Tasman Peninsula an unforgettable trip of spectacular proportions. 

This coastline is the Tasman Peninsula, officially Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula, and is located in south-east Tasmania, Australia. With its lush forests, sheltered bays, beautiful beaches and close proximity to Hobart, the Tasman Peninsula offers an abundance of fun for the adventurer. Every year, this nature rich Tasmanian jewel provides nourishment and shelter to thousands of sea creatures. Humpback and southern right whales, dolphins, seals and sea eagles are everywhere.

Have you ever been totally gobsmacked at the sheer beauty of nature around you. Has it been one of those overwhelming experiences that you just feel you could never put words to the beauty to explain it to someone else. We if you have you will know the difficulty we are having to explain just how magnificent the Tasman Peninsula is. 

Sure you can tour it by car or by walks, but to experience it’s sheer awesomeness is to see it from the ocean. Ok right you know we are sailors so you would probably expect a comment like that from us. But it is truly the only way to see this incredible coastline with the highest vertical towering sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere, there are waterfalls, unusual rock formations, archways and deep-sea caves and an abundance of sea life and for us it was all up close and personal. 

We saw it all the feeding frenzy of diving gannets, albatross and sea eagles wheeling on the wind, cliff-nesting cormorants and peregrine falcons and a playful pod of dolphins surfing the bow wave of the boat. We had the front seats to Mother Natures show. Dressed in our red condoms to ward off the bitter cold wind we embraced this amazing opportunity to take in everything we could that this wild seascape offered. 

Yep Red ❣️ condoms head to toe.

We started our tour just down the road from where we were camping in the NRMA Park. From the tour office we took the option to take a 15 minute walk to where the boat was moored in Stewart’s Bay. Once dressed (in our red condoms) and seated onboard we were asked to place all belongings off the floor and to fasten our seatbelts for a ride like no other. This purpose built boat offers covered but open to the air, tiered seating with an excellent all-round view to connection with the environment. The boats are comfortable and gentle on the environment due to their fuel efficiency and low emission operation. 

Being environmentally friendly is of particular important to the operators of this tour company, family run with a 21 year history, Pennicott Wilderness Journeys has become a highly acclaimed environmental tourism operator and has won 29 Tasmanian, 1 Victorian and 14 Australian Tourism Awards. Driven by a desire to share their success and give back to the environment and community, they established the Pennicott Foundation as a flagship for important philanthropic activities. A portion of our cruise ticket goes to the Foundation, which has contributed to eradicating feral cats from Tasman Island and rats from Big Green Island. Since the successful eradications, over 100,000 breeding seabirds are saved each year, and breeding is now well established back on the Island. The foundation continues to work and support many projects close to it ethos. 

Leaving the dock at Stewart’s Bay, we first toured Port Arthur the skipper gave a running commentary which we must say with the wind in our ears was very hard to hear most of the time. From Port Arthur itself we headed along the protected shores overlooked by Arthur’s Peak. This is where we picked up some hitchhikers on the bow wave and they were certainly in a playful mood.

One of the most fascinating behaviors of dolphins is when they ride the bow pressure waves of boats. There is often quite a bit of jostling for position at the bow, as dominants of a group edge others to a less favourable position, or as one is displaced from the bow by another one approaching. It was great fun to lean over the bow and watch these interanimal antics. For us we have seen it many times but you never tire of seeing it and it was a delight to hear others onboard seeing it for their first time.

We continued on with the dolphins staying with us for quite sometime, but as we neared the open water the swell increased and the dolphins probably knowing that we had more to see peeled off one by one into the deep ink blue sea. Coming out through the heads of Port Arthur there was certainly a change in the sea conditions we were all asked by the attentive crew member if we were all feeling ok. Everyone was doing fine, though the swell had increased it was a moderate day with no white caps to be seen just a good size ocean swell, the weather gods had looked kindly on us today. It’s worth mentioning at this point that the cruise is weather dependent and the route that you take may vary due to weather as well. But it was all good so far. 

At the start of Tasman Passage we encounter the sheer dolerite cliffs rising 280 metres from the sea. Beyond The Blade is Tasman Island, and ahead we could see Cape Pillar in the distance, what a spectacular sight.

