Tarkine Drive – Northwest Tasmania

Currently Reading: Cassandra Pybus โ€“ Truganini | Celeste Ng โ€“ Little Fires Everywhere | Richard Flanagan โ€“ Death of a River Guide

Late last year I took a drive to the north-west coast, spending two nights in the Tarkine region. Two nights is simply not enough. Following are some pictures from that trip.

Welcome to Redpa / Marrawah (does anyone else hope to see a red panda when they arrive in Redpa or is that just me?)
First glimpse of Mt Cameron West
I particularly like the fact that this sign was erected by the Marrawah Women’s Progress Association in the year I first came to Tasmania to live (at about 9 months of age – no memories of that time, obviously)
Green Point Beach – one of Tasmania’s many free camping spots – a truly spectacular location
Southern end of Green Point beach
Looking north from Green Point Beach towards Mt Cameron West
Short form pano of Green Point Beach – shells and weed and rocks and sand and sea – heavenly
Golden hour from West Point State Reserve – Marrawah
Marrawah sunset
Morning light at Green Point Beach – when I am living in my van I can’t wait to greet each new day
Mt Cameron West – I walked the length of Green Point Beach upon waking – lovely way to start the day
Patterns in the sand
Gotta love those early morning encounters with the ocean
Big waves meet Periwinkle beach in Slaves Bay
Bluff Hill Point – roads were rough around these parts
Arthur River Mouth
Driftwood for days
Edge of the World
Signage showing First Nations boundaries – signage in need of repair, but still readable
Couta Rocks
Nice rig
I found this whole set-up quite intriguing
Colours of the west coast
Tarkine Drive – this map shows the loop I drove that day
This table gives an indication of distances and times involved
Walking track that takes you under the Kannunah Bridge
View from Sumac Lookout – the contrast between this forest scene and the coastal terrain you have just left behind is beyond words
Returning to the car from Sumac Lookout
Next stop on the Tarkine Drive is Julius River
There are two lovely short walks here
It is a lush rainforest wonderland
These giant tree ferns are among the largest specimens I’ve ever seen
It was the perfect weather for a visit to this area – the light through the fern fronds was magical
The shorter of the two circuits is called the Rainforest Walk and the second is the Sinkhole Circuit. The Sinkhole Circuit doesn’t have quite the wow factor of the Rainforest Walk, but it is worth doing for the giant myrtle specimens and cool fungal conglomerates alone
I’ve printed and framed this image and it’s hard to know which end to make the bottom and which to make the top – these trees were absolutely mind-blowing
Trees you want to turn into a hug rug but barely dare to touch – look at all that gorgeous moss
Next level fungus
Just wow…
Fern joy
Dempster Plains Lookout – hard to believe this is only a few minutes up the road from the Julius River Rainforest
This sinkhole is located on the side of the road between Rapid River and Milkshake Hills
Definitely stop here – the soundscape is as mesmerising as the visual
I think (but welcome correction if I am wrong!) that this is a specimen of Nothofagus cunninghamii – an evergreen variety of fagus, unlike the deciduous fagus: Nothofagus gunnii which can be found all around Tasmania’s Central Plateau (and which I will be going on the hunt for with my camera during the Autumn months)
No trip to the Tarkine is complete without a visit to Milkshakes Forest Reserve (if only because of its cool name). I didn’t climb to the top of Milkshake Hills on this occasion as I had already walked the length of Green Point Beach to the base of Mt Cameron West (and return), and wandered the Julius River circuits, so wanted to leave a little in reserve for the remainder of the drive as I wasn’t sure yet where I was going to stay that night – I’ll definitely be returning to do this on my next visit (along with Lake Chisholm and Wes Beckett Falls, not to mention the numerous coastal walks that I skipped past in order to immerse myself in the forest)
I did, however, complete the ten minute nature circuit that circumnavigates the picnic area
The forest is still recovering from the bushfires of 2016 but the regrowth is starting to reshape the landscape in promising ways
My favourite part about this picnic shelter is the roof – mossy and messy – nature at its best
Let’s not forget that most popular of Tarkine Drive destinations: the Trowutta Arch and its rainforest walk
Given the scope of deforestation that one drives through before reaching the State Reserve that houses Trowutta Arch, I was very pleasantly surprised by this little patch of remnant rainforest – regardless of your views on the place of old growth forests in Tasmania, experiencing the abrupt change in landscape as you drive through clear-felled forest and back into the shady canopy of the State Reserve does make you think about how lush this whole area must have been before clearing began to take place
There is a very good path leading all the way from the car park to the famed arch
You do a bit of a double take at your first glimpse of the lime green sinkhole through the foliage – seems too lurid to be real
But as you come round the final corner you realise there is no mistaking it
There is a path of sorts down to the water’s edge and beyond, but I watched another visitor navigating this with some difficulty and having been the recipient of two hiking related broken wrist accidents in as many years in recent times, I thought it best to err on the side of caution on this occasion. I was content to photograph the sinkhole from the forested side of the arch…
More of those prehistoric giant ferns
Check out the root system on this bad boy
After emerging from the Trowutta Arch rainforest walk, I couldn’t resist returning to Green Point for a second night in the van. This sunset shot was taken from the northern side of Mt Cameron West, in the Preminghana Indigenous Protected Area. The mountain and surrounding area to the north, which contains ancient middens and some of the largest known petroglyphs in the world, is sacred to the First Nations people of this area – it’s not hard to see why
Looking north towards Woolnorth and Cape Grim
Last light over Green Point

