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Melaleuca to New Harbour return (8 February 2012)
contributed by wynyardia
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New Harbour Beach has a southerly aspect and can catch quite a swell. However it is fairly sheltered in westerlies though not all boats have found a safe anchorage. A mostly submerged wreck along the eastern shore testifies to this.
Along with my two adult boys we flew from Cambridge to Melaleuca Airstrip with Par Avion four days after Tas Air went into liquidation. This was our first trip to South West Tassie. The flights are spectacular - Maatsyuker Islands on the way in and Federation peak on the way out.
The track from Melaleuca to Cox's Bight has long sections of boardwalk due to the wet nature of the button grass landscape to be traversed. It forks soon after ascending the New Harbour Range. We branched off to the right and the going got a little tougher, several knee deep sections and leeches made for interesting walking. The boys apart from carrying 20+ kilo packs were also portaging a two person inflatable kayak (suspended from the paddles on each shoulder).
Wetsuits, weight belts, flounder lights, cray rings and a fishing rod added to their burden. Fortunatley the effort was worth it with several crayfish and as many abalone as we could eat caught. Floundering was a dead loss although a tasty flathead was caught on the rod.
A nice walk from the campsite (located behind the beach half way along) is to the top of Smoke Signal Hill. Views back to Melaleuca and out to the Maatsuyker Islands were magical.
We walked in in early February 2 days after 20mm rain had fallen. The streams were flowing as were several waterfalls.
Galalxia were spotted in most creeks we crossed. The water was of a good quality. The best was from a small spring trickling over rocks from the rainforest on the western side of the harbour. The boys lapped this after snorkelling. We spent three nights at New Harbour and had the best weather. We slept soundly, the booming breakers on the beach may have had something to do with this - we didn't rise much before 10am which for me is an exceptional sleep in.
The walk out was quicker and easier, the kayak fitted in to a pack, although heavy it was preferable to the alternantive.
The weather was very pleasant, slightly cooler than anticipated but not as windy.
We came across a few other walkers w o were more nomadic than us - sea spurge gatherers from Wildcare and walkers destined for South West Cape.
Summer is a great time to visit.
This story was uploaded into the Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia entry for the Bay 'New Harbour'.
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