Tasmania’s North West is a land of sprawling farms, rugged coastline, and picturesque seaside towns. On the Northern coast the seas of Bass Strait are contradictory in nature. Savage or eerily still. Whereas on the West the Southern Ocean is always savage.
Those that visit this region don’t have to venture far off the main roads to find themselves amongst ancient forests and the treasures they hold. But for Steph, Willow, and I our goal for the week was to stand on that most Westerly point of Tasmania some call the edge of the world and witness the power of the Southern Ocean ourselves.
As we left our camp in the Dial Ranges we ventured to the Western side of the park where I had heard there were some old mine workings.
This area is managed by Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service which means that pets are not welcome in the park. Now, the great thing about travelling with a cat is that they sleep most of the day, which means that Steph and I venturing out for an hour or two poses no hassle for our sleepy cat. In fact, I think she welcomes the peace and quiet!
So with Willow safely snoozing in the van, Steph and I strolled through the windy forest path past the giant manferns growing in the gully beside us.
About a 15 minute walk from the carpark you’ll find the smaller Brownings Tunnel then a further 5 minutes along, Thoresbys.
The tunnels were likely explorative adits dug in the late 1800’s. As we entered the 5ft high Thoresbys I flashed my torch ahead and the end was not in sight. Moving along the corridor it felt like we were in a labyrinth.
Our voices echoed through the adit. It took another 200 steps to get to the end which was caged off before another shaft extended straight down.
It was certainly an experience to turn off our torches and revel in the absolute darkness even spotting some glow worms as our eyes adjusted.
How do they find their way in there?
By the railway tracks along the foreshore at Sulphur Creek lies a camping area for self-contained travellers. We parked up and discovered the blackberries were ripe for the taking so we picked a few after dinner.
It was relaxing sitting in the van sheltered from the wind as we watched the trains follow the foreshore on their way between Burnie and Devonport. Although any romantic notion of railway tracks was lost after the third or fourth night train hurtled through by early morning.
Willow wasn’t too concerned with the trains running beside our van and eagerly watched from the window.
We stopped in at Guide Falls for a quick look.
We visited Hellyer Gorge and walked down to the river through the forest.
Boat Harbour is a great place to spend an afternoon and have an icecream.
Stanley and The Nut
The Nut is in fact the remnants of an old volcano that once stood by what is now the tourist and fishing town of Stanley. There is a steep walking track up that took Steph and I the 150 metres to the top. There we completed a circuit with great views of the area and out to sea.
The sign work along the track gave a captivating history of the lives of the original inhabitants including the horrors they endured at the hands of the Van Diemen’s Land Company.
In Smithton we caught up with Shaun and Alba who we first met on the farm in Comboyne. So great to see them again!
The Edge of the World
Now, most travellers could visit the aforementioned places in one day. We took a whole week. It’s just the pace we like to be running at.
So, after an enchanting week exploring the North-West we made it to the edge of the world. We arrived at Marrawah and then proceeded onwards to the coast where we were greeted by the Southern Ocean and the power it ensues.
Willow jumped onto the table as soon as the engine stopped, her favourite place from which to watch the world. The wind whirled past the van as we looked outside seeing the waves crash on the pebbled beach. The pebbles indelibly so, for once they were large boulders and haven’t given up their fight yet.
Willow, not content with just looking, jumped down by the sliding door and looked up at me in her way of saying, time to let me out Mr.
Convinced she was in for a rude shock as I opened the door, to my surprise she nonchalantly climbed out, the fury of Southern Ocean no match for this little black cat.
On the rocks Willow hopped as I chased her around with my camera, hoping for a moment that she would give me the perfect shot with her fur ruffled by the wind.
It wasn’t long before she gave me the look and I knew it was time to put the camera down. Time to sit for just a moment in that piercing wind with the setting sun in front of us, and beside us, Steph in our warm van waiting for us to come back in.
The three of us, at the edge of the earth.
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Thanks for joining us on our visit.
North West Tasmania is a region I haven’t spent a great deal of time in despite being Tasmanian born and bred. There is beauty in its ruggedness and warmth in its towns. I recommend anyone visit if they get the chance.