Tall Tales but True from the DreamtimeSail Crew

We were in the Mediterranean in August, 2012 sailing our Jeannaeu 43DS, Alcheringa, upwind along the southern coast of Mallorca in 18 to 20 knots.  The sun was shining and the day quite warm so it was fairly pleasant with the boat powered up, healing nicely and slicing through fairly moderate seas. We were all sitting back enjoying a beautiful sail as the autopilot steered. Rob was on watch while Karen lapped up some sun and crewmate, Marc, was deeply concentrating on finishing that day’s London Times cryptic crossword.

We’d been underway for an hour or so when out of nowhere the boat did a hard turn to starboard, heeling heavily with both sails back sided. Rob quickly jumped to the wheel and steered us through a 360 degree turn to get things back under control with no damage done. Fortunately, the first thing we did when we bought Alcheringa was rig a ‘preventer line’ which stops uncontrolled and very dangerous swinging of the boom across the boat in this sort of situation. It really paid off in this instance, but we were at a loss to explain what had gone wrong. Our best guess was that someone may have accidently bumped the button on the binnacle turning the autopilot off.

With everything settled, including our nerves, we resumed our previous relaxed positions only for the boat to perform the same unwanted manoeuvre again about thirty minutes later. Now we were concerned. Once we had the boat back on track and the autohelm reset, Rob stayed at the helm ready to grab the wheel if needed, while we started working through the possibilities. We then noticed that that heading shown on the autopilot didn’t agree with the compass. Not a good sign. Maybe something was wrong with the GPS antennae or system itself.

 We checked the aerial connections, they looked fine. We checked the plotter, our position seemed right, but the bearing was odd. Think tanking what could be wrong, Rob speculated that something may be interfering with the system as it had always worked perfectly until now. What had changed?

The actual control boxes for the GPS are fitted in the back of Karen’s locker in the aft cabin and are clearly marked with a warning not to place anything magnetic near them. Had anything magnetic been put in her locker? Karen was adamant that no there were no magnets in there.

We decided to push on to our planned anchorage at Playa del Trench near the south-eastern corner of the island and see what developed. If need be, we could return to Palma the next day to find a technician to get to the bottom of things. The autopilot continued to give false readings and twice more suddenly steered us well off course. We continued racking our brains as to what the problem could be and what had changed to cause the problem leading Rob to ask Karen, Are you sure there’s nothing different in your locker?’.

To which she replied most indignantly, I have told you beforeThere are no magnets in there. It’s just my clothes. …………….All I’ve stowed in that locker that wasn’t there before are the electric fan and mini vacuum cleaner we bought in Palma last stop.

After a moments’ stunned silence, Rob quietly asked, Karen how does an electric motor work? …. Her answer will astound you. 

  “With Magnets” 🙄

A Pilgrimage to the most Southern road in Australia


Cockle Creek sits on beautiful Recherche Bay at the edge of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and is the furthest point south that one can drive in Australia. It’s a place of tranquil coves and sandy beaches. Distant mountain peaks, make a spectacular backdrop to the calm waters. This is one of those anchorages yachties dream about and we were thinking that Our Dreamtime would look perfect anchored out there in the bay. 

Tip: You will need a Tasmanian park entry pass to enter the National Park. It is easy to organise before you arrive in Tasmania here

It is here that tannin-rich streams meet the ocean, ending their meandering journey through buttongrass plains. The sheltered coastline and forested hills are home to an abundance of wildlife including shorebirds. That unlike other birds of the same species don’t want to steel your chips but are happy with the fresh catch from the sea.

A rich cultural history exists, being the homeland of the Lyluequonny Aboriginal people. For centuries this was their harvest ground for the once abundant cockles, oysters and mussels found at its mouth as it enters the sea. Middens in the region speak of the aboriginal presence here, well before  Europeans arrived.

The encounters between the indigenous people and Europeans is well documented, thanks to a French expedition, that sailed into Recherche Bay in 1792 on a mission to find the lost explorer La Perouse. However Bruni D`Entrecasteaux’s voyage had another purpose beyond the rescue of La Perouse. The voyage was also invested with the task of recording and documenting the environment and the people of the new lands that they encountered.

The expedition carried scientists and cartographers, gardeners, artists and hydrographers – who, variously, planted, identified, mapped, and marked the countries that they visited. They first visited the southern region of Tasmania in April 1792, and, desperate for water, they harboured in a bay that they later named Recherche Bay, after one of their sailing ships.

The ship Recherche that the bay was named after

The meeting of the local indigenous people and the crew were very harmonious. The readings from this voyage are very interesting and it was portrayed as a joyful experience meeting, conversing and learning from the local inhabitants. The remains of a garden planted by the French were found here in 2003, resulting in the creation of a reserve to protect the area. 

But the area was not settled but the French. The British initially settled in the area as a base for whaling, timber and coal industries in the early 1830’s, the settlement was given the name Ramsgate, when land was officially surveyed and subdivided. The many whaling stations were manned mostly by free settlers and ticket-of-leave convicts. Whilst many of the early habitations were crude and short-lived, some dwellings or buildings made use of convict-made bricks from Southport; some remnants can still be seen, such as the whaling hotel at Fishers Point.


Once a settlement with over 2,000 residents, its rich history is found today in Aboriginal sites, abandoned tramways, gravestones and ruins. Sheltered among the tranquil cove of Recherche Bay, Cockle Creek has campsites and basic facilities but no shops or services. There are two separate camping areas and each provide a number of campsite options. These days it’s a departure point for treks into the South West National Park, or for those wanting to kick back and relax. A simple stroll along the beach at Recherche Bay is enough to take in the peace, quiet and beauty of this remote place.


There is even more of Tasmania, south from Recherche Bay, including Australia’s southern most point. So often we hear of the legends of Cape York Peninsula, those who have made the trek north to one of Australia’s ‘last frontiers’. But how often do you hear of those who have been to the most southern point in Australia. Google it and see what you find. For two pages you will find that the reference talks of the southern points on the mainland. Little is said about one of the most southern points in the world before Antartica.  

Photo from the internet credit to Hobart and beyond.

And many Australian’s couldn’t name it, it is simply known as South East Cape. It is said ”Drive to the end of the road at Cockle Creek, then a well maintained walking track takes you to Tasmania’s South Coast. Stand on the cliffs of South East Cape bay, a bracing wind blowing from Antarctica, surf rolling in from the Southern Ocean. You are the southern most people in all Australia”.

As sailors it is one of the inherently crazy things that is talked about whenever the subject arises of circumnavigation. South East Cape being one of the 5 great capes of the southern ocean, and yet so few know of its existence.

We were fortunate to score the most southern campsite, we were quick to make came and then settle in to watch the sunset on another magnificent day of travel.

The following day we woke to the sound of the waves lapping the shoreline. Time to discover more of Cockle Creek. After a long walk along the beach to take in the beauty of this remote place. We then continued to Fishers Point Navigation Light and Pilot Station Ruins visiting the Whale monument along the way. Where we stood at the whale sculpture at Cockle Creek, 30kms south near South East Cape, we were in fact closer to Antarctica than to Cairns, and were feeling it too, despite it being summer. Cockle Creek is the most southerly point able to be reached by road in Australia. From nearby South East Cape, if you were to somehow sail due west, the next landfall you’d make would be South America, and to the east it would be the narrow sliver of New Zealand with nothing beyond that until South America came around again.


We decided that we weren’t going to do the walk to the South East Cape, we have been on the go it seems since we arrived in Tassie and this place was so quiet we wanted to just sit and take it all in. Maybe we will regret not doing the walk but some times it’s not about ticking a box but truly enjoying the moment.

For those wanting the information about the walk to South East Cape, this is the info friends of ours who live in the area told us. Behind the Rangers’ hut, there is a walkers carpark and walk registration both.


The first 3km the trail undulates across rocky ground and light forest, then becomes duck board as it crosses the buttongrass moorland. Wonderful wildflowers in late spring.  A little more undulation and coastal scrub, until you suddenly emerge onto the windy cliff top overlooking South East Cape Bay. Brace yourself for the wind here blows up from Antarctica, surf rolling in from the Southern Ocean: As an optional extension, continuing down the staircase provided on the western side of the cliffs. South Cape Beach is about 1km long to the western end where there are toilets. For those interested in a challenging hike there are organised trekking in Tasmania and one of their popular treks is the 3 Cape Track. located on the south-east coast, the route opened in December 2015 and remains one of Australia’s most coveted and essential hikes. Just 48 people are allowed on the track each morning. The four-day, three-night journey begins at the historical penal colony of Port Arthur.

Following are a collection of photographs of this magical place.

Rob making YouTube
Take nothing but memories and leave only footprints
Our Campsite Cockle Creek
View from our campsite
The most southern campsite
Waiting for sunset we phone sailing friends on SV Whoosh to tell them about this amazing anchorage.
Curious wildlife

Camping information

Cockle Creek is a very popular destination for families, offering a variety of recreational activities such as bushwalking, swimming, snorkelling, kayaking, fishing and bird-watching.

The shady campground within the Southwest National Park is known as Boltons Green. Approximately 10 sites are available here for tent and caravan camping. Although caravans can access this campground, please be aware that the road is rough and flat campsites are limited.  

An additional 3-4  small tent sites can be found further along the road before you reach the ‘NO TENTS beyond this point’ sign.  Beyond this point there are limited sites available which are only for self-contained RV campers. Sites are not numbered so please try not to spread out too much, allowing for other groups to utilise the campground.

