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Journeys : Dec2011 Jan2012
Our ascent was only a dozen or so years ago – well, OK, fifteen. But since then I’ve mislaid the helmet, worn out the tights and shaved off the beard, as well as losing any real desire to keep climbing. That thrilling day – 11 beautiful rope-lengths on dry, sun-warmed quartzite – capped off several decades of rock climbing, all at ver y moderate grades. I couldn’t imagine ever doing anything half so good on rock again, and apart from an occasional outing on the Organ Pipes, I’ve hardly climbed since. By the time this nostalgic musing is over and done with, our plane is well past Federation Peak and on the way to a landing on the white gravel str ip at Melaleuca, deep in the World Heritage Area. The spectacular 50-minute f light from Cambridge Airport near Hobart is the prelude to – and the finale of – one of Par Avion’s range of wilderness trips. Weather permitting, the pilots aim to fly across the mountains in one direction, passing close to Federation Peak; then follow the South Coast in the other, so passengers see the full range of landscapes – the peaks, forests, alpine moorlands and buttongrass plain s of Southwest Tasmania; and the string of remote beaches along the wild southern coastline. On this trip, I’m flying in with my adult son and daughter to spend a few days bushwalking out towards South West Cape, so after landing at Melaleuca, Jack, Fi and I hoist packs and head south to our campsite at New Harbour, while our co-passengers join their guide and begin A Day in the Wilderness, just one of the outstanding experiences offered by Par Avion in this remote and beautiful par t of our island. (They also have fly-cruise and fly-walk options to Maria Island). For full details, check ww w.paravion.com.au – but here’s a brief taster to tempt you. Southwest World Heritage Tour Two magnificent flights, a cruise along Melaleuca Inlet into Bathurst Harbour, morning or afternoon tea in the wilderness – this four-hour tour is a brief but brilliant introduction to the Southwest. A Day in the Wilderness Tour After the flight to Melaleuca, this full day gives you plenty of time to explore – take a short walk, spot a rare orange-bellied parrot, cruise the waterway into Bathurst Harbour and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch before the return f light. Wilderness Weekend Operated in conjunction with Roar ing 40s Kayaking, this m agnificent two-day experience combines the flights to and from Melaleuca w ith a boat cruise of Bathurst Harbour, an evening meal and overnight stay in the comfortable and sheltered Forest Lagoon camp, short walks and an optional exploration of the waterways by sea kayak. www.roaring40skayaking.com.au Wilderness and Wine Fly to Melaleuca and cruise the inlet into Bathurst Harbour. Then take off and land at Meadowbank Vineyard on the River Der went for a gourmet lunch with fine wines at the homestead. The tour ends w ith a scenic flight back to Cambridge. Destinations December 2011 / January 2012 15 Opposite page: Planes on the Melaleuca strip; Bathurst H arbour and Mt Rugby panorama. This page, clockwise from above left : CV on the North West Face of Federation Peak; one of the Celery Top Islands; Federation Peak. Landscapes and aerial photo: Par Avion GrantDixon
Oct Nov 2011
Feb March 2012