Tasmania's Enchanting West Coast: A Journey through Time and Nature
Embark on a 10-Day Adventure through Tasmania's Enchanting West Coast: A Journey through Time and Nature
Are you watching Alone on SBS Australia and feeling that urge to get out and explore the wilderness of lutruwita / Tasmania for yourself? Tasmania’s Western Wilds is a hidden gem tucked out of sight. Now is your chance to embark upon the holiday of a lifetime and take the road less travelled. Award-winning photographer and proud Tasmanian Luke Tscharke has designed and curated this 10-day adventure. Explore the breathtaking surroundings of Pumphouse Point and Corina Wilderness Experience. Embark on the iconic Pieman River Cruise and immerse yourself in the heritage and culture of the area. And don’t forget to pack your camera to capture the moment with Luke’s photography tips along the way.
Day 1: Hobart to Strathgordon
Embarking on this journey in Tasmania begins by driving along the scenic Gordon River Road from Hobart to Strathgordon. This road, which was built in 1964, is the most southwestern road in the country and takes you through the stunning Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Along the way, you can witness the untouched natural beauty of towering mountains and deep gorges. Strathgordon, originally built as a town for hydro scheme workers and their families, is now home to the Gordon Power Station, which generates 13% of Tasmania's power supply. Stay at the Pedder Wilderness Lodge on Lake Pedder in the Southwest National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site rich in Aboriginal heritage.
Day 2: Strathgordon to Lake St Clair
Experience a uniquely Tasmanian welcome at Pumphouse Point, where nature's beauty is showcased, and everything is locally crafted. Soak under the stars and immerse yourself in the story of Pumphouse Point, which dates back twenty thousand years to the birth of the deepest lake in Australia. This primordial oasis for flora and fauna has been visited by artists, adventurers, and swindlers since Europeans first arrived in 1832. In 1940, the state's hydroelectricity scheme created a mid-century industrial monument by building a 5-storey pumphouse in the lake, which is now a part of Pumphouse Point's history. After years of hard work, Simon Currant brought the site back to life in 2015, and the history of Pumphouse Point is still unfolding.
Day 3: Lake St Clair
Lake St Clair is a tranquil and enchanted place in Tasmania, with an atmosphere like no other. The Aboriginal name for the lake is leeawuleena, meaning 'sleeping water', which is fitting for the stillness and calmness of the area. The lake is Australia's deepest freshwater lake and is located in the Lake St Clair National Park, which is at the heart of Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area. The park offers numerous walking trails through ancient rainforests, alpine lakes, and mountain summits. Visitors can spot native wildlife such as Bennetts wallabies, pademelons, wombats, echidnas, quolls, and platypus. Whether you take a walk or simply soak up the scenery, Lake St Clair will immerse you in its beauty.
Day 4: Lake St Clair to Strahan
Macquarie Harbour is a fjord located near the West Coast Range of Tasmania and was named after Scottish Major General Lachlan Macquarie. A fjord is a small narrow river with steep cliffs on either side created naturally by a glacier. The Macquarie Harbour was once a colony of early settlers and convicts, with Macquarie Harbour Penal Station housing them on a small island called Sarah Island. Strahan, a town situated near the harbour, was founded in 1880 by Frederick Henry, the owner of the homestead Ormiston. The area was largely established by Miners, Timber getters, and Piners. Every year, a festival celebrates the importance of the Huron Pine to the region. The Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park lies between the Central Highlands and West Coast Range and is bisected by the Lyell Highway, the only road to pass through the area.
Day 5: Strahan
Experience the magic of a bygone era on the West Coast Wilderness Railway, a diesel train that offers a glimpse into the past. Journey deep into the ancient rainforests and learn about the history and heritage of the area as you take in scenic views and cross historic bridges. The train takes you back in time, offering an unforgettable experience as you visit stations along the line and walk through the rainforest. Witness impressive engineering achievements and see the remains of the 244-metre trestle bridge at Quarter Mile. A journey on this railway is a day you will never forget.
Day 6: Strahan to Corinna
A trip to Tasmania's Wild West Coast wouldn't be complete without the iconic Pieman River Cruise, a journey through windswept coasts and wild rivers, providing a chance to spot some of the unique wildlife such as Tasmanian devils, wedge-tailed eagles, and spotted-tailed quolls. Surrounded by lush rainforest and dramatic coastal scenery, the Pieman River itself is also a beautiful natural attraction. The West Coast Wilderness Railway is another must-do experience, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, including deep gorges, rugged mountains, and dense rainforest. The railway was originally built in the late 19th century to transport minerals from the mines in the area and today offers visitors a chance to step back in time and learn about the region's rich history and culture with several different routes and experiences to choose from.
Day 7: Corinna to Cradle Mountain
The history of Cradle Mountain Hotel dates back to 1929 when it was originally built as a hunting lodge. In 1955, it was converted into a hotel, and in 2014, it underwent renovations to incorporate eco-friendly features and modern amenities. The hotel is ideally located on the edge of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding forests. The national park is renowned for its ancient forests, which form part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. These forests are characterised by eucalyptus trees and support a diverse range of plant and animal species. Visitors to the park can enjoy stunning forest views from various points within the park.
Day 8: Cradle Mountain
The Cradle Mountains are a significant mountain range in Tasmania with a rich history and heritage. Believed to have formed around 150 million years ago, the area is considered sacred by the local Indigenous community, and the first European ascent of Cradle Mountain was made in 1827. The range is home to diverse plant and animal species, including the Tasmanian devil, and is a popular tourist destination for hiking and nature photography. The Dove Lake Circuit is a 6km walking track that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Today, the area is protected as part of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 9: Cradle Mountain to Launceston
Launceston, located in northern Tasmania, Australia, is renowned for its rich heritage and laid-back ambiance. The city boasts numerous noteworthy landmarks and attractions, with the Cataract Gorge standing out as a natural reserve and recreational area. Just a short stroll from the city centre, the gorge offers walking trails, gardens, and a refreshing swimming pool, drawing both tourists and locals alike. One prominent landmark is Stillwater Seven, an 1830s flour mill transformed into a luxurious waterfront hotel. Its architecturally designed rooms provide scenic views and a blend of modern comfort and historic charm, featuring high ceilings, exposed brick walls, and antique furnishings. Conveniently situated in the heart of Launceston, Stillwater Seven is within walking distance of the Cataract Gorge and other popular destinations.