The Treasures of North West Tasmania, Australia

View Dip Falls Tasmania's North

Truth be told, Tasmania isn’t a wildly popular tourist destination for visitors to Australia. And the same could also be said for Australians from the mainland. I’m sure for many, their one and only visit to the great southern island was on a school trip many years ago. I don’t know when I would have visited again were it not for family moving there in recent years.

When I decided to visit my family there as part of my trip back home last December, I was looking forward to a few things. Of course, the big one was seeing my aunt and uncle after a few years overseas. But there was also a curiosity and hope that I would get to see a little more of the island, having not been there since I was a young child. As it turns out, we ended up being shown heaps of fantastic places scattered throughout the state’s northern coast – all the favourite places my relatives had discovered since their arrival.

Allow me to share just a few of the sights available to visitors who venture to north west Tasmania.

 

Dip Falls

Below Dip Falls, Northern Tasmania

I have to say, I wasn’t expecting too much from a place humbly called Dip Falls. The name certainly doesn’t evoke a mighty, rushing waterfall. Pleasantly. I had it underestimated. Situated a bit inland of the coastal town of Burnie, the falls are in the middle of the Dip River Forest Reserve, basically in the middle of nowhere. As it turns out, this little-seen spot features one of Tasmania’s best waterfalls.

The falls have viewing platforms both above and below, the latter of which makes you feel like they could come down upon you at any moment. Apparently we visited on a particularly good day as the water levels were atypically high and provided us with a real sense of its surging potential. Another unexpected delight was the rock formations found under the falls, with their hexagonal pattern resembling population rocky spots like the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland or the Reynisdrangar of Iceland.

Dip Falls, North West Tasmania

One feature of the falls that I thought gave it a sense of story was the so-called “Old Man”, a rock formation partly seen in the bottom centre of the above photo, that slightly resembles an old man complete with walking stick. It’s just a nice creative idea that encourages you to look a little closer at the falls. I do think the resident logs really grant the falls some added character. The below photo is probably my all time favourite from my trip to Tasmania.

Given that the falls are surrounded by lovely, dense rainforest there’s also the opportunity to explore that side of the area too.  While there are roads and tracks to be found, the big landmark here has to be the aptly named Big Tree. If you can’t guess, it is indeed a … big tree. The tree is a perfect example of Tasmania’s ancient rainforest and measures 17 metres around and over 60 high. For sure a daunting, magnificent sight for tree lovers.

Big Tree, North West Tasmania

 

Stanley’s Nut

Stanley's Nut Northern Tasmania

At the western end of Tasmania’s north coast, you’ll find The Nut or Stanley’s Nut. It’s the kind of name that immediately raises questions but also follows the great Australian tradition of overly simple names for things, think South Australia or Great Ocean Road. Well maybe it’s a little more creative than that. Anyway, The Nut is a large, steep bluff that sits above the small coastal town of Stanley, and well it kind of does look like a nut sitting on the landscape.

The Nut sits above the town of Stanley, a small seaside town full of colonial houses and the kind of atmosphere you can only get by the sea. The town itself makes for a great lunch stop if you’re out exploring north west Tasmania. From the town, you can either hike or take the chairlift up to the top of The Nut for views out to Bass Strait, weather permitting. Behind The Nut, you’ll find a pristine, wide open beach that was absolutely deserted when we stopped through.

Stanley Beach North West Tasmania

 

Devil’s Gate Dam

Devil's Gate Dam North West Tasmania

For those looking for a quiet, scenic spot surrounded by nature, Devil’s Gate Dam couldn’t be more perfect. Located at the northern end of Lake Barrington, the dam is surrounded by beautiful forest and rocky cliffs. There are views over the dam down to the River Forth, as well as a few picnic tables overlooking the water. One neat thing to see here is the colour of the water in the river below, which is the colour of tea or even coca cola, due to the tannins entering the water upstream. Maybe not dazzling, but a chance to enjoy the state’s innate tranquility.

 

Town of Sheffield

Cafe Sheffield, Tasmania's North

Throughout north west Tasmania you’ll find tons of rural towns but you’re unlikely to find any like the town of Sheffield. What makes Sheffield so special is that the town is decorated by over 50 murals adorning the sides of buildings and walls. It turns out many of the towns in the area have their own special quirk; for example a neighbouring town has all sorts of topiary decorating its streets.