Continuing on through Tasman Passage we encountered our first of the sea birds, sea eagles circling high catching the thermals and looking for prey. On the cliff faces we saw nesting cormorants perched high on the smallest of outcrops. How can they sleep and not fall off. Then we turned the corner to see Tasman Island. One of the most isolated light stations, the island is now part of the Tasman National Park. 

Separated from Cape Pillar by the narrow Tasman Passage, the island’s formidable appearance is awe inspiring. With the highest operating lighthouse in Australia, since 1906. Automation of the lighthouse was in 1976 signalled the end of light keeping as a way of life with keepers withdrawn in May 1977 Tasman Island is an icon of Tasmania and is known as the home stretch for the world famous Sydney to Hobart race. Now a safe breeding sanctuary for fairy prions and safe haven for a seemingly endless number of and sea life. It is here that we see our first seals, leisurely taking in the sun rays beating down on the rock ledges they really didn’t take much notice of the ooo’s and aah’s of the tourists on the boat so close I could feel I could reach out and pat them. 

Now it is time to follow the spectacular sweeping coastline to Cape Pillar. Cape Pillar is the jewel in the crown of the Tasman Peninsula’s colossal coastline, with cliffs rising to 300m high. The rock is Jurassic dolerite, the remains of a drowned escarpment, with kilometres of columns, stacks, chasms and great walls rising abruptly from the deep ocean waters, but with just as much below the waterline. Cape Pillar itself is quite extraordinary and descriptions such as “awesome coastal scenery, once seen, never forgotten”, “one of the world’s most fearful sea cliffs” are the quotes that come back to me as I stare at this magnificent landscape before me. It is simply breathtaking.

Climbers abseil down to then climb the Pillar
Can you see the climbers

From Cape Pillar we ventured our further into the ocean to spot more beautiful creatures of the sea. These boats move fast so you real do get a lot packed into your 3 hour tour. Heading back towards the coast you get a true perspective of the grandeur of this landscape. This is as close as we would dare bring Our Dreamtime to the coast and this cliffs still look huge. We are now going into see some unusual rock formations, if we hav yet seen some 😜

Tessellated Pavement this unusual geological formation gives the rocks the effect of having been rather neatly tiled by a giant. The pavement appears tessellated (tiled) because the rocks forming it were fractured by earth movements. The fractures are in three sets. One set runs almost north, another east north east, and the third discontinuous set north north west. It is the last two sets that produce the tiled appearance. This tessellated pavement is one of the largest in the world. This was very hard to photograph from the ocean with the wrong tide, but this is a photograph taken from Eaglehawk Neck on our walk.

Tasman Arch A natural arch which is an enlarged tunnel running from the coast along a zone of closely spaced cracks and extending inland to a second zone that is perpendicular to the first. The roof at the landward end of the tunnel has collapsed but the hole is too large and the sides are too high to form a blowhole. The tunnel was produced by wave action. The arch ceiling is 52.7 m above sea level. Most people only see the land-side view – but from the boat alongside the coastal cliffs offers a different and amazing perspective of the arch.


Tasman Blowhole the largest blowhole on theAustralian coastline, it takes the form of a long tunnel which opens out into a large collapsed cavern into which the waves of the ocean blow. On days where rough seas occur, the water can spurt over 10 metres high. It is best seen at high tide, but is attractive at any time. We were there on what is considered a calm day. Because of this we were able to get up close a personal to all of these amazing costal features.

The sea was very calm today so the blowhole wasn’t in action

This has truly been an unforgettable journey to the island’s most south-easterly tip.

In summary, we totally enjoyed this cruise and recommend doing it, however it is expensive and for some it maybe out of reach but if you know the costing before venturing to Tasmania you could budget for it in advance and we believe totally worth it.

Photo above provided by Pennicot Wilderness Cruises
this shows how close to get to this magnificent landscape
Take a camera with a good lens to capture the wildlife. The boat is constantly moving and this is an iPhone pic you can see the difference.

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. 

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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 Launceston.

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