If you are travelling to northwest Tasmania at the right time of year (Sept/Oct), it’s worth stopping by the Table Cape Tulip farm to check out the tulips in full bloom. The perfect rows of colour stretching off into the distance are spectacular. I decided to have a bit of fun and went hunting for the rebel tulips standing out from the crowd, some of which are pictured below.

I’ll be in Bridport for a couple of weeks from tomorrow, so will take the time to visit Bridestowe Lavendar Farm while I’m up that way. I am hoping for some equally pretty pics of the lavendar in full bloom. I will then be spending some time in Smithton during the first week of Feb while my cousin paints a house, so I will be revisiting the Tarkine in order to explore some of the areas I missed.

12 thoughts on “Tarkine Drive – Northwest Tasmania

    • Thank you so much Sue!! That’s lovely to hear ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ™ I’m having a little trouble with the formatting at the moment. There seems to be something of a disjuncture between what I see and what my reader sees. When you read the post, can you recall, did the text under each photo appear centered or left justified?


  1. Glorious photos. I really appreciate finding your site. What an amazing photographer you are. Thanks you for the joy of sharing your trip.


    • Thank you so much Robyn! That’s so kind of you to say. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ™ I’m so glad you’re enjoying the site. I do love taking photos and Tassie is so stunningly photogenic. These were all snapped with my phone. I have a Nikon but am still finding my way with it I have to admit. I look forward to learning the ins and outs of long exposures and the like and revisiting these areas with fresh eyes. I hope the blog inspires you to get out and visit some of these places yourself, if you haven’t already. Thanks so much for stopping by! ๐Ÿ˜Š


    • Thanks Wes! I’m getting back to it slowly. I’ve been visiting some pretty spectacular places around Tassie of late, so I thought it was about time I started updating more regularly and sharing the beauty. I hope you’re doing well. Will email soon!


  2. was most impressed with your blog on an area l hope to visit in oct. 2021 covid permitting.
    A great help and inspiration. Thankyou and happy travels.
    regards ron Bribie is. qld.


    • Thank you so much Ron, for your lovely comments and for dropping by the blog! I’m so pleased the post has inspired you to visit the beautiful north-west. You’ll love the Tarkine. It’s such a unique area, and this post just touches on a very small part of it. So much to see and explore! October will be here before you know it. All the best for your travels, Lou


      • So true! It can get pretty hectic over that way. I watched the weather for a couple of weeks and picked my window. I got about a day and a half of spectacular sunshine before the rain set in again. Can’t wait to get back that way and explore more!


  3. Wonderful photo selection and stirring writing opinion yet they are only a part of the Tarkine and west coast beauty. The river boat trips up Arthur river and the Piemanโ€™s and the coastline when pounded by storms, the unique towns and features further south, all ensure there is plenty more for visiting the next time.


    • Thank you Tom! Couldn’t agree more! I grew up on the west coast so am pretty familiar with the woolly weather that the area is famous for. I watched the weather reports for weeks in order to take that particular trip to the Tarkine as I wanted the rare experience of witnessing all those glorious shades of green under a clear blue sky. But I’ll certainly be back for river adventures in boat, kayak and canoe, and I do love me a wild coastal storm so look forward to capturing some of that action on future visits as well. I’ve been quiet on the blog of late as have been focusing on other things, but planning on kick-starting regular posts again very soon. Watch this space!


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