29 October, 2021

Get to know Tassie with Pieter van der Woude

Get to know Tassie from a local’s point of view! We sat down with Pieter van der Woude – owner and skipper of Tasmanian Boat Charters, to chat all things nature in Tasmania.

Ever wanted to know under rated areas to explore? Pieter is the owner of Tasmanian Boat Charters and skipper of the custom-built, 20-metre expedition cruise vessel Odalisque, which takes visitors into the remote south-west wilderness or along the spectacular east coast. Here, he shares with us his insider tips for getting off the beaten track in beautiful Tassie.

Anchoring at sunset. Photo: Supplied.

Q. Whether by boat, bike, car or on foot, why is Tassie a great destination for nature lovers?

Tasmania is largely untouched. With over 1.38 million hectares of the state locked up in one of the most highly valued World Heritage Areas on the planet, there is no wilderness on Earth that compares to Tasmania’s south-west. Each corner of Tasmania is so diverse, with everything from grueling multi-day hikes to relaxing beach destinations – there really is something for everyone.


Q. Why is getting on board the Odalisque a good option for exploring the state’s wilderness?

We make the often inhospitable south-west wilderness accessible, relaxing and enjoyable for all. Arriving by aircraft from Hobart, there’s an instant sense of disconnect as your phone loses reception.

Whether guests want to hike, explore the coastline on a tender, or sit back on deck with a glass of Tasmanian wine, they’re able to do all of this with us aboard Odalisque. The areas we explore are not serviced by roads and the only access is by boat, airplane or on foot, and hence usually regulated by weather and fitness.

Odalisque skipper Pieter pours a Moo Brew for his guests. Photo: Supplied.

Q. Can you recommend some other nature-based tours?

For those who perhaps don’t have the time to join one of our expeditions this time round, Above and Beyond Tasmania offer day trips into some of the national parks via Tasmania’s only seaplane, along with scenic flights from the Hobart waterfront. A unique way to experience Tasmania!


Q. Which Tasmanian national park isn’t well known but should be on visitors’ wish lists?

Southwest National Park. Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour are some of the least visited areas in Tasmania, primarily due to their remoteness and inaccessibility. This is an attraction in itself, along with the rich Aboriginal history of the area. The (1.2-kilometre) Needwonnee Walk in Melaleuca is a fantastic introduction to that.

The Odalisque on the Bathurst Channel. Photo: Supplied.

Q. The Three Capes and Overland tracks are famous, but what are some less well known trails well worth the walk?

In the Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey area there is an abundance of walking opportunities ranging from under an hour right through to several days! One of my favourites is Mount Rugby: a full-day hike that affords spectacular views right across the area, giving you a tremendous sense of place within the vast landscape.

Closer to Hobart, the Fossil Cove track is an easy 30-minute return walk that takes you onto the shores of the River Derwent. You can walk through a sandstone arch, and come out on the rocky beach where there are, of course, plenty of fossils!


Q. Where are some of the best places to see animals in the wild?

While Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour do have very healthy wildlife populations, they can at times be very cryptic. Maria Island and Bruny Island are some of the best places to view large populations of wildlife. Wombats, Cape Barren geese and Tasmanian Devils on Maria Island, and white wallabies and quolls on Bruny. Not to mention the spectacular displays of southern right and humpback whales as they migrate past the east coast of Tasmania at certain times of the year. Peak months are October and November.

Odalisque in Wineglass Bay. Photo: Supplied.

Q. What other special natural places might be under visitors’ radar?

  • Bicheno: relaxed town, beautiful beaches and great coffee!
  • Eddystone Point and Ansons Bay: larapuna land with abundant bird life, at the northern end of the Bay of Fires.
  • Trial Harbour: less than 50 houses, mining relics and that edge-of-the-Earth feeling.
  • The Lost World: a secret little track on kunanyi / Mount Wellington with no people and amazing views.


Information included in this blog is correct at the time of publishing. Please contact individual operators for further information.

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