Tasmania’s Not So Wild West Coast

When the wind is strong, the seas along Tasmania’s west coast are rough and tempestuous. However, for us, the weather has been idyllic with only gentle breezes and lots of sunshine.

Yesterday, we travelled from Stanley to Arthutr River and return but first, we took some time to explore the little town of Stanley. It only has a few streets that mainly follow the line of the waterfront. There are many cute timber houses that give the town an air of history. Among them is this house in which previous Prime Minister Joseph Lyons was born. It is a lot more humble than the house in which he lived at Devonport that we saw the other day

For the first part of the day, we drove across gently rolling countryside with large herds of cattle. Some were beet cattle but many were the ‘udder ones’. This is very much dairy country,

Along the cost, we stopped at a number of little bays and headlands., These were reached on good quality dirt roads  that ran off the main road without any difficulty. Our first stop was at Marrawah’s Green Point Beach. It has a long beach of white sand and looks spectacular, probably because so few people get there to disturb it. Marrawah is the furthest town from Hobart, the state’s capital and very remote (at least by road).

A little further on, we found Lighthouse Beach with its attractive rocky outcrops.

The lighthouse was at Bluff Hill Point, a little way along the highway. You can take the sign many ways but I hope the bees can read that they should stay away from the lighthouse structure.

The first lighthouse at Low Head was established in 1833; the second to be lit in Tasmania. It was 15.3 metres high and the light consisted of a large number of metal surfaces each with its own oil lamp. A clockwork mechanism was used to rotate the light. By 1888 the original tower had fallen into disrepair and this current tower 21 metres high was constructed of brick.  In 1916 a kerosene mantle burner was installed and the character of the light was altered from single flashing to triple flashing.  In 1941, electric power was extended to the station and the lighthouse apparatus was converted to an electric lamp in place of the kerosene mantle burner. An electric motor was installed to rotate the lens in place of the weight-driven clockwork mechanism. Today the lighthouse continues to project its 3-flash signal every 30 seconds up to 43 kilometres out to sea. 

The nondesript town of Arthur River is situated at the mouth of the river of the same name. It is a town known for its fishing and, when the winds are up (which they are most of the time), for its huge waves and icy isolation. Today was very different. The major attractions around the town include walks along the coastline, important Aboriginal carvings at Mt Cameron West and Sundown Point, and cruises along the beautiful reaches of the Arthur River 

We found a picnic shelter behind the river entrance and ate with the company of another group of travellers who also came from Victoria. There was store in the town but it looked to only be as large as a couple of shipping containers. 

Near Arthur River is an area known as ‘The Edge of the World’. Perhaps it is. It’s further south than Africa, so the winds would be able to circumnavigate the globe all the way east from Cape Horn.

We continued south to Nelson Bay and then further south to Couta Rocks.

At Couta Rocks, just near Lobster Rocks, was a road junction and the  start of the Tarkine Drive. We followed this for part of its route to return to Stanley. It took us though a variety of forest types. Some were tall eucalypt trees which would have made excellent light poles. Then there was also the typical Myrtle Beech forests of this area.

We stopped at the Sumac Lookout that gave us a good view of the surrounding area and then crossed the high single-lane Kununna Bridge over the Arthur River to head north to Smithton and then back to Stanley.

On our first night in Stanley, we had dinner in the seafood restaurant run by the Hursey Family who also have a fishing boat at the wharf. We had a delicious fishermans basket and an equally delicious plate of scallops. Last night, we found a way into the local pub through the bar and passageway to avoid steps and enjoyed a curry scallop pie. The seafood in this area is superb.

3 thoughts on “Tasmania’s Not So Wild West Coast

  1. Hi Bruce and Jill, As a Taswegian, I am with you as you visit many familiar places on the Coast and enjoying your commentary. As a toddler I lived at Marrawah and recall the beach, but other than snakes and leeches (on the dairy farm) remember little more. Keep traveling safely and enjoy the experience! John S

  2. Scenery delightful. Did you have to scramble over a lot of uneven surfaces together your photos Bruce or is the art on the lens you use? I wouldn’t have minded joining you for those delicious sounding seafood meals.

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