Explore Southern Tasmania from the Water
Written by Hobart and Beyond on October 20, 2020
Southern Tasmania is home to secluded bays, peaceful rivers, and wild ocean swells. There are many ways to explore the stunning and varied waterways — from scenic cruises, kayaking adventures, thrilling jet ski or jet boat tours, or luxurious chartered trips. We’ve put together some tips to help you plan your visit.
The Channel & Bruny Island
The relaxing Peppermint Bay Cruise departs from (and returns to) the Brooke Street Pier on Hobart’s historic waterfront. Glide through the Derwent Estuary to the d’Entrecasteaux Channel, admiring stunning scenery and points of interest along the way, including ancient rock formations. Keep an eye out for sea eagles, dolphins and seals. Jump off at Woodbridge for a tasty lunch at the Peppermint Bay Hotel. Gaze across to Bruny Island as you devour dishes inspired by home-grown and local produce.
If you’re feeling adventurous, join Tasmanian Jet Ski Adventures at Coningham to explore spectacular coastline, beautiful beaches, and spot winsome wildlife. Choose from three tours: a leisurely 30-minute run to North Bruny Island; a 1-hour adventure including Bruny Island’s tranquil ‘Duck Pond’; or a 90-minute run to the glass-like waters of Simpsons Bay (The Neck).
SailTas offer relaxing sailing holidays and cruises onboard their spacious yacht, with an experienced skipper and gourmet Tasmanian produce. Discover magnificent scenery and spot a variety of wildlife as you explore the stunning waters around The Channel and Bruny Island. SailTas are based at Kettering, and visitors can choose from twilight sails, day-long sailing adventures, or overnight sailing trips.
Zippy yellow boat
Catch the ferry across to Bruny Island, head to Adventure Bay, and join Bruny Island Cruises for a thrilling 3-hour eco-cruise. Zip-around the rugged coastline of Bruny Island, gaze up at the epic sea cliffs, peer inside deep-sea caves, watch the ‘Breathing Rock’, and speed by ‘The Monument.’ Keep an eye out for dolphins, seals, migrating whales (in season), and seabirds.
If you are into snorkeling or diving, explore a magical underwater world at the Tinderbox Marine Reserve, which incorporates the beach and foreshore at Tinderbox Bay. There’s an underwater snorkel trail suitable for a range of skill levels. It’s also a great spot to head out in the kayak!
For those keen to spend a little more time exploring Bruny Island, experience Southern Sea Ventures 4-day kayaking tour. Paddlers will enjoy secluded coves, sea caves and encounters with fur seals. Evenings are spent at the cozy lodge and filled with tasty Bruny Island produce.
The Huon Valley & Far South
The scenic Huon River winds its way peacefully through the Huon Valley, while the rugged Far South offers a variety of waterways to explore.
Traditional Wooden Ketch
Join Yukon Tours at Franklin for a relaxing 90-minute Calm Water Cruise on the Huon River. Sit back and relax onboard the Yukon or help hoist sail and become part of the experience. Below deck, learn more about the vessel’s restoration and adventures on the high seas. Group bookings and overnight cruises (including to Bruny Island and Port Davey) are also available.
While at Franklin, pop into the Wooden Boat Centre and learn all about the heritage craft of wooden boat building.
Experience the thrill of jet boating on the Huon River with Huon Jet at Huonville. The tour includes a good mix of tricks and thrills (360-degree spins!) as well as time to enjoy the magnificent reflections in the tannin-stained water. If you’re feeling less adventurous, try out their relaxing pedal boats and aqua bikes.
Join Peninsula Cruising for a 45-minute tour of Port Esperance at Dover. Discover the fascinating history, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and gain an insight into Tasmania’s aquaculture industry. Choose from a leisurely cruise around Dover’s beautiful bay or charter the luxurious Indian Coast vessel to take you further afield through the southern-most waters of Australia.
Explore the stunning waters of the Huon Valley and Far South by kayak with Esperance Adventures. All kayaking tours are easy flatwater paddles suitable to all levels of experience (families with children under 10 are best suited to the fun Treasure Hunter Tour). Choose from tours of the Huon River, Lune River, Port Esperance Bay, and Recherche Bay.
If you’re up for an epic adventure, join Roaring 40s Kayaking on a challenging multi-day sea kayaking expedition exploring the wilderness waterways of Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey. Discover sheltered wilderness harbours, rugged ocean coastlines, remote islands, and wild rivers in the magnificent Southwest National Park.
Charter a boat into the Southwest National Park for the trip of a lifetime. Hobart Yachts offer sailing charters from Hobart into Port Davey, with a stopover at Recherche Bay (7 days / 6 nights, but can be customised), while SailTas are available for tailored adventures into Port Davey on their Catalina 42′ yacht. Alternatively, fly into Melaleuca and join Tasmanian Boat Charters on an all-inclusive, guided expedition onboard the Odalisque, a boutique floating hotel.
