On Board's skipper Pieter van der Woude and Dick Smith AC at the launch of Odalisque III (2)

New expedition vessel redefines Tasmanian luxury – Launched today

On Board’s highly anticipated new luxury expedition vessel was launched today

Odalisque III's launch ceremony celebrated Tasmania’s rich maritime history, World Heritage Wilderness Area and the talents of many Tasmanian artisans and suppliers involved in the boat’s design and build.

The stylish 24-metre three-deck catamaran, catering for just 12 guests, is set to take luxury expedition cruising in Tasmania to a whole new level. On Board’s expedition cruises merge indulgence with adventure, rewarding guests for effort with fine fare, and exclusive access to remote locations few will ever reach. The offering is not about six-star comforts, though the multi-generational family have considered every deluxe touch.

Rather, they’re redefining luxury a Tasmanian way – with light touch and a passion for preserving Tasmania’s environment at their core. Pieter van der Woude, On Board’s founder and skipper, said, “Today shows what those of us in the Tasmanian tourism industry really can do to care for and share our precious place in a responsible way for future generations.

We want not only to showcase our incredible environment to guests but inspire and excite them to conserve the wild places that we love – and be absolutely sure that in 40 years’ time, when I am long gone, On Board will still be able to share the same wilderness with our guests.”

The vessel and experience have been designed to create a very low environmental impact, avoiding the requirement for a land-based footprint.  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.

Luxury expedition vessel Odalisque (3)
On Board's Pieter and Alice van der Woude in front of expedition vessel Odalisque

High-profile Australian aviator, adventurer and dedicated conservationist Dick Smith AC attended Odalisque III’s launch ceremony. Dick first visited the Port Davey region many years ago, and today he said, “Port Davey in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area is one of the most precious places in the world. Businesses like On Board, who immerse guests in this incredible wilderness, providing luxury but with a care and passion for the place, are pioneering the future of Tasmania’s tourism.”

Odalisque III was custom-built in Hobart by renowned Tasmanian shipbuilders Richardson Devine Marine and guest experiences are delivered by an all-Tasmanian crew of acclaimed chefs, skippers and guides, many of whom have worked with the company since its inception in 2016.

Odalisque III is about to head to the Southwest Wilderness for her inaugural expedition cruise, starting on January 30. The first guests aboard will enjoy On Board’s signature five-day Port Davey expedition sailing, which explores the wild rivers and magnificent coastlines of Port Davey, Bathurst Harbour and Melaleuca. Guests will soon be able to fly direct from Hobart’s waterfront to the vessel’s exclusive mooring via the company’s new Cessna Caravan seaplane, operated in partnership with Above & Beyond.

Expedition vessel Odalisque and guests in one of two excursion tenders
Wheelhouse Lounge & Bar on expedition vessel Odalisque (2)

Additional News and Insights @ On Board and Odalisque III

Port Davey Wild Wellness Expedition - New Experience

Book early for the new three-day Wild Wellness cruise in Port Davey from April 22 to 24, 2023. Learn life-changing breathing techniques with Stay Koel’s Piet Blokker, trained by Dutchman Wim Hof, or sink into cool tannin waters to recharge your system. This Wild Wellness cruise expedition is the antidote to today’s stressful existence and is designed for anyone needing a lasting mental, spiritual and physical recalibration.

In between breath work and journalling, you’ll discover a spectacular harbour in the Southwest Wilderness. Ashore and afloat, this exclusive and immersive experience explores the wild rivers and magnificent coastlines of Port Davey, Bathurst Harbour and Melaleuca. Picnic on untracked beaches, hike to craggy mountain tops, and encounter native flora and fauna on guided hikes, shore and tender excursions.

Citizen Science Onboard

To support the conservation of wildlife in the Tasmanian Wilderness World-Heritage Area, guests are encouraged to contribute to the Tasmanian Government’s National Values Atlas (NVA) by assisting On Board to record sightings of rare, threatened and migrating species, such as ground parrots, hooded plovers, Tasmanian devils and quolls. The NVA is an authoritative repository of Tasmania’s natural values and provides valuable information to guide conservation actions. Any sightings by guests and crew are recorded, along with information such as the GPS location and a description, and then reported to the NVA at the end of the season. Guests will be able to see the culmination of the valuable data recorded throughout the season as marked on a map in the Wheelhouse Lounge, and a summary of the season’s sightings will be provided as part of a post-season follow up.

