• Ánika Warren-Smith

Tassie Trip - Part 1

Updated: Aug 6

Our adventures exploring the north and north-western wilds of Tasmania...



In early 2021, the Spirit of Tasmania announced a 'bring-your-car-for-free' special and I jumped on the chance to nab tickets for the Easter school holidays. With almost two weeks to spend, I planned an itinerary largely confined to the north and north-west. Even so, there was still A LOT we wanted to do and see.

I was a little worried that the kids might not be able to handle the pace! I needn't have. They have been wanting to go to Tassie for ages and threw themselves into the adventure.

This post is a very quick run down of our itinerary as I've had many people interested to know the route we took. I have just wrapped up posting my photos from the trip on Instagram and there is also a Tasmania stories highlight @anikawarrensmith


From our arrival in Devonport, our first week covered about 650km and looked like this (below). I've added some of the main sights that we visited along the way.


The Cradle Coast

View from Brickmakers Bay towards Stanley and the Nut

We spent our first two nights on the north coast and did a couple of day outings. The driving was easy, through a rural landscape of gently rolling hills. Dip Falls Forest Reserve is less than 30km off the main highway, up a scenic country road. Here you will find the impressive Dip Falls and a 5 minute walk up the road brings you to the equally impressive Big Tree.


Our other day trip was to the stunning town of Boat Harbour. We picked a perfect day for the beach and were super excited to see a big group of spider crabs whilst we were swimming. On the way home, we drove up to Table Cape Lighthouse where you can do a tour or short walk to a lookout with expansive views over the north coast.

 

Then it was time to leave the coast and head south-west into some of the most remote parts of Tasmania. We took the road via Hellyer Gorge (below), which looks like a very pretty spot for an overnight camp.


Next stop Waratah, where you can see a waterfall right in the middle of town! This is a good place to grab fuel and lunch at the Waratah Roadhouse. Aside from the pub, there does not seem to be many other options for food. In hindsight, we should have got lunch here...



Philosopher Falls is not far out of Waratah on the road to Corinna and a beautiful walk through Tarkine/takayna rainforest (4km return). Tassie's mining industry is said to have started around here and the track follows an old mine water race as you get closer to the falls. We stopped many times to photograph the huge range of fungi along the way.



Then to Corinna, where we hoped to get some lunch. What we did not realise was that most of the road would be gravel and by the time we arrived it was about 3pm. The pub was not serving food at that time, so we just had to make do with snacks. Situated on the Pieman River, Corinna looks like a great base for exploring takayna. There are short walks near the settlement, and we had time to do the 20min Huon Pine walk along the river whilst waiting to get on the 2-car barge. This is the only way across the Pieman, so allow yourself time to get there and potentially wait a while.


Pieman River, Corinna

Western Wilds

Our base for the next three nights was the old silver mining town of Zeehan. After a big day of driving and sights, we pulled in around 5pm to find the historic buildings of the main street bathed in golden hour sunlight. Knowing Tassie weather is not always so generous, I grabbed these shots quick smart!


On our first day here, we took the mountain bikes for a spin on the Spray Tunnel track. Riding through the tunnel was something else, it's pitch black! The track continues on from there and you can connect it up with the Oonah Hill MTB Trail. If you're interested in the specifics of that ride, click here


Oonah Hill trailhead
Spray Tunnel

Big views from the Oonah Hill climb

That ride took somewhat longer than we anticipated, meaning we had less time to explore Queenstown that afternoon. However, we did enjoy wandering around the streets (pretty quiet) appreciating the built heritage of the town.



Then there was time for a drive up the very windy road to see the Iron Blow and just across the road from there, a sunset walk to the Horsetail Falls lookout.


Iron Blow - open cut mine dating back to 1880s
Views towards Lake Burbury from Iron Blow
Golden hour on Mt Owen above Horsetail Falls
Looking towards Queenstown & the boardwalk to Horsetail Falls

And that was all we had time for unfortunately. Given that there are a whole lot of new MTB trails under construction at Queenstown, I'm sure we will return! Then we can also do everything else I had planned in the area.

 

The following day, we were up bright and early to drive to Strahan for our Gordon River Cruise. Now there were A LOT of photos taken and this amazing experience into World Heritage Wilderness really deserves a blog of it's own, so I will just put a few here for now.


Strahan itself is a very picturesque historic town with lots to see and do. We had time after the cruise returned to visit a cafe for our first latte fix in days! Then we explored the waterfront and did the walk from Peoples Park to Hogarth Falls.



Hogarth Falls
 

And just like that, it was time for us to move on from the West Coast. We had planned to ride into Montezuma Falls on the way to our next destination, Cradle Mountain. But not long after we left Strahan, the rain which we knew was coming hit with a vengeance! We could barely hear each other over the downpour on the tin roof of the camp kitchen as we cooked dinner back at Zeehan Bush Camp. I struck up a conversation with another traveller who had attempted to ride the 4km track into the falls the previous day, and had to turn back because it was just too boggy. And that was before all this rain. We could see from the forecast that there was going to be a brief window of good weather before it turned arctic, so changed our plans to get to Cradle Mountain earlier and try to get a hike in. We were a bit sad as we drove past the turnoff to Montezuma Falls, the biggest on the island, but I think it was the right decision. Again, we'll just have to come back ;-)


Our drive to Cradle Mountain took us through the towns of Rosebery and Tullah, which we checked out briefly, and the Vale of Belvoir. There is a lookout here that you really must stop for, as the views across this unique conservation area are stunning (below).


Vale of Belvoir views towards Cradle Mountain
Westward views

This is where I am going to finish Part 1 of our trip. The next instalment covers our time at Cradle Mountain and journey through the Great Western Tiers to Derby. If you'd like any information about this section of our travels, just make a comment on this post or head to my bio page for contact details


All images here are available for purchase (prints or digital license), contact as above for details.





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