Set sail on the Derwent, explore the hidden coves or simply enjoy the impressive views of Hobart from the water.
Hit Hobart’s Derwent River with a grand old dame, the Lady Nelson. This majestic tall ship offers 90-minute short sails on the river where you can relax and take in the scenery or get involved with sailing the ship. For those keen to go beyond the safety of the river, there are also 2, 3 and 5 day experiences for you to enjoy.
Alternatively, you can sail away on Australia’s oldest working tall ship, the Rhona H which offers day sails, twilight sails or sailing adventures to Bruny Island along the beautiful channel. For those keen for a New Years Eve not to forget, the Rhona is also available for an evening cruise so you can get the best vantage point for the fireworks show!
Explore Hobart’s waterways on Pennicott Wilderness Journey’s Iron Pot Cruise. Cruise down the river and take in the city sights before making your way to the Iron Pot, Australia’s oldest lighthouse and hear about the cities maritime history.
Take in the action of the River Derwent or experience Southern Tasmania’s dramatic coastline on a retired Sydney to Hobart cruiser with Hobart Yachts. Their charters range from full-day to overnight cruises or, for a unique experience, Hobart Yachts have a 3 day Sydney to Hobart Race Cruise which takes in all the action of the final leg of the famous race!
Watch Hobart’s city light glitter over the water and enjoy dinner with a view with Hobart Historic Cruises. Their dinner cruise includes a three-course meal and views that are hard to beat. The ‘Spirit of Hobart’ vessel also has harbour cruises where you can enjoy a tour up or down the river taking in all the sights.
Enjoy a gastronomic journey with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys on their Tasmanian Seafood Seduction cruise. Cruise down the Derwent to Bruny Island where you will enjoy oysters shucked straight from the water. Watch your guide dive for abalone and sea urchin before preparing a bountiful seafood feast, paired with a delicious gourmet spread and matched with the finest Tasmanian beverages.
Enjoy a slightly slower pace on the water with a kayaking tour with Roaring 40s Kayaking. Setting out from Sandy Bay, their 2.5 Hobart city paddle takes you past Hobart’s prestigious waterfront homes of Battery Point and into the busy Hobart waterfront where you can enjoy fresh fish and chips straight from the floating fish punts, without leaving you kayak! They also have a Cliff, Cave and Beaches Tour that take you past the rivers beautiful sandstone cliffs, through caves and into tranquil coves.
Get the arms burning and enjoy the city from the water on a stand up paddle board. Blue Lagoon offers private stand up paddle (SUP) boarding lessons at Sandy Bay’s lovely Long Beach. Cruise along the sheltered shoreline and soak up the scenery at a leisurely pace.
Home to some of the most spectacular coastlines in Australia, along with plenty of wildlife, the best way to experience the Tasman Peninsula is from the water.
Experience the dramatic coastline of the Tasman Peninsula and spot some wildlife with a Tasman Island Cruise. Come up close to seals enjoying a sunbake on the rocks and search the skies for albatross, sea eagles or gannets. You might even be lucky to be joined by a pod of dolphins or migrating humpback whales.
For small group tours, Wild Ocean Tasmania offers day cruises along the coastline with opportunities to snorkel with wild marine animals in their natural environment. Their Seal and Ocean Expedition allows you to observe the underwater world from a world-first sea-view platform!
A visit to the Tasman Peninsula wouldn’t be complete without taking a stroll around the Port Arthur Historic Site. Included in your site ticket is a 25-minute harbour cruise which gives you an insight into the history of the convict site along with beautiful views of the historic buildings from the water.
The Tasman Peninsula is home to some beautiful beaches, with Pirate’s Bay a local favourite. When the conditions are right, the beach has some decent surf for those who love to hang ten. If surfing is not your thing, the beach is also a beautiful spot to go for a swim.
Explore the underwater world off the Tasman Peninsula on dive with Eaglehawk Dive Centre. The region offers some absolutely spectacular locations where you can spot fur seals, sea dragons, and even a shipwreck and dive through caves and canyons. Eaglehawk Dive Centre offesr a range of different tours and a scuba experience for those who are not qualified divers.
Take a little more time to explore the spectacular sea cliffs of the peninsula with a 4-day sea kayaking adventure with Southern Sea Ventures. Get up close to the dolerite cliffs, explore beautiful sandy beaches and sheltered bays, and spot some local wildlife. Tours include all meals and accommodation.
The upper Derwent River twists its way through the picturesque Derwent Valley countryside and is a beautiful spot to enjoy some watersports.
Tassie Bound Adventure Tours offers plenty of kayaking fun on the water. Paddle with a platypus, take on the river rapids or head further out west and explore the rugged waters of Lake Pedder. Tours also include a chef-prepared morning tea and lunch.
Take in the idyllic countryside of the Derwent Valley at your own pace on a stand up paddleboard (SUP). Derwent Valley Stand Up Paddle Board offers SUP lessons where you can peacefully meander your way up and down the tranquil river.
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