Basic facilities include pit toilets and a water tank at Boltons Green. Water is untreated and must be boiled before drinking. There is a public pay phone available at the visitor information shelter.

The Southwest National Park is a fuel stove only area​, no fires are permitted. 

Dogs are not permitted once you cross the bridge at Cockle Creek and enter the Southwest National Park.​

The following map shows the zones outside the Southwest National Park where dogs are permitted, where dogs must be on lead and the off lead dog zones.

  Map of Designated Areas- Southern Section – Cockle Creek – Recherche Bay NRA   (4Mb)

Other campsites

If you prefer to have a campfire or are bringing your dog on a lead, you can choose a campsite north of the bridge within the Recherche Bay Nature Recreation Area. 

There are a number of camping areas on the northern side of the Cockle Creek bridge and further north at Catamaran, Finns  Beach and Gillams Beach. See Recherche Bay camping for these sites. 

If you would like to ride along with us whether it be on the high seas or on a dusty road out west, consider being a patreon find out about it here 👉 Dreamtime Patreon every little bit helps to keep us on the road producing Youtube and writing blogs as we hope you enjoy them. 

Please subscribe to the blog so you will be notified each time we post. To subscribe head to our home page.

We love to read your comments so if you have any questions pop them below, we will be sure to get back to you.

If you are interested in the products we used on our van build, our product page has a list. Many of these items we sourced secondhand, others we purchased from the manufacturer or retailer. We have found them online and listed them for you. Some of the links supplied we have an association with and we will receive a small commission if you purchase through the link, but it is free to look and do your research 😊 we can not promise all links to work as retailers may remove items, but we will do our best to update them 👍

Join us next time when we discover Bruny Island.

East bound taking in Queenstown, Derwent Bridge and Mount Field National Park

Up early we leave Strahan to allow time to checkout a few of the tourist hot spots along the way to Mount Fields National Park. We have had a mix of weather on the west coast and have used more winter gear than we do in a whole winter in Queensland so we were looking forward to the 30 degrees that Tasmania promised us today.

Nestled in a valley between Mount Lyell and Mount Owen, Queenstown is the largest town on the West Coast. Surrounded by dramatic hills that provide stark evidence of a history that once made it one of the richest mining towns in the world.

Today, Queenstown is experiencing a rebirth with a growing tourism and arts culture. But it will never rid its past for its unique landscape was formed by Copper smelting and excavating stripped the hills around the city bare and has stained them with unnatural colours. The hills have had a hard time regenerating so much that the moonscape is still there all these years later for you to enjoy. It’s a beautiful but rather haunting reminder of man’s greed and his responsibility to Mother Earth.

East of Queenstown we have the 99 bend challenge…. The staging ground for one of Targa Tasmania’s toughest sprints, the 99 Bends may not actually have quite as many twists and turns as its moniker suggests, but it is still an incredibly challenging drive that any hillclimber will love.

However Karen reminded Rob “we are not in a Porsche, but a distant European cousin called “Le Frog Box”, watch them sharp bends boy”. You can thank nature for shaping the winding roads that cover the island state – and the stunning, movie-set views you see from them. Believe it or not, the speed limit through the 99 Bends is 100km/h.

We wouldn’t suggest you try hitting it given the big drops off to the side – the elevation change in these 4km of

driving is around 200 metres. Surely someone is taking the p …. out of us, with those speed signs.

Our next stop has become quite a phenomenon in Tasmania. Wherever we went people remarked “have you seen the wall” … well no we haven’t and it hadn’t really come up on our research radar. Mmmm …. what is this wall about. Only the night before had we been told “Oh you must book, they don’t allow walk ups”. So onto the internet and sure enough “Bookings are now essential. To avoid disappointment book online before midnight the day before”. We booked and pay for our tickets $20 each, our only problem was we could only get a 1pm booking, once booked we received our booking confirmation, including very strict details on conditions of entry no photographs, no video and if we missed our time slot by 15 minutes we would forfeit our tickets. Oh dear best be there on time, which unfortunately meant we would be missing a particular walk that was on the way to Derwent Bridge, as we couldn’t risk being late. 

Derwent Bridge is at the southern end of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and surrounded by wilderness country. There are a number of accommodation options for walkers and those wanting to play in the winter snow. On arrival at “The Wall in the Wilderness” down the very long driveway we came across an extremely long building in the middle of nowhere. The building itself is impressive so it set our expectations high.

We think this hawk is the most photographed piece of artwork at the wall.

The Wall itself was created amidst adversity. The artist Duncan and his wife sold all they had, purchased the land and, as he says, “went for it”. It was a huge gamble. Was it too far out in the middle of nowhere? Would people travel? Construction issues also plagued the first years with Duncan building a lot of the shed himself in harsh winter conditions. The gamble has definitely paid off with more than 75,000 people visiting The Wall each year, 

The artist’s statement reads “On the 1st March 2005 in one of the most beautiful parts of Tasmania I set out to undertake sculpting a wall that would be 3 metres high and over 100 metres in length. The material would be Huon Pine. Through an often arduous at times but also immensely satisfying journey and over a decade and half later I welcome you to visit what is simply known as The Wall”. – Sculptor Greg Duncan

This fascinating piece of instillation artwork was created from the determination and ambition of the artist, to pay homage to the history of the Central Highlands of Tasmania and the grit and resoluteness of the people who make up its history.

The wall, features beautifully scented and rare Huon Pine, represents an ongoing project in which the artist has sculpted the story of the area. He depicts the history right from the beginning when the indigenous population lived in the area, to the pioneers who began harvesting timber from the ancient forests. Following the pioneering era, there are images of the pastoralists, miners and hydro-electric scheme workers, shown along with the many animals found in the area and the horses who worked alongside pioneers. Throughout the work you can read the political statement the artist is making about the environment and mankind’s effect on earth.

Though you are not permitted to take photographs the internet is full of them and following are a series of photos available.

Artist at work.

After doubling back to the local servo to fill the tank of very expensive diesel we devoured the best chunky steak and mushroom ”hot” pies from the Hungry Wombat Cafe, in the front cab of froggy with the heater on …. Where is that promised 30 degrees …. It’s currently 17.

As the winding road ascends through Mount Field National Park the stunning natural flora transforms, offering a constantly changing view as you climb to higher altitudes. Known as ‘the park for all seasons’, Mount Field is Tasmania’s first National Park and part the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Site and home to some of the world’s tallest eucalypt forests, as well as a unique array of alpine vegetation.

There’s a wide variety of wildlife in the park, including many of Tasmania’s native mammals and endangered species, such as the eastern quoll and the eastern barred bandicoot. Eleven of Tasmania’s twelve endemic birds can be seen here, too. Spectacular glaciated landscapes compete for attention with cascading waterfalls, including the breathtaking, three-tiered Russell Falls arguably Tasmanian’s say one of the most impressive waterfalls in Tasmania. 

We pull in late to the campground to find it absolutely full. It’s a Sunday what’s going on we haven’t seen this many people forever it seems. Karen goes over to the ranges hut to see if there is availability at another ground, Oh it’s a public holiday weekend, well that tells a story.

Ok back to our trusted APP WikiCamps. Just down the way is “Left of Fields Campground” their marketing spiel reads “So much more than just a campsite but a destination itself, boasting beautiful gardens, a unique 18 hole golf course, regular live music and generous space”. Yep it’s quirky to say the least. The sites are big, you are encouraged to have a campfire, it is a must to have a game of golf and to soak in the fireside bathtub. Oh and don’t forget to feed the chickens and if you find any eggs they are yours.

Fireside bath tub
Fire pits are supplied for you to use at Left of Field Campground
The chooks are very friendly at Left of Field Campground
Free eggs 👍

It Valentines Day, and not that we need to remind ourselves of the special relationship we have but it is rather fitting that we are going to visit what Tasmanian’s call their most romantic waterfall. Now it is going to have to be good to out do Lovers Falls and our very own private waterfall at Trial Harbour

Beginning our Mount Field visit with a leisurely hand in hand walk through the towering tree ferns and giant eucalypts on the short walk to Russell Falls sounds just the thing lovers should do.

Gentle Giants stand as sentries

Russell Falls is the star attraction and even featured on Australia’s first stamp. It deserves allthe attention it is simply breath taking. It is very popular so having the falls to yourself is difficult. However if you wait for all the lovelies to get their instagram pose just right you to can try one with your selfie stick.

Russell Falls cascades over three drops
Abundance of wildlife
These Fairy Wrens are a joy to watch as they flit about

The falls are only a short, wheelchair accessible journey from the visitor centre, through enormous fern forests and some of the world’s tallest trees. The wildlife is abundant with the potaroos enjoying the fresh shoots and seeds by the pathway.

Easy pathway to Russell Falls

But …. If you have had your weetbix this morning start the climb of numerous flights of stairs to take in the breathtaking view over Russell Falls to the valley below.

Ok there are steps to climb, lots of them.

Now that we have your breath back, If you continue the climb you will be rewarded with Horseshoe Falls and then beyond to Lady Baron Falls.

