ing over th­ese mir­rored im­ages of moun­tain and sky in the morn­ing is like en­ter­ing a med­i­ta­tive state, dis­turbed only by the splash and move­ment of our pad­dles.

The un­canny sen­sa­tion of nav­i­gat­ing be­tween re­al­ity and il­lu­sion wasn’t en­tirely un­ex­pected. It al­ready felt as if we were en­ter­ing an­other di­men­sion on our char­tered flight deep into Tas­ma­nia’s south­west­ern wilder­ness.

De­scend­ing to the gravel run­way at Me­laleuca where we would be­gin our Roar­ing 40ºs Kayak­ing expedition, all 618,000 hectares of this South­west Na­tional Park lay spread en­tic­ingly be­neath us. For seven days our small group would kayak through re­flec­tions on Bathurst Har­bour, surf the swell of the South­ern Ocean, me­an­der along the nu­mer­ous rivers and creeks and walk un­touched beaches and re­mote moun­tain peaks that make up this UNESCO World Her­itage Wilder­ness re­gion.

De­scribed as a place where time stands still and rated by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s 10 epic sea kayak pad­dles, our ex­pec­ta­tions of this trip were high. Grab­bing our bags we hopped off the plane and straight into the wa­ter for our first short kayak down a quiet inlet to the For­est La­goon stand­ing camp. The seren­ity around us was bro­ken only by par­rots screech­ing from tree­tops and the beating wings of star­tled black swans as they took to the sky.

Com­fort­able in sta­ble dou­ble sea-kayaks, our next few days were spent ex­plor­ing the nat­u­ral beauty of an area char­ac­ter­ized by golden-green moun­tain­ous ridges ris­ing steeply from sandy-white quartzite coves and small is­lands that ap­peared to float on the dark and re­flec­tive wa­ter that ul­ti­mately merged with the salty South­ern Ocean.

It’s hard to imag­ine, but be­neath the kayaks in the shel­tered Port Davey Marine Re­serve all is not as it seems. Tan­nin-stained fresh­wa­ter floats above heav­ier tidal salt wa­ter and th­ese two op­pos­ing lay­ers have cre­ated a di­verse un­der­wa­ter en­vi­ron­ment that ex­ists nowhere else in the world. Tan­nin lim­its sun­light pen­e­tra­tion, re­strict­ing plant growth but al­low­ing colour­ful, del­i­cate marine in­ver­te­brates to thrive.

Me­an­der­ing at pad­dling pace, we crossed the pro­tected wa­ters of Bathurst Har­bour with its ex­pan­sive views to the Arthur Range and along Bathurst Nar­rows, a drowned river val­ley lined with beaches nib­bled into the base of moun­tains be­fore reach­ing the tem­pes­tu­ous South­ern Ocean. Here, con­di­tions al­low us to pass be­yond the Break­sea Is­lands to ex­pe­ri­ence the adrenalin of pad­dling in the South­ern Ocean’s mighty swell.

With its com­bi­na­tion of shel­tered wilder­ness har­bours, rugged ocean coast­lines, re­mote is­lands and wild rivers it is no sur­prise this wa­tery wilder­ness has been de­scribed as “the most mag­nif­i­cent pad­dling des­ti­na­tion in Aus­tralia”.

Too soon we found our­selves back on the gravel run­way where il­lu­sion would again be­come re­al­ity on the time-ma­chine that would fly us home.

Roar­ing 40ºs Kayak­ing of­fer 7 and 3 day ex­pe­di­tions into Tas­ma­nia’s Wilder­ness World Her­itage Area.

They also of­fer a range of wilder­ness day tours ex­plor­ing na­tional parks and re­serves close to Ho­bart. Get up close and per­sonal to the south­ern hemi­sphere’s high­est sea cliffs and res­i­dent Aus­tralian fur seals or ex­plore the lichen-cov­ered cliffs and sea caves along Ho­bart’s Der­went River.

Or for a unique ex­pe­ri­ence, pad­dle Ho­bart’s iconic water­front and ex­pe­ri­ence one of the world’s most pic­turesque har­bours from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. Glide past pres­ti­gious homes, mar­vel at tall sail­ing ships and keep an eye out for Sammy the res­i­dent seal. Your dis­cov­ery of Ho­bart wouldn’t be com­plete with­out some lo­cally caught fish and chips from the city’s famed float­ing fish punts. En­joy them with the best view in town - straight from your kayak!

Roar­ing 40ºs Kayak­ing is Tas­ma­nia’s award-win­ning kayak­ing op­er­a­tor and have a tai­lored kayak­ing ad­ven­ture to suit your time-frame and ex­pe­ri­ence level. With an im­pec­ca­ble safety record and a great crew just wait­ing to share a pad­dling ad­ven­ture, con­tact them to­day to be­gin your kayak­ing ad­ven­ture. All tours op­er­ate Novem­ber to April.

www.roar­ing40skayak­ing.com.au

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