The idea for the murals came about in 1985 as a renewal project based on a Canadian town that had done a similar thing to revitalise its economy. Today there are murals on all sorts of themes, from promoting local businesses to organisations like the local police and the ANZAC soldiers. Again, for more on the murals of Sheffield, see this special post.

 

Fernglade Reserve

Fern Glade Nature North West Tasmania

A common fixture of Tasmania’s primeval rainforests are their beautiful ferns, and where better to see them than a place named Fernglade Reserve. This small reserve sits on Emu River outside the town of Burnie and features some pristine forest reflected in the river’s waters. Here you can see a wealth of ferns  dotting the trails and riverbanks.

Apparently the river has been known as a habitat for local platypus, but due to powerful flooding in the recent years, it’s uncertain if there are any left in the area. We didn’t see about, but that’s not a particularly good indicator.

Fern Glade North West Tasmania

 

Cradle Mountain

Dove Lake Cradle Mountain, Northern Tasmania

Of all the places I wanted to visit in Tasmania, Cradle Mountain National Park was the place I most wanted to visit. The most inland of the destinations in this post, Cradle Mountain may be one of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole of Tasmania. Having seen photos of the park, I was keen to visit the renowned Dove Lake and hike around for views of the boasted and peaks of Cradle Mountain itself.

What I hadn’t expected was the sheer number of different and diverse terrains and landscapes that could be found throughout the park. There are a number of different trails that you can take, including up Cradle Mountain or down to various waterfalls. We didn’t manage to spot much wildlife but we did spy a few wombats from the car which I thought was fantastic. For more on Cradle Mountain, take a look at this post.

 

Hawley Beach

Hawley Beach, Northern Tasmania

To be honest, when I think of Australia’s best beaches I don’t tend to think of Tasmania. Truthfully, I haven’t been to many so that could simply be my ignorance coming into it. While I was in north west Tasmania, we weren’t really blessed with what I’d call beach weather, the sky’s mostly covered with low cloud, rain and thunderstorms. The one day we did stop at a beach, albeit briefly, the weather had turned around and it was really lovely.

We had stopped in at Hawley Beach, a rather sheltered beach east of Devonport. Considering the break in weather, I was staggered to see so few people down at the beach. With similar conditions elsewhere in Australia you’d find the beach crawling with people. A nice moderately sized sand beach, Hawley Beach is distinctive thanks to the rocks scarred with rusty streaks that lie along one part of the beach. The rocks owe their colour to a lichen that grows on the boulders. Definitely a chilled out place to soak up the sun if you’re in this part of Tassie.

 

Narawntapu National Park

Pademelon Northern Tasmania

If you’re interested in exploring and spotting some of Tasmania’s native wildlife, then heading to Narawntapu National Park is a clever choice. The vast national park spans over 40 km² and sits opposite Hawley Beach across Port Sorell. Due to its pristine nature and inherent spirit of conservation, Tasmania is a treasure trove of Australian wildlife, home to most species of native animals, but sadly not koalas. Dubbed “Tasmania’s Serengeti”, Narawntapu is one of your best bets to find many indigenous animals as you drive and walk through its extensive reaches.

We certainly spotted plenty of animals during out visit there. As we were driving in to the park, we had already spotted a number of large kangaroos standing about in one of the fields by the road. After parking at the small visitor centre and camp ground, we watched as a wallaby hopped past people’s tents and the toilet block. Good start right?

Pademelon Northern Tasmania

The creature we were most keen to see though was the local Pademelon. A pademelon is a small marsupial and looks like a pint-sized kangaroo with a stunted tail. Simplistically, kangaroos, wallabies and pademelons have similar body shapes but vary in size; large, medium and small, if you will. I hadn’t even heard of a pademelon until the day before, but it turns out that they are quite common in Tasmania, as well as parts of New South Wales and Queensland.

As we walked down one of the dusty trails towards the wetlands, it wasn’t long before we spotted our first pademelon as it crossed the track behind us. The pademelons like to shelter under the lower undergrowth so they can often be tough to spot and even trickier to get a clean shot of.

The marsupials weren’t the only wildlife about as we spotted a snake below the boardwalk and people walking the other way warned that they had seen a few further along as well. Once we had reached the blind on the waterfront, there was also plenty of bird life about, but we didn’t linger long as we had run out of time. Still, well worth the visit to catch sight of the many marsupials.

