Into the WILD

An EX­CLU­SIVE pocket of south-west Tas­ma­nia begs to be EX­PLORED by foot, boat and FROM THE SKIES.

Australian Traveller - - Getaways The Golden Outback -

TAS­MA­NIA IS RENOWNED for its nat­u­ral won­ders, but the re­al­ity still comes as a beau­ti­ful shock to many trav­ellers. This is par­tic­u­larly true of South­west Na­tional Park. Stretch­ing over 4500 square kilo­me­tres, the park forms part of the in­ter­na­tion­ally sig­nif­i­cant Tas­ma­nian Wilder­ness World Her­itage Area, and its vast un­touched land­scape leaves vis­i­tors awe in­spired. De­spite these cre­den­tials, it is still a se­cret to many, but that’s part of the ap­peal. South­west Na­tional Park is re­mote – no one lives there – and ac­cess is chal­leng­ing, un­less you re­cruit Par Avion to help you ex­pe­ri­ence the area’s once-in-a-life­time magic. Par Avion runs South­west Wilder­ness Camp, an ex­clu­sive site lo­cated right on the shores of the mir­ror-like Bathurst Har­bour. And when we said the park was vast, we meant it: the Port Davey/Bathurst Har­bour Ma­rine Re­serve is three times the size of Syd­ney Har­bour. The camp is the epit­ome of ‘lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion’. Ar­rival and de­par­ture also rank as high­lights, with ae­rial views of Fed­er­a­tion Peak, the Western Arthur Range, Pre­cip­i­tous Bluff and Tas­ma­nia’s rugged South Coast all part and par­cel of the mag­nif­i­cent flight aboard Par Avion’s twin-en­gine air­craft. Your first stop is Me­laleuca, an aban­doned tin-min­ing set­tle­ment where rare and en­dan­gered or­ange-bel­lied par­rots are part of the charm. After morn­ing tea and a stroll, you hop a boat bound for the rain­for­est camp via the sparkling wa­ter­ways of the Port Davey Ma­rine Re­serve, with its 800-me­tre moun­tains ris­ing from the sea. South­west Wilder­ness Camp lies just be­yond, of­fer­ing up a range of ex­pe­ri­ences over mul­ti­ple days (a typ­i­cal itin­er­ary com­prises three days and two nights). Its bou­tique camp huts, lo­cated in the for­est, are warm and com­fort­able. Queen beds with lux­u­ri­ous linens, fluffy doonas and nat­u­ral woollen blan­kets set the scene to snug­gle up when the weather turns crisp. Gourmet meals show­cas­ing the fa­mous lo­cal food and wine are thought­fully pre­pared by your guides as a de­li­cious in­clu­sion. While it may seem easy to get side­tracked by such lux­u­ries, the pris­tine wilder­ness awaits ex­plo­ration: for­est walks, moun­tain hikes, his­toric sites, and jaw-drop­ping vis­tas. Of the many ac­tiv­i­ties avail­able here, a cruise through the Bathurst Nar­rows and on to the Break­sea Is­lands is among the most pop­u­lar. The cine­matic jour­ney is framed by raw grandeur, as jagged moun­tains and the Break­seas pierce the wild ocean with great

au­thor­ity. Head out to the calm wa­ters on the pro­tected side, where bird life is abun­dant, and on the re­turn leg don’t miss the an­cient Abo­rig­i­nal ochre cave at Schooner Cove. The beauty can be taken in from a dif­fer­ent an­gle with a walk up Mount Beat­tie. Graded easy to mod­er­ate, the re­turn trek takes about two and a half hours and of­fers mag­nif­i­cent, big-sky views of the en­tire park. No mat­ter the van­tage point, Tas­ma­nia’s South­west Wilder­ness Camp is set to take your breath away – with the ad­van­tage that you can re­place it with some of the clean­est air on Earth. Par Avion’s all-in­clu­sive three-day, twonight South­west Wilder­ness Camp itin­er­ary is avail­able from Novem­ber to April and costs $2495 per per­son (sub­ject to change). For more in­for­ma­tion, call 03 6248 5390 or visit par­avion.com.au

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP: Bathurst Har­bour; An or­ange-bel­lied par­rot; Aurora Aus­tralis is some­times view­able from the camp; Fly­ing past the Western Arthur Range; Wilder­ness Camp cui­sine.

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