Follow historical routes, learn the tales of Tasmania’s early pioneers and become immersed in unique wilderness experiences.
What to expect
- A captivating journey with spectacular scenery
- Unique wilderness retreats coupled with first class Tasmanian produce
- Experience the Western Wilds by car, boat and train
- Duration: six days
- Distance: 1172 kilometres (728 miles)
- Transport: Car
- Nearest major city: Hobart
- Price: $$$
Tasmania’s spectacular western region is much more than the rugged and remote coastline it is renowned for. This six-day Western Wilds journey is full of discovery.
Day 1: Hobart to Lake Pedder
Leaving Hobart behind as you embark on your Western Wilds journey, follow the Derwent River as you pass through historical hop growing country and on to Mount Field National Park (about a 1.5-hour drive). Take the short walk to Russell Falls or drive further on to Lake Dobson as you travel through the glacier-sculpted landscape. If extreme sports are more appealing, continue on to Maydena (about a 40-minute drive), home to Maydena Bike Park. This extensive world-class mountain bike park has trails to suit most abilities and a full rental fleet of bikes and safety gear.
The Western Wilds are calling so keep heading west, leaving the dense forest behind as you drive one-hour into the weather sculpted Southwest National Park and arrive at Lake Pedder. Spend the night at Pedder Wilderness Lodge and enjoy the views in this wild location while warming yourself in front of the fire.
Day 2: Lake Pedder to Lake St. Clair
Leaving Lake Pedder, retrace your steps back to Westerway where you will turn towards Ellendale and drive through to the Lyell Highway before continuing your journey west. Stop for a break in the old Hydro Electric Commission town of Tarraleah (just over a two-hour drive) and read about the early pioneers who worked in harsh conditions building dams and laying the complex pipework that now feeds Tasmania’s electricity grid. Leaving Tarraleah and heading west for 45 minutes, enjoy the high country scenery, stopping at The Wall in the Wilderness sculpture to learn about the people who shaped the Tasmanian Central Highlands. A short drive down the road will bring you to the unique wilderness accommodation Pumphouse Point on the shore of Lake St. Clair. Go for a stroll on the Frankland Beaches or put your feet up with a glass of fine Tasmanian wine and enjoy the picturesque lakefront views and surrounding mountain peaks.
Day 3: Lake St Clair to Wild West Coast
If you are feeling energetic, make the most of an early start and enjoy one of the short walks Lake St. Clair has to offer before hitting the road and continuing your journey west. Driving towards the West Coast from Lake St. Clair will provide you with stunning wilderness views as you travel just under two hours through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area.
Make a quick stop at the Iron Blow Lookout in the ghost town of Gormanston before descending to Queenstown, once claimed to be the world’s richest mining town. Spend some time discovering the history of this rugged old town and its unexpected attractions such as the Paragon Theatre.
Continuing from Queenstown, drive about 40 minutes west to arrive in Strahan, your final destination for the day. You will have plenty of time to explore this bustling little harbour side town nestled on the shores of Macquarie Harbour. Feeling adventurous? Book in an afternoon from Queenstown with RoamWild for some off the beaten track tours, giving you a great insight in to the local history and wild scenery. Strahan ATV Adventures can also cater for the adrenaline-seekers in your party and will guarantee a good time. For great atmosphere, spend the night at Strahan Village and enjoy the fresh local seafood buffet at View 42° Restaurant and Bar.
Day 4: Strahan
Strahan has a rich historical past and has long been the gateway to explore Tasmania’s West Coast. With plenty to fill your day you won’t be stuck for things to do, and there are options to suit any budget. One must-do experience is a trip on the award winning Gordon River Cruise. Relax on their new Spirit of the Wild purpose built catamaran as you travel across Macquarie Harbour and out to the infamous Hells Gates before cruising past Sarah Island and up the Gordon River. Enjoy this experience in first class comfort with expert local guides while you venture deep into Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage area.
Strahan is also home to Australia’s longest running play, ‘The Ship That Never Was’. Telling a true story of the last escape from Sarah Island, this dramatic and comical tale is an iconic experience and great for young and old. Evening session times are 5.30 daily, September through to May at the Richard Davey Amphitheatre on the waterfront. Finish your day with a drink at the local favourite, Hamer’s Hotel.
Day 5: Strahan to Corinna
Spend a relaxing morning visiting some of the local artisans with a coffee stop at the Cove Gallery and Café. If that doesn’t take your fancy, the historic West Coast Wilderness Railway is a great way to take in spectacular scenery only accessible by steam train whilst listening to stories from its construction during the mining boom. Half and full-day trips are available leaving Strahan with experiences suitable for all ages.
An afternoon drive to Corinna (just under two hours) will take you northwest and further into the West Coast wilderness and Tarkine Reserve, home to Australia’s largest area of temperate rainforest. This remote outpost stationed on the banks of the Pieman River was once a base for prospectors during the gold rush, holding the Tasmanian record for the largest gold nugget to be discovered, weighing in at a whopping 7.5 kilograms (16.5 pounds). There are several accommodation options at Corinna, all run by the same operator so booking is simple but recommended prior to travel.
Day 6: Corinna to North West Coast
Before you hit the road, take the time to enjoy the surrounds at Corinna. There are several short walks through the rainforest, with attractions such as the wreck of SS Croyden, now sitting at the mouth of Savage River. The Pieman River Cruise is another memorable river journey and the historic Arcadia II, a beautifully restored 17-metre (55-foot) boat constructed from Tasmanian Huon pine is an attraction all in itself.
There are plenty of driving options from Corinna once you have taken the Fatman barge across the Pieman. For some more remote and wild scenery, consider driving further north towards Marrawah (about a two-hour drive) where exposed and raw coastlines meet lush green farming pasture, contrasting the two main industries on this part of the coast. Pre-booking accommodation in Marrawah is also recommended, with a stop at the local pub for a chance to hear some wild tales from local fishermen who pioneered the Tasmanian rock lobster and abalone industries.
Spend your last day enjoying the 5.5-hour drive back to Hobart, or choose to fly out of Launceston, which is only 3.5 hours from Marrawah.
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