The top of Russell Falls
The view from the top is worth the climb
Horseshoe Falls are just up stream
Horseshoe Falls may not be tall but they are delightful
Baron Falls cascading

With stunning vistas, great walks, abundant wildlife and excellent visitor facilities we understand why with an easy drive from Hobart, Mount Field has been popular with nature lovers for well over a century. If you are here during the winter season, Mt Field National Park becomes a whole new playground offering downhill skiing and snowboarding, with tows operating and good cross-country skiing across the higher plateau. We were happy to see the blanket of green not white.

Join us next time when we camp in the most southern campsite available in Australia oh and it’s free. 

🌟TIP🌟 It pays to have your Tasmanian National Parks Pass. Apply online prior to travel save $$$$

Following are some more photos of our time at Mount Field National Park.


The national parks have included information
boards on fauna and flora along the walkways
We kept a watchful eye for platypus but unfortunately we didn’t spot any



If you would like to ride along with us whether it be on the high seas or on a dusty road out west, consider becoming a patreon you can find out about it here 👉 Dreamtime Patreon every little bit of support helps to keep us on the road/sea producing Youtube and writing blogs as we hope you enjoy them. 

Please subscribe, like and share to the blog so you will be notified each time we post. To subscribe head to our home page.
We love to read your comments if you have any questions pop them below, we will be sure to get back to you. 
If you are interested in the products we used on our build on our product page is a list. Many of these items we sourced secondhand, others we purchased from the manufacturer or retailer. We have found them online or the retailer and listed them for you. Some of the links supplied we have an association with and we will receive a small commission if you purchase through the link, but it is free to look and do your research 😊 we can not promise all links to work as retailers may remove items, but we will do our best to update them 👍

















Montezuma Falls 


Montezuma Falls, near Rosebery in Tasmania, is Tasmania’s highest waterfall and is truly spectacular and well worth the visit. This incredible, sleepy giant is located on Tasmania’s Wild West Coast and is accessible via an easy yet very scenic rainforest track. It is certainly amongst the most stunning waterfalls in Australia with a permanent drop of approximately 104 metres. And for this reason it is perhaps one of the most rewarding short day walks in Tasmania. We found that the Montezuma Falls track was a great addition to our visit to the West Coast. We had initially had this walk listed as a maybe, if we had time sort of thing, wow we are certainly glad we did it.

The track to the falls begins at Williamsford, two kilometres south of Rosebery, and leaves directly from the carpark. The area is rich in railway and mining history with you literally following a late 1800’s route of the former North East Dundas Tramway right to the base of Montezuma Falls.

Historical photo of North East Dundas Tramway

The initial surveying of the tramway was initiated in 1895, and by 1897, the first section of the tram way being used. The official opening of the tram way from Zeehan to Williamsford (Where the carpark area for Montezuma Falls is situtated) took place in 1898. The tram way used a narrow gauge of rail, which is why it was regarded as a tram line, and not a rail line. Today, some of the original sleepers from the tram line can be seen on your walk, with signage encouraging you to locate them. The waterfall was named after the Montezuma Mining Company which derived it’s name from the last emperor of the Aztecs.

The 10klm, three-hour return walk along a level track takes you right to the base of the 104 metre falls through pleasant cool temperate rainforest of leatherwood, myrtle, sassafras, giant tree ferns and eye-catching fungi. It amazes us at how different the rainforest here is compared to the tropical rainforests we are used to. These seem more park-like, as if someone has come through and cleaned up. At every turn there is a new vista to take in. The path is often wet in sections as it meanders through cuttings, often adjacent to creeks and streams running alongside. Good hiking boots with some waterproofing is recommended, not pretty pink Palladium Boots as Karen soon found out. 

Some level of fitness is required, the walk is listed as a grade 2, but even though the track is wide and mostly level underfoot it is somewhat deceiving in the amount of undulation. (120 metres total elevation gain)

Rob taking his chances in the dark wet tunnel

The trail passes many points of interest highlighting the mining history of the area including an open mine shaft just before the Falls. (Flashlight required) The open mine shaft is at the end of a dark short wet tunnel, no glow worms were sighted but it does seem to be a place for them to hangout. An old tramway bridge across the river is slowly being reclaimed by the rainforest and aged sleepers on the trail with railway spikes still embedded.

You may also see native wildlife along the way, including potoroos, several species of birds. Notably White’s thrush, which is a medium-sized and speckled brown and white ground dwelling bird. It forages quietly on the rainforest floor and, when disturbed, flies only a short distance before settling again, enabling you to get a second look. 

However you do need to be aware of one local that likes to lay in sun spots on the track, yep tiger snakes love to bake in the sun. Tiger snakes are a large and highly venomous snake. The bite of a tiger snake, if left untreated for long, is fatal. But seldom do these snakes attack humans.

Can you see the Tiger Snake? this as close as Karen would get.
Rob did get better video footage and photos
Zoomed in on Karen’s photo

Tiger snakes vary in their appearance according to region. The ones who inhabit Tasmania are mostly jet black in color. We happen to come across three of these guys on our trek and one in particular just did not want to give up his spot on the track, that would be most of the width of the track. It took a little coaxing, but finally he/she found a sunny spot on higher ground. We took a wide berth and moved slowly by. 

The creek immediately below the falls was once spanned by a wooden trestle bridge, 160 feet long and 50 feet high. Today derelict pieces of timber, moss-covered concrete piers and rusty bolts are the only remains of this bridge.

Karen hates heights

In it place a suspension bridge crossing the gorge below provides a brilliant viewpoint to witness the sheer magnitude of Montezuma Falls. To the left of the suspension bridge is a narrow broad walk that takes you for a close up view of the base.

The broad walk that leads to the base of the falls

Depending on the season, the waterfall can range from a gentle pour to a powerful waterfall which is almost impossible to get close to. We visited in February and we fortunate to have a steady stream with us able to scramble the rocks to get a closer view.

Both view areas are worthwhile seeing providing spectacular views. Once you have finished gasping at the falls, you need to return along the same way you came, this to us was the only downside to the walk. What had taken us a couple of hours to stop look, photograph and film, now became a route march back to the carpark and onto Strahan. But the pay off at the end was the fact that we had seen these magnificent Falls and walked a 100m long suspension bridge. One of our favourite hikes in Tasmania.

The afternoon sun playing through the rainforest was stunning

Note: Take plenty of drinking water with you as these pristine looking waters are polluted with chemicals from the mining days.

If you are in the area you should not miss these falls. They are well worth travelling to even as a day trip from either Strahan/Queenstown.

If you would like to ride along with us whether it be on the high seas or on a dusty road out west, consider becoming a patreon you can find out about it here 👉 Dreamtime Patreon every little bit of support helps to keep us on the road/sea producing Youtube and writing blogs as we hope you enjoy them.

Please subscribe, like and share to the blog so you will be notified each time we post. To subscribe head to our home page.

We love to read your comments if you have any questions pop them below, we will be sure to get back to you. 

If you are interested in the products we used on our build on our product page is a list. Many of these items we sourced secondhand, others we purchased from the manufacturer or retailer. We have found them online or the retailer and listed them for you. Some of the links supplied we have an association with and we will receive a small commission if you purchase through the link, but it is free to look and do your research 😊 we can not promise all links to work as retailers may remove items, but we will do our best to update them 👍

Following are more photos of Montezuma Falls, we hope you enjoy them.


Join us next time when we travel to Strahan to retrace history.

The best ever Free Campsite in Tasmania

It was sad to be packing up to leave Corinna, we really could have spent another couple of days here enjoying the remoteness. Sometimes you need to unplug from the world. Our schedule wasn’t so hectic that we felt rushed, but it wasn’t giving us much downtime and that’s what we really needed. 

Our campsite at Corinna Wilderness Experience
What a stunning peaceful place

Our next couple of days promised to provide just that. We had marked a couple of free campsites on the map hoping that one of them would provid a place to sit and watch the great southern ocean roll on in. This of course was all dependant on the weather, and as we have had no phone service since  the start of the Western Explorer “Highway” we really had no idea what the forecast was going forward. For sailors this is an uncomfortable feeling.

Fatman Barge over the Pieman river

We were packed and ready for the first Fatman Barge crossing of the morning across the Pieman River. We then set just a steady pace so that we could enjoy the journey without rushing. The wilderness on this side of the river is just as spectacular. With very few visitors on these roads, we expected the surface to be a little rough, but it is well maintained. The weather looked awesome for camping on the west coast, a light breeze of around 8 knots and blue skies. 

The first on our list of our free campsites was Granville Harbour, 30 kilometres from Corinna. We passed through the Granville Harbour Wind Farm project, consisting of 31 turbines. Between the Granville Harbour and Cattle Hill wind farms they are expected to boost Tasmania’s renewable energy production from 95.6 per cent to 100 per cent by the end of this year (2022). The Granville Harbour turbines are almost 200 metres tall, have blades with a rotation the size of two soccer pitches and sit on foundations each made of around 100 trucks of concrete. The energy is being sold to Hydro Tasmania and transported via an 11 kilometre transmission line to Reece Power Station. When we sailed the Wales coastline we actual sailed through a section of a wind-farm, totally an amazing feeling to be sailing under these giants.

We hope these are the way forward for power generation.

The road in actually had roadworks in action, they were putting in new culverts and grading the gravel road. It amazed us that out here in the middle of nowhere this work was being carried out but of course we realised a little further on that this is the road in and out to service the wind farm. All of this road works were happening without a lollipop person to be found (traffic controller). 

