Destination Hobart, Tasmania (Melaleuca)


Yesterday, I gave some information about the endangered Orange-bellied Parrot.  Now let’s find out how to get to see them in the wild!   The “A” shows where Melaleuca is in relation to Hobart.

Tasmania is the smallest state in Australia and I am going to assume that if you are coming from overseas, it won’t be your only destination in Australia.  I have another post  about how to get from overseas to Australia on miles.

There are two major airlines that fly from the mainland to the main airport, Hobart (HOB) – Virgin Australia and Qantas.  Virgin is not yet in any major airline alliance and there are few opportunities to use other airline partners on domestic Virgin (DJ) flights.  Aussies can readily get Velocity points from credit cards and other partners.  Here’s an example of a round trip redemption from Sydney to Hobart.   From Brisbane it is the same, from Melbourne a bit less and from Adelaide a bit more.  From Perth, it goes up quite a bit.


QANTAS also has a distanced based award chart with a handy award calculator.

Sydney and Brisbane both are in Zone 2.

By contrast, have a look at the award cost from Perth.

Qantas is a member of One World so it often works out cheaper in both miles and money to use their partner American Airlines to book this flight.  AA has a flat fee of 10,000 miles each way no matter where you are flying to and from in Australia so they are a good bargain for longer flights.


British Airways has a distance based chart but short distances can be a bargain when booked with Avios.  They start as low as 4500 from Melbourne, 9000 from Brisbane up to 12,500 from Perth each way.


The flights to Melaleuca leave from Cambridge Airfield which is very close to Hobart Airport where your flight from the mainland arrives.  The purple dot indicates the location of the Quality Airport Hotel.  This runs around $125-ish in cash or since they are part of the Choice hotel chain you can use 25,000 points to book it for free!



Only small aircraft that seat 6-10 people fly this route.  Par Avion is the main tour operator that does day trips to Melaleuca and take you to the bird hides to see the Orange-bellied Parrots.

 They can also provide flights for people who want to spend a few days at Melaleuca and camp out.  There are more details on their website.

The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service website has more information.  Be sure to check out the sound clip of the OBP, they are pretty quiet for parrots!

For bushwalkers and those who are able to fly into the Tasmanian south-west, there is a good chance of seeing Orange-bellied Parrots. At Melaleuca, in the Southwest National Park, a bird hide has been built especially for observing the birds. From mid-October until the end of March, the birds are regular visitors, coming and going throughout the day. However the best times to see them are in the early mornings or late afternoons. There are two bushwalkers’ huts with room for up to 20 people.

If you are VERY lucky, you may also see Ground Parrots like this blogger reports!   Tasmania has a wealth of nature reserves that have great birding, so I would recommend spending at least a week here.  I will be doing more posts later about other birding hotspots in Tasmania.


  • Debbie

    I read your recent comments about getting to Melaleuca, Tasmania, to see Orange-bellied Parrots. As someone who has helped survey the birds for years, I would like to suggest you don’t encourage such travel.
    Although people will always want to see rare birds, the situation for OBPs is so dire, another summer of disturbance at their breeding grounds could tip them over the edge.
    Please consider the birds before publishing cheap travel details. Most people will find their own way there, anyway, if they really want to.
    I’ll leave it up to you.
    With thanks,
    PS Save the Orange-bellied Parrot on Facebook is endorsed by the OBP Recovery Team.

    • Hi Debbie,

      Firstly, I do apologize for what seems to be a mistake in the software as your comment was on the wrong page (About Me) instead of the topic being discussed (Visiting OBPs at Melaleuca) so I transferred it to the correct place so others may follow the discussion.

      Please be assured that I am totally committed to helping birds, especially endangered species such as the OBPs which is why I blogged about them in the first place-to raise awareness. The cheap travel tips I offered will get you from mainland Australia to Hobart, Tasmania using frequent flyer miles. I do intend in future posts to blog about other birding opportunities such as Bruny Island, Freycinet, Cradle Mountain and Strahan, so this post will be referenced to show people how to get to Hobart.

      Once you get to Hobart, I have recommended the Par Avion company who operate day tours to Melaleuca mainly because they DO practice responsible eco-tourism and take their small groups to the Denny King Bird hide where people can observe the OBPs at a food table set up to supplement their diet. I don’t believe tourists are taken to the breeding grounds. If you do have any information to the contrary I would like to hear it because I definitely wouldn’t want them being disturbed or harmed in any way.

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  • Hi Debbie

    Your post somewhat surprises me as you are no doubt aware that we run our tours so as not to impact the OBP’s (that being said I am yet to see any evidence that operations down the south west have lead to any detrimental impact on their habitat – even when the bird feeding tray was at the ‘king bird hide’ location) … we are a supporter of the OBP program – and one could argue that promoting these birds, and getting more public support behind them – through seeing them in the wild, could be a way to get more funds, and more support for your vital work.
    The manager of the OBP programme has never raised an issue with us, and if there is a systematic issue which we can help with – perhaps this should be raised with us directly, rather that criticising an innocent blog… the comment that “another summer of disturbance at their breeding grounds could tip them over the edge” implies that our tours, or people visiting this area down at Melaleuca are causing this – I take great offence to this off hand and unthoughtful comment.

    While I appreciate your passion to the OBP, don’t blame innocent third parties for their situation.


    Shannon Wells
    Par Avion

    • Hi Shannon,

      Thanks for replying here and letting us know that your tours don’t harm the birds. I hope to make it down there in the next couple years myself. I think the planes are so small, the number of tourists is already limited and if the guides are well-spoken and do a good job of educating them about the OBPs, they can gain a lot of support. It’s not easy to gather support for birds from the general public and I have always believed in eco-tourism as a way to give people a new appreciation of birds, especially endangered ones. If people can save money on airfares because of miles and points, instead of giving money to Qantas and Virgin, they would have more to potentially donate to the project too. My blog is too small and new to influence lots of people, but people may come in here from a search engine, be inspired and want to go to Melaleuca and learn something about OBPs. And then these people’s hearts will be affected and they will want to help anyway they can-donations, voting for politicians who support conservation……………………..


  • Debbie

    Please note: I have no issues whatever with the company Par Avion.

    My remarks were made in a personal email and were posted here without permission.

    • Debbie, actually your remarks were made on the “About Me” page which is a public page containing a brief information about myself and had nothing to do with the topic of eco-tourism in Melaleuca. All I did was transfer your comment from the wrong public page (and close that page to further comments so others don’t make the same mistake) to the topic you were addressing. I don’t want people emailing me about topics, I want them to post in the blog so issues can be discussed and everyone can learn something.

      What I can see is that everyone is basically on the same side here but there are misunderstandings happening. We all want to help the OBPs and raise awareness about their plight. No one wants to harm them or see a mass of tourists trampling over their breeding grounds but that is not what has been happening. I would really like to see more people posting about how to observe the OBPs at the designated feeding table in a way that doesn’t disturb them. I would also like to see more people getting involved and caring about what happens to these precious little birds. Eco-tourism is just ONE way to make that happen. Let’s move on with this and discuss other ways to help them.

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