Drawn by beaches, scenic fishing villages, and stunning mountain scenery, Tasmania’s north west has long been a grey nomad favourite.
And, for many, Smithton is the natural base from which to explore the region’s wonders.
Just a couple of hours’ drive from Devonport, this attractive town with a population of a little over 3,000, grew quickly during the Victorian gold rush as timber demand skyrocketed.
The Circular Head Heritage Centre offers a great insight into Smithton’s pioneering history. Visitors will also enjoy visiting Sumac Lookout with its superb views over the Arthur River. To the south, are beautiful Allendale Gardens, and the Milkshake Hills Forest Reserve.
Smithton is well known for its blackwood forests to the north-east, and forestry reserves to the north and west … and also as being the gateway to the Tarkine. This 477,000- hectare expanse of wilderness is alive with unique wildlife including snakes, frogs, birds, 28 different mammals, one species of dragon, and a giant freshwater lobster. Wow!
The Tarkine also houses Dismal Swamp, a natural blackwood forest sinkhole. Visitors can take a walkway suspended over the treetops to the floor of the sinkhole, or there’s the option of taking a 110-metre slide from the viewing platform to the swamp floor!
From Smithton, it’s easy to explore other northwest coast attractions such as Arthur River, which is sometimes known as the Edge of the World. The scenic fishing village is near theArthur-Pieman River Protected Area with its dramatic beaches and volatile surf.
To the west of here is the world’s longest uninterrupted expanse of ocean. The currents here sweep unimpeded more than halfway around the planet from Argentina.
Other top destinations are the surfing town of Marrawah and the village of Stanley, perched on the slopes of an extinct volcano known as The Nut.
Further south is Rocky Cape National Park, home to rocky headlands, wildflowers, rock pools, bushwalking tracks and a stunning lighthouse.
As you would expect in such a genuine wilderness, there are great free camping and national park camping opportunities, as well as a wide selection of van parks.
This part of the world is not to be missed. Breathe in the pure air, drink in the pristine scenery and you’ll soon forget all about the high cost of bringing the rig across the Bass Strait.