Our first overnight stay on our 2022 visit to Tasmania was Stanley. After arriving on the overnight ferry into Devonport at 06:00 and a rather choppy crossing, we were disembarked by about 07:30 and on the road west along the north coast. Although we had a quick DIY breakfast on the boat, our first stop was Penguin for a very welcome cup of tea and some pancakes (pikelets). Rather than making a dash for Stanley, mainly because check in at our accommodation was not until 14:00, we planned a few stops on the way.
Fern Glade Reserve
One of the brochures we picked up on the ferry has a few attractions around Burnie, where we were planning to stock up with fruit and veggies (which, of course we were not allowed to bring into the state). One of these was the Fern Glade Reserve which is renowned for its Platypus population. On arriving, we met a local lady photographer, who advised us on the best places to spot Platypus (and on a waterfall we should visit, see later).
Unfortunately, the Platypus did not make an appearance, but we did enjoy a brief walk along the river.
Before arriving in Tasmania, the forecasted weather was rain and cold – it was certainly not warm, but we managed to stay dry here and for the rest of the day.
A 20 minute drive further south from Burnie is Guides Falls, also featured in the brochure. We parked at the lower car park and walked the short 300m to the base of a very unusual waterfall. Unusual because it falls into what I can only describe as a cul-de-sac and because if this it was very dramatic. The fact that Tasmania had recently had a fair bit of rain meant that there was a lot of water pouring over making a great photographic opportunity.
From the base of the waterfall, steps led up to the top viewing platform where we took a few shots from the top before heading back down to the car and morning tea.
From there we stopped in at Coles in Burnie to stock up for our self-catering at Stanley and Cradle Mountain. Our next stop was the recommended waterfall – Dip Falls.
From the top these falls did not look anything like dramatic. But as we took to the downward stairs, we descended further and further, catching glimpses of the waterfall next to us – the noise of the water should have been a clue to the drama that was to unfold at the bottom!
On the way down (and being on the edge of the rain forest), K stopped to photograph some fungus (which seemed to become a feature of our next few walks). Eventually arriving at the bottom, a viewing platform extending out over the Dip River at the base of the falls. The view was staggering, with water cascading down a vertical face of stone ridges structured from hexagonal geological formations.
Our reward for a very strenuous climb back up the stairs was lunch under a covered picnic area. We had also been told of ‘The Big Tree’, a further kilometre up the road. The walk to the tree took us along a winding track through the rainforest – very damp and cold! The tree we arrived at was BIG – a giant amongst other big trees.
From there we headed for the first of two nights in our accommodation on the road into Stanley – a self-contained cabin next to a small lake. The heating had been switched on for us, so it was quite warm and comfortable.
After a comfortable night (compared to that on the ferry) and a breakfast of bacon and eggs, we drove into Stanley with the intention of climbing up the Nut. The Nut is a large headland at Stanley that can be seen for miles around and is the main tourist attraction in the area. Our choice was to walk up a very steep zig zag pathway to the top or take the chair lift. Of course, we decided to walk, not least because of a very strong wind. It was described as being strenuous, and it certainly lived up to that!
The top of the Nut was surprising in that it was not as flat as it looked from ground level, but also because, in parts, it was covered in trees. The wind that seemed strong below was twice as strong on top, to the extent that I nearly lost my beanie on a couple of occasions!
On completing the 2km circuit we ended up back at the top of the chair lift and made the decision to take it back down. We were both concerned about the impact on our knees and potentially limiting our planned activities over the next few days. As it happened, the descent was quite enjoyable, without too much swinging around in the wind, and views across Stanley.
After a walk through town, we headed back to the accommodation for lunch.
The information folder in the cabin told us about this unusual natural phenomenon, so we headed off to see what it was all about.
It was about a 25 km drive to get it location just off the north part of the Tarkine Drive. The walk was quite magical – through tree ferns that grow to unbelievable heights in the undergrowth and tall Beech Myrtle trees, most of all the stillness was so relaxing. The 15 minute walk took us to a very surprising sight – the Trowutta Arch.
This is formed by the roof a cave collapsing and the creation of one dry and one wet sinkhole on either side. I can only imagine that the green surface to the water results from algae and other processes going on in the water. This really is a sight not to be missed – words and photos do not do it justice.
As it was so damp in the forest, there were numerous different fungi to enjoy and marvel at on the walk back.
Our next two nights will be spent at Cradle Mountain National Park. We have already planned a few walks, including round Dove Lake – watch out for the next post.
Sunday 8 May