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The River Derwent

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Southern Tasmanians simply call it ‘The River’ just as they refer to the peak that overlooks its estuary as ‘The Mountain’.
Story by Chris Viney

The River Derwent has its source in Lake St Clair, the nation’s deepest lake; and it meets the sea in the country’s finest harbour (Sydneysiders may not agree, but Tasmanians have no doubts.) The Derwent is a life-force of the island ñ its water generates megawatts of electricity, irrigates farms and vineyards and flows from taps in home kitchens.

In the island’s capital city of Hobart, ‘The River’ and ‘The Mountain’ are linked in the city’s history, because it was the ‘run of clear, fresh water’ from Mt Wellington that showed David Collins, the colony’s first Lieutenant-Governor, where to establish the settlement.

And it’s in and around Hobart that the River Derwent and the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, which meets the estuary south of the city and become playgrounds for visitors and locals alike.

Here are just a few of the ways to enjoy southern Tasmania by water.

Southern Isle Charters

Design your own trip and go in luxury – choose a two-hour sunset cruise, a half or full-day sightseeing or fishing voyage, or an overnight cruise in southern Tasmanian waters.

Olive May

Built in the 1880s and fully-restored by Sydney-Hobart yachtsman Sean Langman, this graceful gaff-rigged cutter cruises past apple and cherry orchards, salmon farms and wineries, while you sample the fine local produce of the Huon and D’Entrecasteaux Channel region.

Pennicott Wilderness Journeys

Tasmanian Seafood Seduction is a full day of hunter-gathering on and under the waters of the Channel. You’ll catch and taste fresh-caught flathead and salmon, harvest oysters and mussels direct from the sea, dive for abalone and sea urchins (or let your guide do the work!) and pull a craypot then enjoy a seafood feast, a stroll on a remote beach and a cruise back to Hobart.


Rescued from the bottom of a Danish harbour, purchased for a case of Carlsberg and brought to Tasmania by her intrepid current owners, the Yukon now cruises the Huon River from her home berth in the river-town of Franklin.

Lady Nelson

A faithful replica of the ship that brought the first settlers to Hobart, the Lady Nelson gives you an authentic experience of sailing a tall ship. Take the helm, hoist a sail and see Hobart the best way ñ from the harbour.

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