RAW. RUGGED. REMARKABLE.
Road-tripping in Tasmania's North West and West.
Be wild or be mild in this wonderland of ancient rainforest,
windswept coastline and rich farmland.
The Western Wilds drive journey through the west coast and hinterland is raw and real. Road-tripping is a good way to explore the wilderness, and also to unearth the stories of the pioneers, convicts, miners and piners who shaped, and were shaped by, this wild coast and land.
Some of the freshest air on the planet blows across the Northern Forage, a drive journey that spans northern Tasmania. Inhale as you can stand atop The Nut in Stanley, or any of the coastal towns that face Bass Strait. And follow your food from paddock to plate (or glass) while meeting the farmers, makers, distillers and beekeepers along the way.
Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail
Graze your way across the north west on the Cradle to Coast Tasting Trail, a drive that takes in more than 30 producers and makers between Launceston and Smithton. This trail spans wineries, craft brewers and distilleries, as well as cheese makers, truffle farms and honey producers, and more.
Rock the Cradle
Jason Charles Hill
Whether strolling the shores of Dove Lake, or ascending Marions Lookout, the unmistakable silhouette of Cradle Mountain dominates from every angle. The intrepid can manoeuvre into tight spaces with Cradle Mountain Canyons, and the curious can witness the table manners of Tasmanian devils on a night feeding tour at Devils@Cradle.
Jason Charles Hill
Take a road trip to the wildly romantic fishing town of Stanley. Explore The Nut, a volcanic plug that can be climbed on a short, steep path or ascended on a chairlift. Wander the parlours and barns of Highfield Historic Site the former HQ of the Van Diemen's Land Company, and explore the town's salty past on the self-guided Stanley Heritage Walk. And say hello to little penguins as they shuffle ashore at night, past a viewing platform on the town’s Godfreys Beach.
Tasmania's wild west has a soft side in the charming port town of Strahan. Drift through the Gordon River's perfect reflections and wilderness with Gordon River Cruises and World Heritage Cruises. Don't miss The Ship That Never Was, a long-running theatre production based on the true story of a convict escape from Sarah Island.
Stripped bare by copper mining, the legendary lunar landscape of Queenstown has a haunting beauty. Peer deep into a former open-cut mine at Ironblow Lookout, and steam through history and rainforest on the 35-kilometre West Coast Wilderness Railway. Delve into ancient Huon pine forests, forgotten mines and the emotive history of the Franklin River blockade with RoamWild Tasmania.
In Queenstown you're hit with this harsh, gritty mining heritage, but five kilometres out of town and you're heading into pristine wilderness." Anthony Coulson, RoamWild Tasmania
See Australia's largest tract of cool-temperate rainforest on the Tarkine Drive. Marvel at Trowutta Arch, where a collapsed cave has left an archway between a pair of sinkholes, and the Edge of the World, facing a mighty swell that sweeps across thousands of kilometres of unbroken ocean. Just a few kilometres away, cruise the mirror-still waters of Arthur River with Arthur River Cruises.
Places We Go
Once there was gold among the green of the takayna/Tarkine rainforest, and the one-time gold-mining town of Corinna is now the Corinna Wilderness Experience. Stay in a miners' hut or in new cottages built in the style of the original huts. Explore the peaceful Pieman River on the Arcadia II, a grand old vessel built from precious Huon pine, or hire a kayak from Corinna and paddle to dreamy Lovers Falls.
The Roaring Forties deliver some of the world's cleanest air to this relentlessly windswept spot, where a weather station has allowed scientists to measure air pollution and atmospheric changes since 1976. Inhale deeply, and also explore the historic Woolnorth property and wind farm on a half-day trip with Woolnorth Tours.
Mole Creek caves
Delve into the underworld in the caves that puncture Mole Creek Karst National Park. Rangers lead tours through King Solomons Cave and nearby Marakoopa Cave, featuring glow worms and fantastic limestone formations, while Wild Cave Tours runs more adventurous spelunking trips. "There are well over 400 known caves here, so it's a densely cavernous karst landscape," says Wild Cave Tours' owner Deb Hunter.
"The caves are still active - there are still rivers running through them - and they're spectacularly decorated." Deb Hunter, Wild Cave Tours
Tasmania's mountain biking revolution has spread to the north west. Wild Mersey has more than 30 kilometres of predominantly green and blue (easy and intermediate) trails around Latrobe and Railton, while the Penguin Mountain Bike Park links directly onto rides along the Dial Range. The range's new Iron Tor trail includes an adrenaline-pumping seven-kilometre descent with views as good as the riding.
Eat, drink and stay
Meet the cattle, tour the abalone farm and forage for the greens before rattling the pans with Provenance Kitchen. Cooking classes and the resulting four-course meal take place in a kitchen inside a 19th-century barn at Highfield Historic Site in Stanley. "Plants and animals thrive on the north west's consistent rainfall and moderate temperatures," says owner Emma Bruce.
"Combine great growing conditions with farmers at the top of their game, and it's a recipe for an amazing eating experience." Emma Bruce, Provenance Kitchen
The seafood comes as fresh as the air along this stretch of coastline. Set your fish finder to Tarkine Fresh Oysters in Smithton, Fish Frenzy in Burnie, Wynyard Seafoods on the Wharf, Hursey Seafoods in Stanley, and Bay Fish Co in Strahan.
Cradle for the night
There are plenty of spots to rest along the edge of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, including camping at Discover Holiday Parks Cradle Mountain and a decadent soak in a private outdoor bath at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge. Or head inside the park to the rustic Waldheim Cabins.
Ship Inn Stanley
This restored 1849 hotel at the base of The Nut features seven suites and two apartments, all styled beautifully with linens, antiques, curios and luxe touches. Each room at Ship Inn Stanley tells a story of shipwrecks, battles and salty maritime characters. There’s a gym and yoga studio in the old stables and a new guest lounge in the neighbouring Billiard Hall.
Novo Luxury Apartment
The view from the deck of this 1912 heritage-listed building on the waterfront at Penguin is all beach and Bass Strait. Stylish interiors at Novo Luxury Apartment feature exposed brick walls and tiles, contemporary artwork, an entertainer’s kitchen and luxe furnishings by homeware emporium Cocoon Designs downstairs. The apartment sleeps up to eight.
Coastal Pods Wynyard
Take the bones of a shipping container and apply the brains of an architect to create Coastal Pods Wynyard, on the bank of the Inglis River. The style is industrial meets seaside in this pair of pods, with an atrium, reading nook, rain showers and galley kitchens.
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