The road is an easy drive in and would be suitable for all towing rigs. Arriving at Granville Harbour we found a sleepy fishing village with a beautiful beach. Originally a soldier settlement after World War 1, Granville Harbour is now a small community. It is a popular fishing destination for locals and a holiday destination for miners from both Queenstown and Zeehan. Archaeological research has been conducted on aboriginal middens on the coast between the Trial and Granville area. After a drive around town and stopping to take photos. We eventually found the entrance to the camping area situated to the right hand side of the beach looking to sea. We were stunned to find so many signs indicating that they have had many problems with people leaving their trash behind. On the drive in we had passed a refuse station that was a drive through, we thought it was pretty cool that you could drive through and dump your rubbish. So what is wrong with these people, you are given a free campsite so take your $*#+ing rubbish with you! Rant over!!

Come on guys clean up after yourselves
A stunning place to set up camp.

The beaches between Granville and Trial Harbours

The entrance to the camping area is good with toilet facilities available, however past that it is really a sandy 4WD track. When you get told about these campsites not always do you get told the whole story. Not that we were disappointed in the drive down to Granville, totally the opposite. If we had of been told the conditions of the campsite roads we may not have driven down, and we would of missed checking out this beautiful spot. But there was NO chance of us risking “Le Frog Box” down a sandy track even if the campsites looked so cool. So if anyone ventures further than us, let us know in comments below what you thought. 

Well on to Trial Harbour, 55 kilometres away, these are not big distances to travel, but they are narrow, winding roads and caution is required. As we came to the intersection from Granville Harbour to the main road we came across a group of bicycle riders that had been at Corinna. These guys had come across on the Fatman Ferry with us and were now already at the turn off. The average age of this group would of been 70, total respect ✊ yes they were on electric bikes but you still have to pedal at some point no charging units to be found out here. But the one thing we were pleased about, we would not have them on the road ahead of us.

We didn’t see any 4WD but we are sure they were out there

The roads in this part link up with many 4WD tracks, you can see the entry and exit points all the way along. Many aren’t signed so we expect there is a 4WD book detailing the trails. We certainly hope so as it is a very inhospitable country side. We are yet to see a 4WD bounding out of a side track. We were told by people we met in the Tarkine that the Climies Track links Trial Harbour and Granville Harbour and they were hoping to tow their camper along the track with a distance of 25 km. Note: Climes track (one way) starts at Granville Harbour and traverses the cliff tops of the coast before finishing at Trial Harbour.

The sharp downward hairpin

Originally to service port for the mining town of Zeehan, Trial Harbour, once was a thriving town with shops, hotels and businesses. It is now home to just a few houses that are mainly holiday shacks with it looks only a few permanent residents.

Just 30 minutes from Zeehan, you can understand why locals love coming here. Trial Harbour is a picturesque surprise after journeying the gravel road through rain forest and button grass plains. The road in, is windy, steep in places and then the last hairpin corner is a beauty. We took a 3 point turned to get around and we’re very pleased of no oncoming traffic at the time. This isn’t a road for big rigs, or towing caravans. We were silently pleased we had a LWB and not and ELWB.

Stunning visas of Trial Harbour. you can see our campsite, the twisty road along the cliffs

Trial Harbour is stunning. There are magnificent surf beaches, (link for live surf conditions https://www.surf-forecast.com/breaks/Trial-Harbour  ) fantastic views and by all reports great fishing. However active pursuits were going to wait. We wanted time-out and we needed to find a campsite. Well …… a campsite we found. Bare with us when we use every superlative we can in this next paragraph. 

Imagine if you can …. Pulling up on the edge of a stunning, high cliff with just enough room to park “Le Frog Box” and roll out the awning.

Pulling into our campsite at Trial Harbour
Set up as close to the edge as we dare

A crystal clear freshwater waterfall to our right (10 meters away) feeds a rock pool teaming with tiny friendly colourfully striped fish. The waterfall is surrounded by button-grass and native flowers making it a private and tranquil space. It trickles over the rock pool edge to meet the the southern ocean across the rock shelf below.

That’s right, from high above on our cliff face campsite, the stunningly deep blue and unusually placid on this occasion, southern ocean washes onto the rocks below us with an ever so beautiful sound of waves meeting land. In a word, the views in every direction were breathtaking. The air is said to be the cleanest in the world and our spot for the afternoon and evening simply mind blowing. It was very easy to sit there in awe.

The view from the galley, Karen prepares Sundowers
Happy to sit back and read our books for the afternoon

Have we over done the superlatives. Not a chance we simply can not tell you how magnificent this campsite was and all FOR FREE!

Oh and then the sunset, we popped the cork on a bottle of Moët that we were saving for just an occasion like this (thank you middle child). The Southern Ocean lit up in an amazing array of colours and we silently watched the sun set on another perfect day of Vanlife. 

Breakfast the following morning … Explain to me why we are leaving?


We hope you have enjoyed this blog.

If you would like to ride along with us whether it be on the high seas or on a dusty road out west, consider being a patreon find out about it here 👉 Dreamtime Patreon every little bit helps to keep us on the road producing Youtube and writing blogs as we hope you enjoy them. Please subscribe to the blog so you will be notified each time we post. To subscribe head to our home page.

We love to read your comments if you have any questions pop them below, we will be sure to get back to you. 

If you are interested in the products we used on our build on our product page is a list. Many of these items we sourced secondhand, others we purchased from the manufacturer or retailer. We have found them online and listed them for you. Some of the links supplied we have an association with and we will receive a small commission if you purchase through the link, but it is free to look and do your research 😊 we can not promise all links to work as retailers may remove items, but we will do our best to update them 👍

Join us next time as we take on Montezuma Falls hike.

Gold, Cannibalism and Bob Brown – Corinna


To get to our next adventure, the town called Corinna in Tasmania we needed to transverse the Western Explorer ”Highway”. Whoever named this piece of road a highway either has never traveled on a highway or is romanticising. There is no better way to describe this road as bone jarring and van build testing. Thankfully our van building skills are better than our bones and the civil engineering on the ”Highway”.


If you are looking for a road trip adventure take the Western Explorer Highway it is a unique beast that is isn’t the fastest way to get around the coast but it is the most interesting. Known variously as the C249, the Western Explorer Highway or the road to nowhere, this deliciously remote route through dense forest and buttongrass plains that crosses the Tarkine Wilderness and has the feel of a true adventure, albeit a pretty safe one that connects the Arthur River with Corinna.

The road to nowhere
An endless road


A 4WD is recommended, although 2WD vehicles regularly make the three- to four-hour passage. We recommend that you check the weather before setting out. 2WD in anything other than bright blue skies would be a concern. Take your time and enjoy the spectacular scenery. We wish we had known about a few stops along the way that campers have used. Sleeping out here under the stars would truly be amazing, however we had a booking at Corinna so had to push on.

The ”Highway” is undulating with twists and turns

Corinna is reputedly derived from the Peerapper word for a young Tasmanian tiger. Peerapper, is an aboriginal language of Northwestern region of Tasmania. Corinna is a historic gold mining town, set in pristine rainforest on the banks of the majestic Pieman River in western Tasmania. Corinna is, as the sea eagle flies, 60km north of Strahan, 70km west of Cradle Mountain and 18km from the Southern Ocean. It sits at the southern end of the Tarkine the largest temperate rainforest in Australia – and is the northern most point where the famous Huon pine grows. This ancient unbroken tract of rainforest shows a world beyond human memory and is a living link with the ancient super continent Gondwanaland.

What was once a thriving gold mining town, Corinna is now an oasis for nature lovers wanting a genuine wilderness experience. The staff at Corinna provide a warm welcome, this hospitality was put to the test when we breezed into town. After a gruelling days drive over the Western Explorer “Highway” we fronted up to reception eager to find our campsite. As cheery as can be they said “we are fully booked up tonight, your booking isn’t until tomorrow”. But “not to worry we will find you a parking spot to sleep and maybe you would like to dine in the restaurant after taking long hot showers in camp”. Soon we had a glass of red wine in hand, laughing that Karen’s well planned schedule was up the creek without a paddle. The hospitality and quality of the food and beverages in the Tarkine Hotel and Tannin Restaurant add another dimension to our Corinna visit. Secretly we were not disappointed to gain an extra day in this exquisite place.

Remnants of the gold rush days

The camp provides an unforgettable wilderness experience that is difficult to find in Tasmania and elsewhere in the world. There is a range of unique wilderness experiences to do here, including the cruise on the Pieman River in the legendary Huon pine vessel, MV Arcadia II. Or a range of outdoor activities such as kayaking, walking, boating, fishing, bird watching and nature experiences are available. Opportunities also abound to explore and recall the exploits of the early miners and the aboriginal communities who made the west coast home as many as 30,000 years ago. 


The campsite is only small 8 sites in total, however there are the ensuited, eco- friendly retreats for those wanting a little more luxury. We were delighted with our campsite with views of the Pieman River at our doorstep and an abundance of wildlife that just walked, hopped, flew and crawled through the site whenever it suited them. We were exactly where we wanted to be. 

Wildlife that are just as curious about us as we are of them

Totally relaxing you can do as much or as little as you want.


Corinna was inhabited by white settlers in 1881 and proclaimed a town in 1894, following a flood of people coming to the area in pursuit of gold. The township of Corinna (in the Pieman River State Reserve) is singularly placed in Tasmania’s history as a unique example of a remote mining town that has survived. Before that, the Tarkiner people made Corinna and the nearby Tarkine areas their home for 30,000 years.

