Tucked into the far south-west corner of Tasmania is the tiny settlement of Melaleuca. Originally established for tin-mining by the King family, it can only be reached by light plane, boat or by multi-day walks on the South Coast or Port Davey Tracks. Melaleuca was home to Deny King – a well-known miner, bushman, naturalist and artist – from 1936 until his death in 1991. You can explore his story and the other pioneers of the area, in the Deny King Heritage Museum located near the airstrip and try and imagine what life was like for him and his family in this remote location.
Today, Melaleuca attracts a variety of visitors. For bushwalkers undertaking the multi-day South Coast Track or Port Davey Tracks, Melaleuca is the start, finish or halfway point of their walk. The settlement is also popular with commercial and private boat-based visitors who are exploring the magnificent Port Davey-Bathurst Harbour area. Scenic flights bring day visitors in and bird watchers are attracted by the opportunity to glimpse the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot. These small, beautifully-coloured parrots are on the brink of extinction. The area around Melaleuca is the only place in the world that they breed, between October and late-March. Volunteers observe, monitor and record information about the parrots during their breeding phase.
Visitors can also experience local Aboriginal culture on the Needwonnee Walk. Along this 1.2 km boardwalk visitors can view the living and changing sculptural installations, made from natural materials, and share the stories of the Needwonnee people.
Facilities at Melaleuca include a gravel airstrip, toilets, two walkers huts that sleep 20 people, a small campsite, the Deny King Heritage Museum, Needwonnee Walk and a bird hide.