THE NORTH WEST & KING ISLAND
The rugged and exciting north west
Open to the winds and waters of Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean, the north west of Tasmania boasts a rugged
coastline interspersed with golden beaches, rocky outcrops capped with lighthouses to warn unsuspecting mariners,
and solid buildings built to house the families who tended them, and those who opened the country to sheep and
cattle grazing and founded services along the coast and inland.
On the north west tip, at the appropriately named Cape Grim, the Woolnorth Windfarm harnesses the Roaring Forties
to add to the hydro grid, and to the south the massive sand dunes stir under its caress.
This is wild and woolly country but it also has its softer side. Stark coastline provides attractive and
sheltered coves where small fishing fleets can harbour. Around these harbours pretty townships grow and few are
more attractive than Stanley or Arthur River.
Sheltered by 'The Nut' a massive outcrop protecting the small town Stanley is one of many places providing
services along the north coast. It was here that Highfield was established in 1835, the base for the van
Diemen Company which developed much of the north coast and established Woolnorth. The house is now under
the protection of the National Trust and can be seen on a short drive from Stanley centre.
To the south, at Mawbanna, is the Water Wheel Creek complex situated in the rainforest and well worth visiting.
Along the coast many small towns like Black River, Crayfish Creek and Edgecumbe Beach have accommodation,
beaches and plenty to see and do. There are two major coastal parks at Table Cape and Rocky Cape and the
Arthur Pieman Conservation area stretches south along the west coast from Arthur River.
Smithton is the largest town in the north east and is well serviced with motels and resorts, a large shopping
centre, and galleries and cafes to visit. It is an ideal touring point for the region and has its own nearby
attractions like the beautiful Allendale Gardens and the Temma Cheese Factory.
To the south west of Smithton is the Dismal Swamp and pretty Arthur River where cruises operate along the
river well into the hinterland. Canoes and kayaks are available for hire and there is accommodation in a
caravan park and cabins.
From Arthur River a loose surface road connects with the west coast at Zeehan after crossing the massive
Pieman River at Corinna. I recommend this as a trip despite the rough surface.
King Island is dealt with elsewhere in these pages.
The north west offers another look at Tasmania. Quaint fishing villages, safe harbours, rocky points and stark national
parks offer a variety seen nowhere else in the state. A drive along the coast from Burnie to Smithton opens up another
view of the state which is well worth enjoying.