There are three noted river cruises on the Tasmanian west coast – the one at Arthur River (which unfortunately we had missed), the Gordon River cruise which leaves from Strahan which we are booked on and the small, intimate and fascinating cruise which leaves Corinna and travels to the mouth of the Pieman River. 


Named the Pieman River Cruise it journeys in the The Arcadia II a magnificent 17m craft built of huon pine in 1939 and listed on the Australian register of Historic Vessels in 2009. It is reputedly the only huon pine river cruiser in operation anywhere in the world.

Rob at the wheel

She has a leisurely cruising speed of 9 knots. Originally a luxury pleasure craft based in Hobart, it was requisitioned to serve in the Second World War in New Guinea as a supply ship. After some seasons as a scallop fishing boat on the East coast working from the Coles Bay area, the Arcadia ll was commissioned as a cruise boat on Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River in 1961. In 1970 she moved to Pieman River where she faithfully served her new owners, as the first regular cruises on the Pieman River.

Amazing reflections.


The cruise is a unique opportunity to travel the length and see the heads of the Pieman River, admire the fauna and flora of the area and to experience a rare pristine part of Tasmania’s West Coast rainforest. With excellent commentary, stunning reflections it’s a truly personal experience with the river and rainforest.

Solid Huon Pine build.


The entrance to Lover’s Falls

The cruise passes close to the wreck of the SS Croydon at the mouth of the Savage River and to Lover’s Falls near the mouth of the Donaldson.

Morning Tea and a picnic lunch is included which you can take with you if you wish to walk to Hardwicke Bay and take in the magnificent view of the Southern Ocean something we were keen to do.

The heads of the Pieman River
Southern Ocean

This is an uplifting and authentic experience, rich in history, nature and personal anecdotes. when you journey on the Arcadia II You must ask the story of how Lover’s Fall was named it’s a fascinating tale.

How Did The Pieman River Get Its Name?


There is an argument, with some small level of plausibility, that the Pieman River is named after a pastrycook, Thomas Kent of Southhampton, who was transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1816 and nicknamed “The Pieman”. 

The more plausible explanation is that it was named after Alexander Pearce, a convict who because of his repeated cannibalism, became known as “The Pieman”. Both men had escapes that led them to the Pieman area. The Pieman though has a long history, the river was originally called the Retreat and was renamed the Pieman in 1823 by Captain James Kelly.

So is this why the rivers name was changed? Alexander Pearce was born in County Monaghan in Ireland in about 1790. He was a small, pockmarked man who was transported to Hobart Town in 1820.

Drawing of Alexander Pearce (Photo courtesy Sarah Island archives)

His crime: he had stolen six pairs of shoes. His punishment: seven years in Van Diemen’s Land. Two years after his arrival Pearce was found to have forged a money order. Right now you have done it mate! and In June, 1822 he was sent to Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

By September of that year he had managed to escape with seven other convicts. Their plan was to cross the island and escape to China. They got hopelessly lost, ran out of food and took the easy option: they started eating each other. The rest of the gruesome story you can find in the history books. But it is obvious that Pearce was the lone survivor. Pearce was eventually caught. He admitted to cannibalism but the authorities didn’t believe him.

There are many historical books relating to Alexander Pearce.

He was sent back to Sarah Island where, a few months later, he escaped with another convict, Thomas Cox.  Once again Pearce found himself without food and, to solve the problem. Yep you know the story but the fool was recaptured near the King River, Pearce admitted to eating Cox. There was no argument this time because when he was captured Pearce still had bits of Cox’s hands and fingers in his pockets.

He was subsequently executed in Hobart on 19 July, 1824.  It is reported that just before he was hanged, Pearce said, “Man’s flesh is delicious. It tastes far better than fish or pork. As you cross, or cruise down, the Pieman, think of Alexander Pearce. A unique footnote to Australian history.

Copy of Death Sentence.
(photo courtesy of Tasmanian Government)

There was a time when schooners laden with huon pine left the river through the Heads, and when steamships, not much bigger than the Arcadia II, came up the river and discharged their cargoes at Corinna and the nearby Donaldson’s Landing.

To take the journey on the Arcadia II to Pieman Head, the return trip is an unforgettable experience. The skipper takes the Arcadia close enough to the banks for you to actually feel as if you can touch the ancient rainforest, including many specimens of huon pine. On the journey, it is not uncommon to see platypus and sea eagles, and always possible to see the rare and endangered slender tree fern.


Other than the cruise we came here to be one with the wilderness and the only way to truly do that is on foot. Using Corinna as our base, this is our chance to embrace and really explore the wilderness of the west coast on foot with some iconic walks that range from accessible to challenging. 

Our first was the Whyte River Walk it is the most popular walk in the area. The track leads away from the township and which has boardwalks and stairs at strategic places. The walk is easy, and is an ideal introduction to the rainforest ecosystem.

The Huon Pine Walk is what this area is known for. One of the truly memorable moments Karen says she can remember in Australian environmental history is a young Bob Brown standing next to a modest huon pine and pointing out that it had been growing in that place on Tasmania’s west coast from before the time of the recorded birth of Christ. The huon pine is a remarkable, fine grained, slow growing tree and this short walk has interpretative signs along the way.

You see beautiful specimens not only of Huon Pines but others such as leatherwood, celery top pine, sassafras, king billy pine, myrtle beech, pencil pine, native laurel, soft tree fern, slender tree fern, blackwood, cutting grass, native plum, whitey wood and the commonly named, “horizontal” and if you search some eucalypt species like the mountain ash, that grow in these rainforest conditions. An understory of ferns, mosses, liverworts and fungi form an important part of the rainforest habitat and ecosystem. There are more than 400 species of diverse flora, including a range of native orchids and many rare and threatened species. There are more than 250 vertebrate species of fauna, 50 of which are rare, threatened and vulnerable. These include quolls, Tasmanian devils, eastern pygmy possums, wedge tailed eagles, the white breasted sea eagle, orange bellied parrots, white goshawks and giant freshwater lobsters.

It is so different to the rainforests that we are use to walking through. The cool temperate rainforests seem quiet, tidy, clean and in order. Where the tropical rainforests that we are use to seeing are disorderly, larger than life and busting with colour.

The township works with nature in mind and it is powered by an eco-friendly solar system with back-up generators. It has pure rainwater (probably the most pure water in the world) and all waste is removed from site. The general store, old guest house and original buildings bring alive the history of Corinna, which is a starting point to connect with the surrounding wilderness in all of its facets. Once visited this area it will always be part of you forever.

From Corinna, our next stops are Zeehan and Strahan and both we are looking forward to visiting especially the Montazoma Falls at Zeehan and the Gordon River Cruise. But to get to these we need to cross the Pieman using the ‘Fatman Barge’. The barge only operates limited hours so if you are coming this way make sure you plan your crossing!  Given that the point of crossing is 130 metres wide and 20 metres deep, the “Fatman” barge is a “local crossing” method. It is small so towing rigs are also limited. Check out http://www.corinna.com.au/barge-access-and-times/ for costs limits and times.

Following are a collection of photos we hope you enjoy




If you would like to ride along with us whether it be on the high seas or on a dusty road out west, consider being a patreon find out about it here 👉 Dreamtime Patreon every little bit helps to keep us on the road producing Youtube and writing blogs as we hope you enjoy them. Please subscribe to the blog so you will be notified each time we post. To subscribe head to our home page.

We love to read your comments if you have any questions pop them below, we will be sure to get back to you. 

If you are interested in the products we used on our build on our product page is a list. Many of these items we sourced secondhand, others we purchased from the manufacturer or retailer. We have found them online and listed them for you. Some of the links supplied we have an association with and we will receive a small commission if you purchase through the link, but it is free to look and do your research 😊 we can not promise all links to work as retailers may remove items, but we will do our best to update them 👍

Join us next time as we stay at the best ever tFREE campsite in Tasmania.

The Western Wilds of Tasmania – Tarkine Wilderness


The route we followed completing the loop to continue on to Corinna

If you are looking for the ultimate Tasmanian road trip into the wilderness, then you need to head west. Home to untamed rivers, ancient pine trees and giant sand dunes, the west coast is at the heart of Tasmania’s wilderness. It is isolated rough country, associated with wilderness, timber harvesting and mining. It served as the earliest location of an convict settlement in the history of Van Diemen’s Land, and contrasts sharply with the more developed and populous northern and eastern parts of the island. 

Now known as the gateway to Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area, its rugged mountains, ancient rain forests and heath make Tasmania’s west one of Australia’s last true wilderness frontiers. The island’s West Coast consists mostly of lush national parks. Fill your lungs with what is said to be the world’s cleanest air and be fascinated by the climate resulting in icy winters with freezing temperatures and pristine white beaches with unbelievable surf breaks. Western Tasmania is a place of contrasts. 

Just another country road

TIP: If you want to visit these National Parks and you most surely will want to, you can save money and reduce the risk of hassle by investing in a Holiday Pass or as we did a two year Tasmanian National Parks Pass. All the island’s national parks take entrance fees, but some of them have no controllers, instead just trusting in that you are honest and pay when entering.

Yet, despite its remoteness, there is easy access for those brave enough to tackle the Western Explorer Highway. It is a unique beast that is the most direct way to get around the coast and is most interesting. Known variously as the C249, the Western Explorer Highway built in 1990 it is the road to nowhere, this seriously remote route through dense forest and buttongrass plains crosses the Tarkine Wilderness has the feel of a true adventure, albeit a pretty safe one that connects the Arthur River with Corinna.

