With only two days left before we had to head back to Devonport, we raced from Cradle Mountain to Arthur River so that we could get a head start on the north west coast.
We were starting to get crabby with each other because we were so stinky and exhausted from our hike on the mountain, and our camping location had fallen through. We just wanted to find somewhere to stop so we could rinse the film of dried sweat from our bodies and have dinner. We heard of a place near Marrawah but on arrival, it was clear that overnight camping was not permitted. We stopped anyway to clean up.
What started off as a deserted location soon filled up as beach bums arrived for a final surf and construction workers appeared to lay out some gravel over the car park. Privacy while we bathed became an awkward dance to stay out of sight but we managed to finish the task with our dignity intact.
We had a brief chat with the tradies before they packed up, and we were relieved when they reassured us that we would be able to get away with staying the night.
A small holiday and fishing village with a long, single-lane bridge over the river, Arthur River is Tasmania’s most westerly town. We crossed the bridge to the southern side of the river and headed to the lookout at Gardiner Point. The point is nick-named “The Edge of the World” because if you were to head directly west, you’d miss the southernmost point of Africa.
We decided we were due for a pub meal, so we headed to the westernmost pub in Tassie. The Marrawah Tavern was really busy because it was a Friday night, but also because the local cricket club was having a bit of a shindig.
The tavern made state-wide news headlines back in 2013, when a man was shot dead outside the pub just after closing time. Police believe the gunman was a local but, as yet, has never been caught. The pub has since changed owners, business seems to be good and the events of 2013 are just a thing of the past that nobody talks about.
We grabbed some drinks and found a table in the bistro area. Dave settled on the $24 schnitzel with mushroom sauce, and Juz went with the $28 chicken parma – both with chips and salad. The schnitzel with fresh, thick and juicy and the chips were ok, but they needed seasoning. The sauce tasted like packet gravy with mushrooms in it and was nice for the saltless chips. The salad was really interesting – it had rice, diced capsicum and onion, beetroot, cheese and half a boiled egg in a lettuce cup.
The parmi was also a thick chicken schnitzel with thick ham, salsa sauce and generic cheese. It came with the same chips and salad as the schnitty. Overall, the meals weren’t worth $24 and $28, but we were willing to pay because we were hungry, tired and remote.
Just a few minutes down the road from Marrawah, Green Point offers a gorgeous coastline and a perfect place to enjoy sunset. We chatted with some guys from the council who were laying down a new layer of gravel, as we watched some surfers catching waves in the Southern Ocean.
About 20kms up the road from Smithton, we stopped at Stanley to see The Nut. We pulled over at a lookout on the way into town for our first glimpse of The Nut, which is actually an old volcanic plug.
Originally named Circular Head by Bass and Flinders in 1798, the name was changed to The Nut in the 1950s. There’s a chairlift that goes up to the top, and a walking track that we would have done if we had time.
Our stop in Burnie was brief. We swung past the Makers Workshop at the Visitor Information Centre, a display of local crafts – leather goods, paper making, paper sculptures, wood crafts, jewellery, and souvenirs. There’s also a cafe with cheese and whisky tasting.
Only 20 minutes south of Burnie is Guide Falls, a little picnic area with BBQs and a great place to cool off on a hot day.
West of Burnie is Wynard, a little town known for its annual tulip festival in Spring. Yes, it sounds riveting, we know. If you’re craving a lookout, check out Table Cape lookout – the view goes for miles.
You won’t believe it but the town of Penguin is mad about penguins. It’s the home of the Big Penguin – a 3 metre tall cement penguin that was built to commemorate the centenary of the proclamation of the town in 1975.
The Big Penguin isn’t the only penguin in town – the street bins are also decorated with penguins, and there’s a huge penguin collection in the information centre.
Other than all the penguin stuff, Penguin is a picturesque little town with pubs, cafes, a quaint church, beaches, parkland, and a bakery that looked like it made awesome pies.