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  ) 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?

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