“The highway”

The “Highway” rewards those who drive it carefully – wildlife is abundant views are spectacular and this was the last known habitat of the Tassie tiger; take care lest it emerges from the bush. But be warned the term “Highway” is a very romantic view of a piece of gravel road, at 77 kilometres long you will know that you have traveled every inch of it by the end. However it opens up to a truly memorable experience. 

We leave our beach side camp at Montague ready and committed to do the Western Explorer Highway, this will be a real test on our van conversion building skills and how well “Le Frog Box” handles such roads. 2WD vehicles regularly make the two- to three-hour passage. At the north lies surf beaches like Marrawah, fishing settlements at Couta Rocks and Temma. And to the south lies the spectacular Tarkine wilderness rainforest, which will be our first overnight stop and then finally onto the settlement of Corinna.

Even though we are here in mid February don’t for one second believe that this is the Australia that is known for hot days and a baking sun. Instead, pack warming clothes, thick wool socks and rainwear. The wind is howling today from the southwest and there is nothing and we mean nothing between this coastline and Antarctica. At least the surf will be pumping at Marrawah, not that we intend on putting our toes in the water.

Marrawah is Tasmania’s westernmost settlement. It is a town known in the surfing world for its outstanding big wave surf which, in extreme weather, has produced waves reaching 19 metres. Apart from surfing Marrawah is a tiny outpost servicing the surrounding rich farming and dairy area. Beyond the town the farmlands tumble down to the sea at Green Point and West Point.

Beautiful campsite with BBQ’s and shelters but not in this weather


We had initially marked the free campsite here as where we wanted to stay tonight, but when we heard that wind arrive through the night and as dawn broke that wind was howling, we new Marrawah wouldn’t be suitable. We still wanted to see this famous surf beach, and are so very pleased we did. The waves were pumping not to the record highs but enough that the windsurfing guys were having a great time.

Windsurfer making the most of the windy conditions


A stunning beach area in the right conditions

We turned “Le Frog Box” in the direction of Arthur River.  This small town lies 16 km south of Marrawah and, although it is a tiny isolated settlement, it offers cruises up the Arthur River. The family owned Arthur River Cruises on the M.V. George Robinson leave Arthur River at 10.00 am, travel upstream for 70 minutes past banks densely forested with myrtles, sassafras, celery-top pine, laurels, blackwoods, and giant tree ferns. It includes lunch and a walk in the riverside rainforest, and return to Arthur River by 3.00. Unfortunately we had missed the timing for the cruise but definitely wanted to see what the locals call the “Edge of the World”.  

Rob braving the cold and standing on ”The Edge of the World”

Gardiner Point, which lies to the south of Arthur River, has called itself “The Edge of the World” because, apart from its isolation, it is further south than Cape Agulus (the southernmost point of Africa) and therefore the waves breaking on the shores have come uninterrupted all the way across the Great Southern Ocean from Argentina.

The edge of the world

With today’s conditions we totally believed we were standing on the “Edge of the World”. Karen was so cold her teeth were chattering. Time to move on and find some shelter.

Karen hiding from the winds at the mouth of Arthur River.


Leaving Arthur River means we are now officially on the Western Explorer Highway. It doesn’t take Karen long to question her plans to come this way. A number of times within the first 20 kilometres did she asked if “Froggy” was ok and asked “should we turn back?” 

The highway takes you through vastly different vegetation


An hours drive from Arthur River is the 447,000 ha Tarkine Wilderness Area Loop Drive, (FYI: It’s pronouned “tar-kine”, rhymes with “fine”, not “tar-keen”, rhymes with “mean”.) a vast wilderness of myrtle, leatherwood and pine trees which was once part of the mighty continent of Gondwana. However, whilst there is no official recognition of the name “Tarkine” I think Tasmanian’s have accepted the name, and it is generally agreed that it stretches from the Arthur River in the north to the Pieman River in the south and is bound by the west coast and the Murchison Highway. The Tarkine flanks the old mining towns of Roseberry and Corinna and includes the Sumac, Norfolk, Waratah, Rebecca, Pieman, Temma, Blackwater and Corinna Roads.

The Tarkine is vast and diverse. Some is wild, windy coastline, some is beautiful button grass plains, some majestic rainforests, some shack communities and townships, some farms, forestry and some of it mined. It is a beautiful area and anyone who has spent time exploring it will know there is a lot to see and a lot to take in.

The region has almost no permanent residents, but it has lots of wildlife including populations of endangered Tasmanian Devils. You can also find some of the richest aboriginal historical sites in the Tarkine, including shell middens and rock carving sites. The Tarkine is definitely off the beaten path so it’s not overrun with tourists, but it is still easy enough to get around.

The “Loop Drive” takes you through natural and dramatic landscapes beginning with Kanunnah Bridge, taking its name from the aboriginal name for ‘Tasmanian Tiger’.


you then come to, Sumac Lookout surrounded by rainforest and tall eucalypts and gives a more impressive widespread view of the river and beyond. From there the Julius River Forest Reserve has cool temperate rainforest to explore. The next stop Lake Chisholm Forest Reserve has flooded limestone sinkholes and meandering walks through old myrtle forests and alongside still watered lakes. Completing the loop is the Trowutta Arch Rain Forest Walk; a stunning and natural geological structure. This area is richly woven in human history and natural beauty. 

Sumac Lookout

The Loop has well marked signage for each of the places of interest.

One of the best places to get an overall good look of the area is at the Sumac Lookout viewpoint. A breathtaking view over the majestic Arthur River and the surrounding cool temperate rainforest. It is an easy, 10 minute walk. This area is again receiving a lot of attention by conservationists over the destruction caused by logging. A protesting blockade has been re-established in the Sumac area to hinder further logging. The Bob Brown Foundation says ‘while we wait for political leadership, we will occupy these forests in a peaceful vigil aiming to prevent their loss to logging’.

The view from Sumac Lookout shows the beauty of the area

Julius River

Julius River Car Park

The green on green on green of the temperate rainforest is enchanting at Julius River. And it made it one of our favourite parts of the Tarkine Drive.

A beautiful river walk


There are two short loop walks at Julius River. The shorter one takes about 30 minutes. It leaves from the end of the carpark and runs next to the river, over a bridge and then up a hill back to the start. The scenery here is just primeval, with tree ferns and lots of ancient plants that date back to Gondwana, the ancient supercontinent that formed most of the modern continents.

The longer walk takes in a few stairs

The longer walk takes about 40 minutes and makes a loop through the forest, it is a worthwhile walk but if you are short on time take the 30 minute one. The picnic ground at Julius river has tables, barbecues and toilets, which makes it a nice place to stop for a break.

Lake Chisholm


Imagine, if you will, a beautiful lush rainforest, still and peaceful with a sense of remoteness, and in the middle of it a calm lake with mirror-like reflections. That’s pretty much what you’ll find at Lake Chisholm.


How big did we say those trees are.

A picturesque short walk through tall trees, ferns thigh high (well Karen’s thighs) and mixed eucalyptus forest leads you to one of the finest examples of a flooded limestone sinkhole in Australia.

This was the day that we found out our Great Grandson Hudson Robin had been born. Karen named this tree after him wishing him a long and
healthy life. One day he may visit this tree too.


The forest you walk through is simply stunning in its lushness.  What sets Lake Chisholm apart is its origin. The lake was formed when a sink-hole in the limestone countryside became blocked. Water flowing into the hole had nowhere to go, and accumulated until a decent sized lake had formed.

Perfect mirror image


Being in a low lying area, the lake is sheltered from the winds common in the area, and so the surface is still and mirror-like. Platypus have been sighted here however we were not here at dusk or dawn so our likely hood of seeing these beautiful mammals was non existent. The path is a gentle incline and is listed as Moderate, there are stairs and some uneven ground and it takes approximately 30 minutes.

Trowutta Arch

The path is a very easy walk. there are some stairs to navigate.

A short walk through lovely rainforest takes you to an extraordinary and rare geological feature. The Trowutta Arch walk begins by entering the dense temperate rainforest beside an obvious sign. The walk is very easy and follows a wide, clear trail with little to no elevation gain. Along the way, you’ll get to experience the incredible beauty of The Tarkine, a true global treasure. Giant fern trees (man ferns) and fungi-covered logs dominate the understory, with towering eucalypts on all sides. Trust us when we say that if you’re visiting Tasmania’s Wild West Coast, you’ll want to add the Trowutta Arch walk to your list of things to do. The Trowutta Arch is also one of the most accessible around and one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks.


At the end, you’ll find a set of beautiful green cenotes (sink holes) framed perfectly by a tall arch, the remnants of an ancient cave. Trowutta Arch was formed by the collapse of the cave. The roof fell in leaving a section between two “sink holes”. When we visited the sink holes were full of water. However we have been told at times the water level is very low or non existent, it would still be worth a visit no matter what.

This has to be seen to be believed. straight out of Jurassic Park you can imagine Dinosaurs roaming these parts.
Pristine temperate rainforest

We pulled up stumps for the night in one of the National Parks Campgrounds 200 meters up the road from Julius Creek reserve. This is available to park pass holders and gives you the true feeling of being in the remote wilderness of the Tarkine. There are only 5 campsites you need to be totally self sufficient and leave no trace only your footprints. There is no booking system it is first in gets the spot.