Odalisque has an open helm in the Wheelhouse Lounge, where guests can sit and chat to the crew
Guests relaxing in expedition vessel Odalisque's Wheelhouse Lounge & Bar

Thoughtful Interior Design

Esteemed Tasmanian interior designer Rebecca Kirkland has been involved with On Board since its inception in 2016 furnishing Odalisque I. Rebecca is renowned for her intuitive sense of style and her ability to create aesthetically pleasing spaces considering both form and function – which is particularly important when working within the size and weight constraints of a vessel.

Luxury Accommodation

Luxurious queen-sized beds, all with private ensuites. Beds are framed with photographs of On Board’s favourite places, taken by one of our talented guides who doubles as a gifted photographer. The 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, reminiscent 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 wilderness scene plays out through enormous bedside windows that invite the natural world in.

Each cabin on expedition vessel Odalisque's feature large picture frame windows
Welcome the wilderness in through large picture frame windows in each cabin

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. Featuring 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.

On Board's spacious Dining Room & Bar on expedition vessel Odalsique III
On Board's chef prepares meals of gourmet Tasmanian seafood

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 sources 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.

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 aviaries. 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.

Livery design for new vessel

Odalisque III‘s hull depicts the beautiful patterns of sea whips and sea pens, delicate creatures normally only found in the depths of the ocean. These organisms, which call the tannin-stained waters of the Port Davey Marine Reserve home, are an important part of the area's fragile marine ecosystem. To those who have travelled with On Board before, the design may look familiar – Odalisque II also features a similar pattern, sand-blasted into the aluminium hull.

Luxury expedition vessel Odalisque (1)
Seafood feast and sunset drinks aboard expeditionv vessel Odalisque (2)

New Seaplane Delivers Guests to Floating Luxury Escape in Port Davey

The Cessna Caravan Seaplane, the first of its kind in Hobart, will provide door-to-door transfers 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 Odalisque III, exploring Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour.

“The scenic wilderness flight which bookends On Board’s 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 founder and skipper, Pieter van der Woude. “As the flight takes off from Hobart, civilisation quickly falls behind. It helps us showcase how vast scale of the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area and how precious and unique Port Davey really is.”

The seaplane will be operated by Tasmania’s Above & Beyond in partnership with On Board. It has capacity for up to nine guests and can be booked for scenic flights from January 2023. Guests can choose different flight options (weather permitting). For instance, they may head out overland via the mighty Federation Peak en-route to the luxurious vessel and return via Southwest Cape on a coastal route back to Hobart.

Seaplane taking off in Bathurst Harbour 2-min-min

Sustainable Cruising

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 local ingredients and suppliers.

“Our expeditions are 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,” says Pieter van der Woude.

Showcasing Tasmanian artists and makers

Custom tableware by Small Fire Studio

Bespoke tableware made by Hobart-based Small Fires Studio elevates the travel experience aboard our new flagship vessel. The exquisite green glaze adorning the cups, plates and bowls is designed to reflect the colours of the waters we explore and the texture of lichen of the rocks lining the coast.

Vases and ramekins by Wild Mud

Free-form vases and ramekins grace the dining room and lounge. With their textured surfaces and organic feel, each piece is truly individual. They're crafted by potter Taillaine of Wild Mud in her Huon-Valley based studio.

Huon pine tables by Rex Heathcote Furniture

The hand-crafted foldable tables, made with raw Tasmanian materials and nestled in the Wheelhouse Lounge are made by Rex Heathcote, a highly esteemed Tasmanian craftsman.

Huon pine helm from Courtney Drew

Before it housed the navigation equipment and controls for Odalisque III, this long, knobby section of Huon pine led a very different life. It lined the bar of Head Chef Courtney Drew’s Hobart-based restaurant A’petit Bistro, where many a drink was poured over it. The bar was given a new (nautical) life situated at the heart of the Wheelhouse Lounge.

Skincare by Milie Organics

Rowena of Hobart’s Milie Organics genuinely cares about the health of your skin. All her skincare products, including the shampoo, condition, moisturiser and body wash supplied in each bathroom are made from quality, locally formulated and sourced ingredients.

Hand-crafted Tasmanian timber objects by Tassie Timber Things

There are special bits and bobs all over the expedition vessel that have been handmade by local craftsman Simon of Tassie Timber Things – sassafras pepper grinders, Huon pine name tags worn by the crew, and a range of custom cheese boards.

One of Odalisque's dreamy Southwest Suites

On Board’s Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour expeditions run between January and May, and East Coast Expeditions run from June to November.

Limited spots are still available on our Port Davey Escape expedition cruises in 2023. Get in touch today to book.