North West Coast
Earth : Oceania : Australia : Tasmania : North West Coast
North West Coast is in Australia.
Best done by car. There's a maze of side roads off the main highway which connects the far North West with Burnie, Devonport and Launceston.
Van Diemen's Land Tour Starting point: Launceston; Approx 1000 km in 5 days
Follow A1 direction Devonport/Deloraine, turn off onto C513 to Liffey Falls; This gravel road is not suitable for Campervans etc. The road leads you through the Western Tiers with the typical rain forest to A5. This leads you to Deloraine where you turn off towards Cradle Mountain/Mole Creek (B12). The Caves are a couple of km past Mole Creek and worth a visit. Around the caves is a short walk through the forest, a nice way to stretch your legs and pass the time until the next tour. The tour of the cave was one of the best I ever went on, because the guide didn't only focus on the cave and stone formations but also knew a lot about Tassie's animals, plants etc. A bit further down the road follow the sign to Devil's gullet on the left. It's private but open to the public at own risk. This gravel road is again not suitable for Campervans. On some sort of a plateau a footpath leads to a platform at the top of the cliffs. From there it's about a 50m drop and you have an absolutely stunning view of the Western Tiers and Cradle Mountains. Back in the valley follow the C138 towards Sheffield, you passed the turnoff on your way to Devil's gullet.Gowrie Park is in the middle of nowhere at the foot of Mt Roland. On the right hand side there's a campsite which also offers cheap hostel type accommodation and a communal kitchen. Further down the road there's also a free campsite.
Head back into the direction you came from, then turn off onto C140 to Staverton; You pass Tasmazia on the way, it's nice for children as well as adults.Tasmazia is well worth an extended visit of at least a few hours. Inside this now well established hedge maze complex you will find a full scale replica of Hampton Court Maze, the Confusion Maze, which is reputed to be harder to find your way out of than into and many other mazes. The Great Maze, visible from the roadside was the largest hedge maze in the world when it was planted in 1985 and has now grown up to a magnificent size. It conceals many interesting and whimsical things such as the 1/5TH scale Village of Lower Crackpot, Cubby Town and Spook House. The maze complex has a gift store, pancake parlor and picnic tables where the public is encouraged to stop and rest on the way to Cradle Mountain. Right beside it, a small road leads you down to Lake Barrington, site of a recent Rowing World Cup. The C140 brings you to Sheffield, where most buildings are nicely painted with historical scenes. From there the B14 brings to the coast. Follow the A2 to Wynyard. Fossil Bluff can only be visited at low tide, so check the times. The ladies at the tourist information are exceptionally helpful and friendly. Decent accommodation is offered by the Beach Retreat Tourist Park with campsites and motel type cabins. Leisure Ville Holiday Centre  is another option which offers caravan and camping facilities along with a range of self contained cabins and apartment style villas.
Leave the car at Sisters Beach, the track starts off opposite the boat ramp. Officially you should register with the Park office which I didn't find. Good hiking boots and a jacket are mandatory, it's very windy on top of the hills and the track is overgrown at times. Discover Mountain dragons and watch the eagles on the inland path to Rocky Cape. Rocky Cape has road access, if you don't feel like walking back. The track along the beach is fun, but hard at times as you have to climb over rocks. The pink ribbons show you the way. Check the tides ahead of your hike.
The Nut in Stanley is some sort of a monolith and the main attraction of the town. A chairlift brings you to the top and an easy stroll offers good views of the coast. If you're interested in local history visit the Highfield Heritage Site located in the former headquarters of the Van Diemen's Company. The A2 then brings you to Smithton and further towards the west coast. Be sure to have enough petrol as the next petrol station is in Marrawah. This is also the last petrol station for miles if you plan on taking the Wilderness Highway. On weekends the beach at Marrawah can be very busy because the constant waves attract a lot of surfers. If you don't get a place at the local free campsite travel on to Arthur River. The local campsite offers cheap, basic sites. Take a stroll along the beach in Arthur River,sometimes called the Edge of the World (it's 17 000km to the next landmass).
Go back the way you came. From Smithton the B22 and C218 take you into the Tarkine Wilderness and onto the Forest Drive. Take stops at Kannunan Bridge, Julius River (also a free campsite) and Lake Chisholm. Unfortunately Tayetea Bridge got flushed away with the last flood, so you have to take the same way back to Smithton. From there stay on the main highways (A2, A1).
Apricots grow well in the lush countryside along the North West coast. In summer the large sweet fruits can be bought just about anywhere along the coast. Keep your children happy with icecream at Boat Harbour Beach. The beach there's also nice for swimming.