It was truly a beautiful experience going to sleep with the forest noises of the nocturnal animals going about their business and then to be woken by the squawking, laughing and chitter chatter of the birds at dawn. Thank you Tasmania Parks for giving us the privilege to experience this.

Our camp for the night. Totally secluded surrounded by nature.


A warming Curry with garlic naan bread for dinner


We weren’t sure what to expect when planning our roadtrip on the Tarkine Loop Drive but we are soooooooo glad we went. It’s such a beautiful place and is still quite off the beaten path. There were only a few cars at most of the places we stopped. We even had some of them all to ourselves. If you find yourself in Tasmania, make time to drive the Tarkine, you’ll love it. However whilst the Tarkine Wilderness is magnificent, we felt a little disappointment with the loop road leading to it – the South Arthur Forest Drive (or the Tarkine Forest Drive, as Forestry Tasmania prefers to call it). 

Maybe our expectations were too high. The tourist literature portrays it as an unspoiled wilderness experience, but it isn’t. Most of the countryside the road passes through has been – and still is – extensively logged. The predominance of regrowth forest and the frequency of logging roads are a constant reminder that the area is far from pristine.

In a way, the “managed” forest along much of the road serves to highlight the unspoiled nature of the forest reserves within it. And for sure the reforestation ”Managed” forests are far better than logging natural forest. For us, the signs of logging outside the Lake Chisholm reserve provided a stark contrast with the forest within, and emphasised the beauty. A mirror-perfect lake at the end of the walk was a welcome sight. We both spoke of the timber industry leaving a corridor of growth so you can’t see the destruction, but this would be a false illusion. Better we see it so we can acknowledge what man does to earth.

Join us next time when we explore Corinna Tasmania’s Wild Western Frontier and the majestic Pieman River. Full of histoy and scenery to take your breath away.

Please find following more photos of this beautiful area, we hope you enjoy them.

If you would like to ride along with us whether it be on the high seas or on a dusty road out west, consider being a patreon find out about it here 👉 Dreamtime Patreon every little bit helps to keep us on the road producing Youtube and writing blogs as we hope you enjoy them. 

Please subscribe to the blog so you will be notified each time we post. To subscribe head to our home page.

We love to read your comments so if you have any questions pop them below, we will be sure to get back to you.

If you are interested in the products we used on our van build, our product page has a list. Many of these items we sourced secondhand, others we purchased from the manufacturer or retailer. We have found them online and listed them for you. Some of the links supplied we have an association with and we will receive a small commission if you purchase through the link, but it is free to look and do your research 😊 we can not promise all links to work as retailers may remove items, but we will do our best to update them 👍

Marrawah


Edge of the World


Arthur River

Julius River




Lake Chisholm





Trowutta Arch




Stanley is truly a quaint town.

It was hard to drag ourselves away from our outstanding Free campsite at Sulphur Creek, but when we did we meandered along to find more adventures.

Sulphur Creek Free Campsite

Stanley is a town on the north-west coast of Tasmania, Australia. Travelling west it is the second-last major township on the north-west coast of Tasmania.

The township of Stanley with ”The Nut” dominating the skyline

Stanley is a truly remarkable town. Not only is it steeped in the early history of Tasmania (for it was from here that the mighty Van Diemen’s Land company operated from Highfield House) but it is also a town full of beautifully preserved historic buildings.

See our next blog which features Highfield House

Not surprisingly it is a classified town. As a bonus it has one of the most remarkable landforms anywhere in Australia: the Nut, the stump of an old volcano, towers over the town. Although the Nut can be bitterly cold when the winds are blowing as it was the day we visited, it is a magnet for everyone who wants to get a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.

The panoramic view from The Nut.
Looking west along the coast from on top of The Nut

Stanley was named after Edward Smith-Stanley, known as Lord Stanley who, at the time, was the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. He later became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom three times. Until 1842 the town was also known as Circular Head, a name it had been given by Matthew Flinders, and is still used today in marketing and tourism brochures. 

Street scapes that are so quaint and beautifully preserved
Perfect for movie sets

Stanley is a tiny romantic town with quaint streets and beautiful views making for a perfect leisure seeker’s retreat. It is used by many for that special romantic getaway. Sitting on a slender sliver of land jutting out into the Bass Strait on Tasmania’s northwest coast it is remarkably well-preserved.

We are asleep until we fall in love!”

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy


With many colonial buildings surrounding the port and dominated by the massive volcanic plug “the Nut”. The plug rises 150 metres out of the water and it over shadows the small towns skyline. But the name of the volcanic plug belies Stanley’s quaintness. Called “The Nut,” Stanley’s cheeky geological feature is what visitors remember most. Volcanic rock spewed into the sky and cooled before it had time to come back down to the ground. Now this massive geological feature is a world-famous marvel.

It offers 360° views from the top. It is a strenuous hike that takes you 150 meters above the sea where you can marvel at Tasmania’s beautiful and rugged northwest coastline. Or you can opt to take the chairlift if the steep hike is too much. Be sure to look below for sea lions basking in the sun and tiny Penguins coming back from a day’s hunt out in the Bass Strait. Even though we love a good hike we decided to take the historic chairlift. At the base of the Nut we were quite protected but as that chairlift rose over the crest the 35 knots of wind darn near lifted us off our seats. The walk around the top of the Nut is very picturesque but in the weather conditions we found ourselves in it was one of the quickest laps anyone visiting has achieved. 

The chairlift in 35 knots of wind was not for the faint hearted
Hold on to your hat Karen

Stanley is rich in history but its importance as a port has faded through time. Now Stanley is a quaint little fishing port that relies heavily on tourism. Tourists flock to this small peninsula for its remarkable geological feature, it’s beautifully preserved colonial buildings and fresh boutique seafood.

Romantic BnB’s and seafood restaurants draw the crowds

Compared to the rest of the world, Tasmania’s northwest coast is rather sparsely populated, Stanley itself has a recorded 560 residents. That means the ocean waters beyond are some of the wildest and least touched marine habitats on the planet. And you can taste that unspoiled natural beauty when you order seafood in one of many Stanley restaurants. The fish and chips alone draw seafood lovers from all over Australia.


As the westerly winds were blowing cold on the day we visited (in the middle of Summer) we chose to eat indoors and try the seafood chowder. Thankfully it lived up to the waitress’ enthusiastic description, served with a fresh hot loaf of crusty bread, it was perfect to warm us up.

On a cold summers day just what we needed.

We finished our day with a walk around the town popping into each of the quaint shops and particularly the ones that showcased local produce and alcoholic refreshments. We didn’t quite know the extent of the local production of whiskey, gin and vodka not including the vineyards and their fine wines. Of course from these visits we have topped up the larder for our next few days 🙄.

More provisions for the larder.

Join us next time when we explore Highfield House.


“I’ve never had a moment’s doubt. I love you. I believe in you completely. You are my dearest one. My reason for life.”

Atonement by Ian McEwan


If you would like to ride along with us whether it be on the high seas or on a dusty road out west, consider being a patreon find out about it here 👉 Dreamtime Patreon every little bit helps to keep us on the road producing Youtube and writing blogs as we hope you enjoy them. 

Please subscribe to the blog so you will be notified each time we post. To subscribe head to our home page.

We love to read your comments if you have any questions pop them below, we will be sure to get back to you.

If you are interested in the products we used on our build on our product page is a list. Many of these items we sourced secondhand, others we purchased from the manufacturer or retailer. We have found them online and listed them for you. Some of the links supplied we have an association with and we will receive a small commission if you purchase through the link, but it is free to look and do your research 😊 we can not promise all links to work as retailers may remove items, but we will do our best to update them 👍

Highfield House is the story of success or tragedy – you decide. 

Take a step back in time and visit the Highfield Historic Site in the northwest of Tasmania, near Stanley. Remarkably intact, the house is a gentleman’s home and farm from the 1830’s. With gorgeous views of Stanley and the popular tourist attraction ‘The Nut’, combined with the lavish gardens, the site is a pleasant visit that will fascinate history buffs and give an interesting account of an important period of Tasmania’s history. 

The Historic Site includes many outbuildings all of which are open to the public.

Highfield Historic Site offers a historically accurate vision from the 1830s. It sits on a hillside overlooking the lands the manager would have once controlled, with impressive views across to Stanley, The Nut and the Bass Strait beyond. The house has been restored over time by the Tasmanian Government and its elegant Regency design, convict barracks, barns, stables, and a chapel are surrounded by a large ornamental garden. By visiting you are helping to raise the funds to continue the restoration and preservation work. 

The main house with ornamental gardens has a magnificent view of “The Nutt” and the township of Stanley

Part of the History

The Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL) came to the region in 1826 and essentially formed the cornerstone for European settlement in northwest Tasmania. The company was granted royal permission to select unexplored territory in Tasmania’s west and Circular Head was chosen as the ideal spot given its harbour and plentiful supply of fresh water. This company was intended to rival the West Indies Company to supply much needed supplies to the mother country. Their aim was to grow Merino sheep and export the wool.

Still in the yard is equipment used over the years to work the land

The first settlers were no strangers to hardships and challenges presented by the harsh environment and rugged terrain. The company also became known for its brutal treatment of the local Aboriginal inhabitants. Nonetheless, the land was eventually cleared using convict labour and infrastructure began to take shape. 

