New seaplane coming soon for Tasmania’s latest luxury wilderness cruise experience
Guests will soon be able to depart Hobart’s waterfront and Cambridge aerodrome and touch down in style beside new Odalisque III in the remote south west. With expeditions departing from February 2023, the season of adventure just hit new heights.
The Cessna Caravan Seaplane, the first of its kind in Hobart, will provide door-to-door transfer from Hobart to wilderness only accessible by boat, air or on foot. Multi-day expeditions range from four to six-night cruises aboard the new 24-metre catamaran, exploring Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour aboard the high-end ‘floating lodge’.
We have reached a new level of luxury in Tasmanian expedition cruising. It’s not about six-star comforts, though the multi-generational family operation have considered every deluxe touch. It’s about the merging of indulgence with adventure, reward for effort, fine fare, and exclusive access to remote locales few will ever reach. It’s life shifting kind of luxury.
The dedicated seaplane will be operated by Tasmania’s Above & Beyond in partnership with On Board. The new Cessna will enable Above & Beyond to carry larger groups and reach more destinations; able to carry twice the number of passengers and travel 50 per cent faster than the existing aircraft.
“The scenic wilderness flight which bookends On Board’s multi-day Port Davey expeditions is a key point of difference for our experience and a spectacular way to arrive in a remote wilderness area,” says On Board’s Managing Director and Skipper, Pieter van der Woude. “As the flight takes off from Hobart, civilisation quickly falls behind. Our guests realise how expansive the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area is and how special Port Davey really is.”
The seaplane has capacity for up to nine guests and will be bookable for scenic flights from early 2022, with the exact start date to be confirmed in the coming weeks. Guests can have the option to return via a different route. For instance, the seaplane can fly overland past mighty Federation Peak enroute to the luxurious cruiser and return via Southwest Cape on a coastal route back to Hobart.
Operating in the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area, On Board are conscious about maintaining a light footprint. The seaplane will land in one site, close to the vessel's mooring, with a limited number of landings each year.
Other On Board Indulgences:
Thoughtful Interior Design
Esteemed Tasmanian interior designer Rebecca Kirkland has been involved with On Board since its inception in 1998, furnishing Odalisque I. Rebecca is renowned for her intuitive sense of style, utilisation of space and her ability to create aesthetically pleasing spaces considering both form and function – which is particularly important when working in the size and weight constraints of a vessel.
Luxurious queen-sized beds, all with private ensuites. Beds are framed with wild photography of On Board’s favourite places, taken by one of the talented guides who doubles as a gifted photographer. Expect the carefully curated suites of the upper deck exude sophistication and reflect the moody tones of Tasmania’s southwest while the relaxed and thoughtful cabins of the main deck have a coastal-chic feel, reflective of the soft, sandy colours of Tasmania’s east coast.
Guests rest their heads on linen pillows featuring local Tasmanian botanical prints including kelp and a rare flowering holly only found in the southwest, lomatia tasmanica, made by local artist Deborah Wace. Each morning a new world-heritage wilderness scene plays out through enormous bedside windows that invite the natural world in.
Wheelhouse Lounge & Dining Room – Australia’s most remote bar?
With four Tasmanian beers on tap, and an exclusive range of local varietals including sparkling, Riesling, chardonnay, pinot gris and pinot, guests sink into soft lounges in arguably the country’s most remote bar. With plush leather, handmade ceramic plates and bowls, artworks by the likes of Tasmanian Michaye Boulter, a library of books and a wheelhouse where guests can chat with the skipper at the open Huon Pine helm, this is no ordinary lounge bar.
Exclusive Wildlife Experience with Raptor Refuge
This rare experience provides guests the opportunity to meet a masked owl up close on a walking tour that includes private viewing time with wedge-tailed eagles in Australia’s largest flight aviary. Tasmania’s Raptor Refuge works to rehabilitate birds of prey for release back into the wild. Highlights include learning about peregrine falcons, viewing a rare grey goshawk and seeing Australia’s largest raptor, the mighty Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle. This exclusive opportunity is reserved for group bookings.
The On Board Dining Experience
On Board’s chefs have been borrowed, begged and stolen from some of Hobart’s top restaurants! Curated by Head Chef Courtney Drew, formerly at the helm of North Hobart’s A’Petit Bistro, the menu takes a fresh and sustainable approach. Courtney celebrates top local produce and of course seafood plucked straight from the ocean. Whether it’s crayfish, abalone, oysters, artisan cheeses and meats or farmer’s market produce, Courtney serves up moreish plates of fine Tasmanian fare in a relaxed atmosphere.
Courtney has worked as a chef on boats from the six seasons spent with On Board to the very top end of the Kimberley. Share style meals with a story or two come standard on Odalisque III. It’s an open kitchen, so guests are encouraged to pop in and see what’s being sauteed, blanched or barbecued ahead of the next degustation.
The new vessel has allowed On Board even greater opportunity to bring their operational sustainability to the highest standard. Through considered design, the experience is designed to have a low environmental impact and avoid the requirement for a land-based footprint.
Built in Hobart, a focus on local materials and suppliers was paramount throughout construction and furnishings were also sourced locally. From the tinted windows, reducing the reliance on air conditioning, to the large lithium-ion battery bank to minimise the use of generators, sustainability has been at the centre of Odalisque III’s design.
With intimate groups of just 12 guests, a small footprint is maintained when exploring sensitive wilderness areas. All guests are inducted by expert guides and made familiar with biosecurity practices to protect the fragile environment. Food miles are kept to a minimum, using only the freshest of local ingredients and suppliers.
"With our expeditions designed to inspire a greater appreciation for the natural world, we aim to educate and excite our guests about conserving the wild places that we love for future generations," adds Pieter van der Woude.