We decided that it had probably been long enough since our trek down to Wineglass Bay that the excuse of not being able to do any long walks due to having sore legs had probably run its course. So we laced up our boots and headed off to conquer the mighty summit of Archer’s Knob.
Our luck with the weather continued and we set out into a sunny still day. We began our walk along the sandy track towards the paperbark swamp and the bird hide. The swamp was amazing but the hide was disappointing, I’m certain there are heaps of interesting birds there normally however all we saw was a couple of ducks. Oh well. The climb up the 114m knob was not particularly strenuous and the views were absolutely incredible. We were even greeted by a friendly roo at the top.
On the way back to our campsite we decided to go across Springlawn rather than completely back tracking. This was not a clever plan, the track was poorly marked, we lost it within minutes and ended up sloshing our way over the soggy grass and getting swooped by plovers. There were kangaroo bones scattered everywhere which gave the entire thing a very eerie feel. After some bush bashing we managed to refind the track and following that successfully back to the van.
Matt was keen to reach Marrawah for the night so we hit the road and hightailed it to Turners Beach where we briefly stopped to have a coffee and some cake. I found it weird being so close to Burnie and just burning through without seeing Matt’s parents but they were both busy and we needed to speed through.
I had been really keen to stay in Stanley for the night tonight so as a compromise we stopped in for lunch. It is one of my favourite towns in Tasmania and I just love the historical houses, The Nut and the beaches. We had lunch at Hursey Seafoods as there was literally nothing else open. I had fresh crumbed scallops and Matt had salmon. Yum.
We briefly stopped in ‘mifton (Smithton) to fill up our water tank, empty the grey water and the loo and then continued West until we reached the coastal town of Marrawah. On a national and international stage Marrawah is known for its outstanding surf but locally it is more renowned for a murder that occured in the pub in 2013 that hasn’t been solved and it is generally believed that whomever did it is still a part of the community. We were hoping to visit the pub but it was closed so we went for a walk on the beach and parked up in the car park/campground.
The Marrawah free camping area is effectively a flat bit of carpark near the beach. I think you were able to park on the grass previously but that was shut when we were there. It’s a nice spot, the toilets down the hill are great and there is a cold shower if you are feeling brave 7/10.
Last night was by far the coldest that we have had this trip with the mercury dipping down to 1 degree. Fortunately I have the ability to produce insane amounts of body heat and could still warm up the bed but I woke up with my head under the covers so it must have been chilly. Matt got up and made us coffee and the sunrise lured me outside into the cold. With a blanket on my legs and a coffee warming my hands we watched the sky change colour and the orange light cover the earth.
On our way out of Mussleroe Wind Farm we spotted the Tebrakunna Visitor Centre with a turbine blade next to it. I absolutely love wind farms, not only because they’re an amazing source of energy but the installation and engineering of the turbines fascinates me. We looked around, took some photos of the van being dwarfed by the blade and then got back on the road.
Because of the unplanned nature of this trip we keep finding ourselves in increasingly out of the way towns and today was no exception. We ended up having morning tea in a place called Tomahawk which the town sign proudly declared was “Tassie’s best kept secret”. It wasn’t an uninteresting place with it’s own island, river, and beach but the stillness that comes with having a population of 48 was a little bit off putting, as were the abandoned sheds and houses on the way in.
Yesterday we had been tossing up whether we would camp at Petal Point or a site further west called the Waterhouse Conservation Area since we were in the area we decided to also swing in there and have a look around. It turned out to be a really interesting environment with plants that neither of us had seen before in Tasmania. It was wetlandy and swampy but also near the beach. I looked up some more information on it and found that it is home to a huge variety of flora and fauna including the smallest flowering plant in the world. We visited a Ramsar Convention listed lake where we watched a sea eagle searching for food. The campground was quite small but directly on the beach and would certainly be a good place to stop on a future trip.
We reached Narawntapu National Park just as the visitor center was closing. Unlike Freycinet we couldn’t book ahead and just hoped that there would be a spare spot with the low season in full swing. Sure enough there was only one other couple there so we were able to pick a beautiful grassy site and set up our home for the night complete with power so we could run the heater and be certain we wouldn’t freeze in the night.
Once we were organised we went for a walk on the beach and enjoyed the sunset and roos bouncing around everywhere. There was some very nice jasper and a couple of pieces of petrified wood on the sand but I upheld the rules of national parks and left them where they were…so hard to do that.
Narawntapu National Park – Another $16pn powered site but so much more private then Freycinet. Nice flat grassy/gravel spots, basic toilet block, and more wildlife than you could shake a stick at 8/10.