Impressive stone work by convict labour

In 1831, Edward Curr, the chief agent of the Van Diemen’s Land Company, planned for a larger homestead for his family, adjoining the weatherboard cottage that had until that time served as Curr’s home. Construction started in 1832, it was completed in 1835 and later additions were made by John Lee Archer.

The tradesmen entrance, through to the kitchen and boiler room.

The Company’s grand plans largely foundered as the land proved not suitable for merino sheep with most of the 5,000 imported animals dying in the cold winters. Due to the company’s underwhelming performance, Curr was dismissed in 1842. By the late 1840s, the company decided to sell or lease most of its holdings. In the ensuing years, the homestead was leased out and the company’s headquarters moved to Burnie. It was then sold to various owners until it was acquired in 1982 by the State Government and is now administered as an Historic Site and been extensively restored. Today, the original land holding has reduced to around five acres.

Other rooms, buildings, and landmarks as part of the homestead included the chapel and school house (later used as a storehouse), barns (later converted to a large shearing shed), horse stables, pig sties and boiling house (later made into a slaughterhouse), cart shed, cottages, and funerary monument (for Curr’s 3 year old daughter who died tragically on property).

The chapel and school house

Apart from the historic value showcasing the amazing skilled labour of the convicts who built the homestead and adjoining outbuildings. The real intrigue is in the people who lived at the site. 

Another view of the chapel
The stables are a true work of art
The interior of the stables, the wood is beautifully crafted.
Tack room



We had planned a quick visit to walk through another beautifully built and restored colonial home. However the visit extended to a couple of hours as we spent time reading of the trials and tribulations of the occupants throughout the years. The homestead is really bought to life with the detailed history that is on display. Letters, journal entries and private diary writings that give you the true picture of the comings and going’s on not only in the company, but also into the private lives.

It is fascinating to read a woman’s account of her time, in what must of seems outrageously harsh and outright freighting times for someone who had come from a civilised lifestyle in England. Simply to have your children sent back to England to be educated, some from as young as three, must of been heart wrenching. But there are many more fascinating stories to uncover when you visit this remarkable site.

Every door opened reveals something new to discover about Highfield Hose and its occupants


On a windswept bluff these buildings have stood the test of time


Something about fence pots constructed like this take you back in time. Makes you wonder why we still don’t build this way.

Highfield Historic Site is just 3km down the road from picturesque Stanley and located at 143 Greenhills Road. On the way to the historic site make sure you stop at the lookout and climb the stairs for a spectacular view of “The Nut” and Stanley in the foreground. There is no public transport to the site, but plenty of free parking with room for caravans, RV’s and our Frog Box.

Visitors are welcome daily from September through May. In June to August the site is closed on weekends. Entrance fees apply. Groups are welcome and the site is also available for events such as weddings. 

Please find following a number of photos we took the day we visited this incredible historic site.















We hope you enjoyed our latest blog. Join us next time when we continue to explore the North West Coast of Tasmania.

If you would like to ride along with us whether it be on the high seas or on a dusty road out west, consider being a patreon find out about it here 👉 Dreamtime Patreon every little bit helps to keep us on the road producing Youtube and writing blogs as we hope you enjoy them. 

Please subscribe to the blog so you will be notified each time we post. To subscribe head to our home page.

We love to read your comments if you have any questions pop them below, we will be sure to get back to you.

If you are interested in the products we used on our build on our product page is a list. Many of these items we sourced secondhand, others we purchased from the manufacturer or retailer. We have found them online and listed them for you. Some of the links supplied we have an association with and we will receive a small commission if you purchase through the link, but it is free to look and do your research 😊 we can not promise all links to work as retailers may remove items, but we will do our best to update them 👍

The Spirit of Tasmania was a little more spirited than expected. 

One of the main reasons why Tasmania draws us back, again and again, is that Tasmania is an island with four distinct seasons. When planning what to do in Tasmania, each season brings a different set of activities and events. As there are so many different things to do in Tasmania unique to each season, it’s easy to plan a getaway.

Our planed loop around the Apple Isle

From warm summer beach days to rugging up on a crisp winter night in the highlands to the freshness of spring and the vibrant colours of autumn, Tasmania is a feast for the eyes all-year-round.

Our journey begins by catching the Spirit of Tasmania 1. On the day of our sailing, there was a fairly simple check-in process for the ferry. Arriving at the pier in Port Melbourne 2 hours before the scheduled sailing time we receive our boarding passes (these double as our swipe cards for entry into the Ocean View recliner lounge). 

There was a lot of sitting and waiting in the van before we finally drove onto the boat, but then it’s quite quick to grab your backpack and head for our seats. I hope Rob took note of where we parked as there are so many cars. I did see somewhere that there were little maps you can take from the nearest stairwell that will give you directions back to your stairwell, but I was to excited to grab one.

In our day backpack we were advised to pack a number of items. Sea sickness tablets, mmmm do you really think we will need these. We have checked the weather for the last three days like most sailors and it is predicted to be calm.

What the weather was expected to be.
But can you see the red spike thats the actual.

But the Bass Strait is notoriously rough sailing. Books and/or iPad: entertain yourself for the next 9-11 hours. Well we are used to being on a small boat for days at sea how boring could it be on a huge ship with a movie theatre, bars and cafes. Ok book and iPad packed. For guest convenience there are powerpoints available for use throughout the boat, now this is great.

the Ocean View Room with recliners.

We were also advised to bring a Blanket/pillow (if you are on a recliner) for your snooze during the day, well our shared backpack is not that large so they can stay in “Froggy”. By the sounds of it we are going to have a pretty leisurely sail, of doing not much at all. 

Beyond just hanging out at the bar (not a bad idea) the cinemas are really the only excitement onboard entertainment to speak of. There are two separate cinema rooms that each show a rotation of 3 films (amazingly, new releases!), and there are about 60 seats in each. It’s certainly no IMAX experience, but it’s far better than watching a movie on your laptop (or even on our home tv), so it definitely could be a fun way to occupy a few hours on the boat. Tickets are $10/adult and $5/child. We were advised if we wanted to see a movie however get in quick as the limited tickets sell out quickly. We decided to skip the idea anyway.

Plenty of food to choose from.


We were concerned about the onboard pricing of food and drinks. There is absolutely nothing to stop you from bringing your own onto the ship however, you can only consume your own alcoholic drinks in the comfort of your own private cabin. (That’s if you have paid the extra $ to have one) While it’s nice knowing that food is there for purchase if we needed it, we would be saving a bit of money by packing something tasty from the vans galley instead. As it turned out the meals weren’t as expensive as we expected but eating our own was just fine.

Once seated it didn’t take us long to realise that we still weren’t going anywhere…. Huston do we have a problem! While there is no announcement saying anything of the sort, as keen weather watchers we certainly saw a change in the sky. Rob immediately went onto the weather radar, and what was on screen was very ugly, severe storm warning level ugly. Yep we aren’t sailing for a while yet. Eventually after the storm cells passed we heard the thrusters in full motion and we were off the dock. 


This was to be our first crossing of Bass Strait so to say we were looking forward to it would be an understatement. Many sailors dread the idea of this crossing and we were pleased we were taking the cheat’s way rather than a sail boat. This was only made more evident when we came out of Port Phillip Bay in 20 to 25 knots of wind and the swell hit us on the rear quarter. Now this admiral does not get sea sick but with the awkward rolling of the ship she had definitely felt better. Rob thought it wasn’t too bad, until he got up to walk to the bar. Mmmmm with the side steps he was doing it looked like he’d had a few to many before he actually had any. We decided discretion was called for and only had the one drink each anyway. 

You know that blanket that I was advised to pack. Pack one! It was freezing in the Ocean Lounge, whether it was the bleak day or the rain and the swell that added to the chill, regardless it was cold. I snoozed with Rob’s and my jackets wrapped around me.

Even travelling at a speedy 27knots it takes a long time to cross Bass Strait. Nine or ten hours actually. Time passed slowly with not much going on at all. Thankfully we had devices (until phone service dropped out), ocean views, books and each other to keep company. It is really a boring trip.

Service is not available for the entire passage.
Good to have a book to turn to at these times.

Entering the Mersey River on the Spirit of Tasmania 1, a bit after 6pm through narrow headlands that didn’t seem wide enough for the ship it was a relief to see the dock. After getting up at 4.30 am and 9 hours crossing the Bass Strait we were pleased to leave the ship at her dock and head for our first campsite in Devonport for a well needed sleep. Now to start our exploration of this beautiful island full of history, spectacular vistas, vineyards and fine food to be found. New adventures await.

Join us next time when we explore Devonport and the fascinating Maritime History.

If you would like to ride along with us whether it be on the high seas or on a dusty road out west, consider being a patreon find out about it here 👉 Dreamtime Patreon every little bit helps to keep us on the road producing Youtube and writing blogs as we hope you enjoy them. 

Please subscribe to the blog so you will be notified each time we post. To subscribe head to our home page.

We love to read your comments if you have any questions pop them below, we will be sure to get back to you.

If you are interested in the products we used on our build on our product page is a list. Many of these items we sourced secondhand, others we purchased from the manufacturer or retailer. We have found them online and listed them for you. Some of the links supplied we have an association with and we will receive a small commission if you purchase through the link, but it is free to look and do your research 😊 we can not promise all links to work as retailers may remove items, but we will do our best to update them 👍