For the same reason I avoid reading the back of a movie, I choose not to look at the itinerary. It leaves the unknown intact and adds an element of surprise. We are setting sail on the Wineglass Bay Sail Walk’s maiden voyage and I’m quite happy to feel more like Abel Tasman than a well-informed traveller of 2014.
As such, my eyes are firmly fixed on sandy boots as we complete a three-hour walk on Schouten Island. They lift only because the person in front has come to an abrupt stop. Peering over her shoulder I see a bushwalking finale better fitting an over-orchestrated Masterchef set. Like an Abel Tasman mirage, there before us is a linen and champagne-topped dining table on our own private beach.
I know our guides on this four-day cruise from Orford to Wineglass Bay are handy, but this? With our home, the 23-metre ketch Lady Eugenie bobbing in the background, the entire spectacle is surreal. It’s so impressive one guest gallops off for a skinny dip in readiness for his lobster dip. Nothing about this bare-foot dinner is ordinary. There are Bruny Island oysters, crispy-skinned local salmon, Apogee sparkling and cool sand between our toes.
Each day of this luxury sail/walk devotes generous time to exploring Tasmania’s east coast on foot. This makes the Ashgrove cheddar and lashings of double cream all the more rewarding. We conquer the dolerite spires of Maria Island’s Bishop and Clerk on day one, following up with a six kilometre climb of Bear Hill on Schouten. Our longest walk (6-7 hours) falls on day three- a steady climb to the top of Mount Graham where The Hazards and Wineglass Bay spill gorgeously out before us. Although over 30 kilometres of walking are on offer, the choice is yours to stay aboard and enjoy a little extra wind in the sails with your feet up.
During our expedition, the wildlife also live up to off-the-itinerary antics. As we sail past the northern tip of Maria Island, admiring the peak we’ve conquered, a whale and her calf appear portside. As if nudging us to stop gloating about our on-land achievements, they silently prepare us for what the sea journey might bring. We each stand motionless as they come so close their silence is broken – billowing breaths sending saltiness skyward.
I may have ruined your barefoot dining surprise, but I am certain no matter how many times you read this trip itinerary it will deliver special moments that can never be captured on paper. Every trip will be a little different from the next, every path designed by the conditions and every guest feeling a tiny bit ‘Abel Tasman like’ even if they won’t admit it over an Apogee sparkling.
What: Wineglass Bay Sail walk is a four-day coastal journey departing Hobart and sailing from Orford to Wineglass Bay. There is a six-day trip also, including the Tasman Peninsula.
When: Oct-May annuallyWeb: wineglassbaysailwalk.com.au
Cost: from $2990 twin share ($3990 for six day trip)
Words & images: Alice Hansen
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