Go behind the scenery in the North-West of Tasmania

  • May 28, 2013
  • By Tourism Tasmania

This year the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge is set to explore the West and North West region of Tasmania which is home to some of the most significant World Heritage Areas on earth. 

We’ve put together a seven-day adventure guide that takes you through some of the wonders of the North West region, from the Tarkine rainforest which will enchant you, the Gordon River which will move you, the coast with all its charms will mesmerise you, the fresh local produce will fill you and Cradle Mountain will blow you away. 

There’s also a lot to discover behind the scenery - in Strahan, shop for local timbers and wood crafts or take a jet boat ride, seaplane tour or four wheel motorbike ride on the nearby sand dunes. Don’t miss a 5.30pm viewing of Tasmania’s longest running play, “The Ship that Never Was” and feast on some of the most amazing seafood and local produce you’ll find anywhere in the world. At Cradle Mountain, view devils at Devils@Cradle, be pampered at Waldheim Alpine Spa, or view the amazing images at the Wilderness Gallery – there’s no shortage of inspiring sights and experiences. Alternatively take a quad bike tour, try canyoning, fly over Cradle Mountain on a scenic charter flight, or take a guided trail ride on horseback. in the island’s vibrant city of Hobart, quickly taking you deep into stunning scenery on route to the western wilderness. The Lyell Highway guides you through New Norfolk then plunges into Tasmania’s wild west. 

Day 1
Hobart to Lake St Clair

Your adventure begins in the island’s vibrant city of Hobart, quickly taking you deep into stunning scenery on route to the western wilderness. The Lyell Highway guides you through New Norfolk then plunges into Tasmania’s wild west. Along the way visit “The Wall in the Wilderness” – an extraordinary Huon pine sculpture with carved panels depicting the history of the region, by the Cradle Mountain Lake St Clair National Park. Arrive and enjoy the lakeside scenery, take a hike or bike trail, and fish in the pristine area. And this is just day one.

Stay overnight in Lake St Clair or Derwent Bridge.

Day 2
Lake St Clair to Queenstown

Today you continue your westerly travels entering the world famous Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Take the time to reflect on the hidden gems you’ll discover on the many short walks and lookouts sign posted from the road. The Iron Blow lookout is a must see. At the end of your day’s scenic journey you’re greeted by the surprise that is Queenstown, with its contrasting beauty and renowned arts scene. Queenstown is an active mining community where you can travel 1.8 kilometres underground and see miners and their monster machinery at work. A short walk up the steep Spoin Kopf lookout provides a great view over the town and its infamous gravel football oval; but what else would you expect in the wild west?

Stay overnight in Queenstown.

Day 3
Queenstown to Strahan

Begin the day with a drive to Strahan and a fantastic array of activities to choose from. You can take a fishing excursion on the harbour, a scenic floatplane trip over the mighty Gordon and Franklin Rivers, or an exhilarating jet boat ride on the King River. Visit Ocean Beach where the Roaring Forties winds have crossed 20,000 kilometres of ocean to cleanse and purify Tasmania’s longest beach. For lunch visit the Bushmans Bar and Café located in the centre of Strahan. As an afternoon snack try cheese tasting at The Cellar, set high on the hilltop at View 42 overlooking the harbor and village. And in the evening, kick-back and enjoy a meal of local seafood, while watching the fishing boats laden with craypots dock at the wharf. Try dinner at Risby Cove a licensed restaurant set historically in a peaceful cove; once a commercial maritime centre that now serves contemporary cuisine. There you will also find an interesting art gallery offering an eclectic collection of work by Tasmanian artists, including sensuous woodwork that showcases some of the textural local timbers, including the rare Huon pine. Allow yourself to settle into Strahan, taking delight in this quaint village positioned in one of the wildest tracts of the island.

Stay overnight in Strahan.

Day 4
Strahan

The magnificent Strahan Harbour and the renowned Gordon River are a natural wonder of this World Heritage listed area, and a journey into the heart of this environment aboard one of the cruise vessels to experience its beauty, as well as the early the convict stories of Sarah Island, is unforgettable. Back on shore, shop for local timbers and wood crafts. If you’re keen to get back by the water, there are jet boat rides, seaplane tours and four wheel motorbike rides on the nearby sand dunes. Whatever you get up to during the day, make sure you plan for a 5.30pm viewing of Tasmania’s longest running play, “The Ship that Never Was”. And of course, through it all, you’ll continue to feast on some of the most amazing seafood and local produce you’ll find anywhere in the world.

Stay overnight in Strahan.

Day 5
Strahan to Corinna

It’s time to hit the road again from Strahan, and just up the road, you’ll find more recent historical riches in Zeehan. This town was once home to Tasmania’s third largest population - one of many surprising facts you’ll learn at the West Coast Heritage Centre. There is an incredible display of many artefacts and well-preserved accounts in Zeehan to add historical flavour to your western wilderness journey. From there it’s back into a wild place, unique unto itself – Corinna. This restored Tarkine mining town can be accessed from Strahan via a less trodden trail, using the Fatman barge to carry your vehicle across the sleepy Pieman River. On arrival you’ll be well advised to take a leisurely paddle in kayaks, or stroll through the amazing temperate rainforest that is like padding under your feet.

Stay overnight in Corinna.

Day 6
Corinna to Cradle Mountain

Iconic Cradle Mountain is your next destination. On the way, stop in Waratah to admire the deep dip of the waterfall in the middle of town and marvel at the old miner’s “Stamper Mill” in action. Once you arrive at Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake you can expect a natural experience like no other. Everyone can enjoy this national park with walks to suit all ages and fitness levels. Take the Dove Lake Circuit walk, or a quad bike tour, try canyoning, fly over Cradle Mountain on a scenic charter flight, or take a guided trail ride on horseback. See Tasmanian Devils up close and personal at Devils@Cradle, spend an evening on a spotlight tour, admire the displays in the Wilderness Photographic Gallery, or maybe as a final treat enjoy some luxurious pampering at the Waldheim Alpine Spa. It really is as spectacular as you’ve seen in the brochures but can only truly be experienced while amongst the lingering mossy aroma and crisp mountain air on site.

Stay overnight in Cradle Mountain.

Day 7
Cradle Mountain to Launceston

Begin your last day with a very light breakfast as there’s much to appreciate ahead. Start by driving through Wilmot on the Letterbox Trail, spotting the locals display of quirky letterboxes. Wilmot is also home to the early G.J.Coles family general store, now named the Wilmot Country Store. Continue to Tasmazia and the village of Lower Crackpot, where you will find a maze full of hidden surprises as well as great pancakes. Then it’s on to Sheffield, the town of murals. Don’t miss Fudge ‘n’ Good Coffee, the World of Marbles, and The Emporium - an ever-changing collection of antiques and collectables. Drive on to Railton, town of topiary and the bizarre Looking Glass Cottage; a world of fibre optic lamps. Drop into Latrobe to taste some of Tasmania’s finest chocolates at House of Anvers. Then continue on with tasting stops at Ashgrove Cheese and the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm. Bellies full, you’ll arrive in Launceston for your final departure.

It’s been a fantastic week, opening your eyes to so much that’s new and fascinating. You may not be a local yet, but you could be well on your way.

Stay tuned for our next seven-day adventure guide will explore the West Coast region of Tasmania!

For more on the wonders of Tassie, go to www.discovertasmania.com.au

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