Narawntapu National Park, Northern Tasmania

 


Have you ever visited North West Tasmania and seen any of these sights? If not, to which of these sights would you most like to travel? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Why Not Pin It for Later

The north west region of Tasmania, Australia's island state, is home to plenty of wonderful attractions and destinations, like Cradle Mountain, Dip Falls and Stanley's Nut. via @travelsewhere The north west region of Tasmania, Australia's island state, is home to plenty of wonderful attractions and destinations, like Cradle Mountain, Dip Falls and Stanley's Nut. via @travelsewhere


This post is part of Weekend Travel Inspiration at Albom Adventures. Please head on over for more great posts.

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20 Comment

  1. Garth says: Reply

    How interesting! not read about Tasmania before. That deserted beach looks lovely and how cool to see a pademelon. I like your second photo of the Dip falls too, I’ve tried some longer exposures on waterfalls.

    1. David says: Reply

      Tasmania is super underrated and a real gem of Australia. Super happy with the long exposure since I did it without tripod, so i guess it’s a “medium” exposure haha

  2. When I go to visit Tas, I want to do it in the summer as well. I’ve been to Australia multiple times but it is a bit more work and, as I understand, a lot more expensive to go to Tasmania. I hear it looks a lot like New Zealand.

    1. David says: Reply

      Yeh, Tasmania in winter can be fairly wet and cold. Summer is far more mild. I would agree that there are some similarities between New Zealand and Tasmania definitely

  3. I like the idea of visiting Tasmania but I’m afraid it’s too far removed to realistically add it in to an Australia vacation. Still, it does look beautiful and geology of the water fall is intersting. #wkendtravelinspiration

    1. David says: Reply

      I can certainly understand that idea Jim but I have to respectfully disagree. Given how many people fly between Melbourne, Sydney, Queensland and even New Zealand when they visit Australia, the fact that Melbourne to Launceston is only an hour flight doesn’t seem too far.

  4. You don’t need to convince me that Tasmania is one great big wilderness of untouched beauty! Your photos of the waterfalls are spectacular.

  5. Sounds awesome! Great you got the chance to explore a bit more. Makes me want to take a trip there for sure!

  6. Wau awesome, thanks for sharing your experiences and beautiful photos 🙂 Tasmania is on my bucket list for a long time now, especially because its green nature. Will definitely pin for future reference.

  7. Awesome! Your stunning photos took me to a place I have never been to before, Tasmania. Love the diverse landscape. I must visit all these wonderful places. I pinned this for later use 🙂 #feetdotravel

  8. mymeenalife says: Reply

    These spots definitely seem like treasures! I especially like the falls, big tree, and Hawley Beach. I’d love to see them if I ever make it to this part of the world. Great post!

  9. Dip falls look beautiful, and all of your pictures are gorgeous. I would love to visit Tasmania one day based on your posts about it 🙂

  10. A stunning place and should be on everyones list!

  11. PackYourBaguios says: Reply

    Thanks for sharing your journey. I would love to give that old “Big Tree” a hug to see the ancient growth forest which is comparable to the old growth redwood forests in California. I irritated my wife when I was visiting Washington and stopped at the tallest, widest oldest trees. You mention the marsupials. Were there any sightings of the Tasmanian devil? From what I read that the island is the only place they live.

  12. Beautiful snaps of the Dip Falls at the Dip River Forest Reserve, The Old man rock resembles old man. The Big Tree also looks nice.

  13. I have to disagree with you about Tasmania not being popular. I am amazed at how many overseas travellers I talk to have Tasmania on their bucket list. Like you, Tassie was not at the top of my todo list for many years. I had been there a couple of times and found it cold and uninspiring but how things have changed. A recent trip to Hobart and Launceston has me wanting more. This time around I thought it was a great destination. I’m saving your post to Pinterest so that when I do go back I don’t forget to visit Sheffield – I am a great fan of street murals.

    1. David says: Reply

      It’s great to hear that you’ve come across plenty of people keen to visit Tasmania. After visiting, I’m definitely looking to return and Sheffield really is quite cool. Thanks for commenting Lyn!

  14. onlybyland says: Reply

    I’ve read a couple of blogs on Tasmania but never read about Dip Falls, or even heard of them. These falls are incredible and photograph wonderfully, they will be top of my list on a visit to Tasmania. Hawley Beach is another place I’ve never read about but looks very Instagrammable!

  15. siddharthandshruti says: Reply

    Can’t believe we had never read anything on Tasmania! Thank you for the introduction. Tasmania seems perfect for nature lovers. The Dip falls look beautiful. Love your photographs.

  16. Those waterfalls! I am a huge nature lover and can imagine meditating and doing yoga there. I must plan a visit 🙂

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