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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Access to the South Coast Track

Posted by Unknown On 19:14 1 comment

    The South Coast Track starts at Melaleuca, a small airstrip deep within the South West National Park accessed only by boat or charter aircraft from Hobart. At the moment the only company that operates two flights a day in summer to Melaleuca to/from Cambridge Airport near Hobart Airport is Par Avion. The flight time is about 60min and costs $205 per person (ph (03) 62485390, flights@paravion.com.au).

     Because flights are extremely weather dependent in South West Tasmania and can often be cancelled especially later in a day, most hikers walk west to east from Melaleuca to Cockle Creek to prevent missing the flight and staying trapped at Melaleuca airstrip without food and after 7-9 days in wilderness because of the bad weather or other delay.

     The track finishes at Cockle Creek, a small settlement 130km south of Hobart at the very end of the most southern road in Australia. Public transport is only available 3 times a week (Mon, Wed, Frid) at 12.30pm in the summer and charter service has to be booked for the rest of the year or on public holidays. Private vehicles may also be left at Cockle Creek. There is a public telephone at Cockle Creek where you can call the charter bus and find out if they would be available to come down to pick you up, or order a taxi do Dover. From there you can take all year round bus to Hobart.
     Bus services or private shuttle to/from Cockle Creek can be arranged via the following companies:

  1. Evans Coaches can provide transport for bush walkers in and around Southern Tasmania. They cater to independent travelers or walking groups with an option of airport pick ups and drop offs. The cost is usually very high for less than 4 passengers, although some destinations can be arranged on weekends or public holidays. They offer the connection from Cockle Creek to Hobart Airport ($90 per person, departs: 12:30 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday).
  2. Tiger Wilderness can offers private charters for walking groups as well as independent travellers. Check their website for the free quote.  
  3. Mountain Bikes Tasmania is a new transport provider in Tasmania offering flexible transport options from the airport to the start of the major bushwalking areas. They can also pick you up from the end of your walk with return transfer to either Launceston or Hobart airport.
  4. Tasmanian Wilderness Experiences provide a comprehensive transport service for bushwalkers seeking to access Tasmania's walking tracks. They can offer very convenient and flexible schedule to and from Hobart Airport.
  5. Adventure Seekers can provide transportation service from Hobart to Cockle Creek and return ($105 per person one way).  
  6. Tassielink Coaches
  7. the guys from Paravion

     An alternative access to Melaleuca is to extend the South Coast track by hiking in from Scotts Peak Dam near Lake Pedder via 70km Port Davey Track. If you’re walking from Scotts Peak Dam you can arrange a food drop at Melaleuca with Paravion.

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