The Derwent Estuary Program is a partnership between state and local government and industry to make the Derwent a world class asset by sharing science for the benefit of nature, the economy and the community.

Where is the Derwent Estuary?

The Derwent estuary, located in southern Tasmania, Australia, extends from the rural river town of New Norfolk south to the Iron Pot lighthouse. The estuary is a unique environment – a partially enclosed body of water where tidal seawater and fresh river water mix. The sheltered waters of the estuary support unique habitat and species specifically adapted to life in this environment.

Location map world reference

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Education and protection

Our vision for the Derwent is an estuary with a healthy and diverse ecosystem that supports a wide range of recreational and commercial uses and is a source of community pride and enjoyment. Our mission is to work together to understand the Derwent Estuary system, to take action to progressively enhance and protect the estuary’s values, and to inform and involve the community in this process. We conduct regular water quality monitoring through our Beach Watch program. We work with the community to reduce litter. We monitor heavy metals in the Derwent, provide resources relating to stormwater and encourage water sensitive urban design. We have also developed a range of educational resources focused on key estuary habitats and species.

Things to see and do around the Derwent estuary

  • Playing in the water. Image: iStock / Goami. Swimming
    Swimming

    Hobart area residents are fortunate to have easy access to a variety of safe, sandy beaches within 20 minutes of the CBD.

  • Ripples on the Derwent. Image: Derwent Estuary Program. Fishing and seafood safety
    Fishing

    The Derwent estuary supports extensive recreational fishing activities, as well as being an important regional fishing port.

  • Juncus along pathway, Windermere. Image: Derwent Estuary Program. Walking and riding
    Walk/ride

    There are a range of walking, cycling, mountain biking and horse riding tracks in the Derwent estuary region.

  • River Derwent. Image: Tourism Tasmania / Rob Burnett. Boating
    Boating

    The Derwent estuary has a very active sailing community with many hundreds of yachts moored at various docks.

I have found a gulf which I explored on the west-side. Near the head are some plains extending to the foot of a large mountain…

– British Captain John Hayes, 1793

Captain Hayes named this ‘gulf’ the River Derwent – which is Celtic for ‘clear water’. Since Captain Hayes’ visit the Derwent has changed and a number of environmental issues now compromise its ‘clear water’. Issues include heavy metal contamination, stormwater pollution and loss of habitat and species. The Derwent Estuary Program was established in 1999 to restore and promote the Derwent estuary.
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