After a relatively painless process with boarding the Spirit of Tasmania, we arrived in Tassie after a day sail, at around 6:30pm. We headed straight to a donation camp in Forthe (about 15 minutes from the disembarking port). Got ourselves a nice grassy spot and headed straight over to the pub for dinner. It was so good to be on Tassie soil and all 3 of us safe and sound. Amz was so worried about Rusty in the onboard kennel, during the crossing. But it was so good to see Rusty all excited when we collected her. After a massive day, we all feel asleep quite early that night.
The next day, we went to Woolies to do a big food shop, then headed to our next camp. Lake Gairdner - a free camp approximately half an hour north of Cradle Mountain. Well what a magical places this is! We spent 3 nights here and used it as a base to explore the surrounds. We visited Cradle Mountain in one day while Rusty napped in our van. Boy were we underprepared for the cold temps here! We had two jumpers on each and still freezing our butts off. Opting not to do any of the major walks and just having a look at each spot the shuttle bus stopped. We did however get an iconic photo at Dove Lake, saw 3 wombats and an echidna on our adventure!
The following day, we visited two small waterfalls nearby and trekked out to Leven Canyon. While we were camped at Lake Gairdner we saw our first wild platypus! It was right on dusk and he came up the river in search of food. We also saw lots of small wallabies in the surrounds after dusk. Next day, is was time to move on and head back up towards the coast. We had a drive through Penguin and set up at a free camp west of the township. A severe rain cell was predicted for the next day and said to last 3 days, so we thought it would be the perfect time to head to the popular Boat Harbour Beach - free camp and nab a spot. It's a very popular free camp with limited spots. We figured everyone would be heading away because of the storm and that meant we could get a good spot! Well our plan worked♂️. We got up at 7am and headed straight to boat harbour in the pouring rain. When we got there, we had our pick of over half the camp spots! We chose a spot nestled in the corner, so we could run our generator without bother to fellow campers.
We set up during the small breaks in the rain, and bunkered down in midget mode (our van not popped up). It rained for the rest of the day and the following the day. On our third day, it looked as though the rain had cleared for a bit, so with a major case of cabin fever - we shot out to Stanley, for a look. We climbed 'the nut' and did the circuit walk on top. Although the blue skies were out, it was a quite windy (see Kurt loose his hat!). After our hike we had a light lunch in town, then checked out some of the surrounding lookouts, before heading back to camp. Next day we went and checked out the Rocky Cape, & Sisters beach, before meeting up with some Instagram friends Chris, Vee and Tilly’s for lunch in Wynyard. It was great to finally meet these guys in person and talk about life on the road (they're also traveling Australia). We stopped into the Table Cape lookout & lighthouse for a squizz on our way back to camp.
Our thoughts of Tassie after a week - absolutely epic and can't wait to see more!
After a few nights at boat harbour free camp we thought it was time to move on and continue our trek around Tassie. So we headed west to the Trowutta Arch. What a beautiful drive into the parking area this is, lined with trees both sides, as far as the eye could see. After doing the short stroll to the arch and sinkhole we headed south to find a camp for the night. Julius River RV free camp was the perfect spot for the night. We made a late lunch then trotted 600m down the road to do another river walk around the Julius River. Next day we continued west towards the coast and stopped in at Sarah Anne Rocks for a look. We gave Rusty a good run around on the beach then headed up towards Arthur River. We set our van up at the peppermint campgrounds as we wanted to go see the edge of the world lookout & its suggested to go unhitched. After seeing the 'edge of the world' we came across this inland 4wd track, we followed for an hour. Nothing extreme but was good to be off road in the Nav - unhitched.
We looked around Arthur River and decided that we still had plenty of daylight and would move camps - further north to Marrawah point. Our friends suggested it as a great free camp and they weren't wrong. We were able to nab a great spot to park (hitched) and wandered down the 20 seconds to the beach for a walk. We were having a pre-dinner beer with a fellow camper, when we saw a station wagon with 2 backpacker’s rock up. Trying to find a spot, they backed into our caravan. Luckily there was no damage to us, as they had hit Kurt’s bike pedal on the back, which cracked their tail light. We explained that they really need to look where they are going and perhaps one of them should get out of the car to direct the other one back. There were lucky it was just our van and bike, I wouldn't have liked to see them back into a new 'fancy van'.
Speaking with our new friends Paul & Jo, the conversation came up about the 'Western Explorer Road'. We'd never really heard of it but Paul & Jo were telling us how they were going to do it. Our original plan was to back track to Wynyard and take the highway down to Waratah but the more we read about the western explorer road, the more we liked the sound of it. The following day, we popped back to the ranger’s station in Arthur River to find out more details and whether they thought we could do it with the van in tow (as it is listed as a 4WD track). Rangers gave us great information, saw our setup and suggested we should be fine. With that being said, we headed down to start the track! I don't think we could have picked a better day to do it either... clear blue skies!
It took us a steady 2 hours (with lots of photo stops) to make it to savage river - our free camp for the night. After so much hype about this track, we didn't think it was that bad at all. We had heard 2WDs complete it each day but in relation to towing a van, it was fine.
Coming from Arthur river down - so doing the road from north to south, we only encountered 1 major incline. In which Kurt simply used 4Low first gear to get up. There were alot of descents⛰ but if you have common sense and utilize the right gear and braking, you'll be fine. After each major descent we would pull off where safe, and let the brakes have a breather before continuing on. Note all the inclines and descents are bitumen, so traction isn't an issue.
Overall the Western Explorer road provided some spectacular views and a nice dirt road drive through that famous west coast wilderness. Later that afternoon we had a special visitor join us for the night - Hutchy! Another fellow big lapper whom we have followed for ages. Was great to finally meet him and share travel stories over an epic campfire and beers.