Australia is absolutely brimming with magnificent natural scenery, but when it comes to rugged, wild and unspoilt wilderness, Tassie takes the cake.
National parks and reserves blanket almost one-third of Australia’s island state. The rest is fringed by wild beaches while inland rainforests lead to stunning snow-capped highlands. Tassie boasts some of the last temperate wilderness regions on Earth and is home to flora and fauna found nowhere else in the world. It has a rich and diverse history and claims to have the cleanest air in the world. And for those that like to steer off the bitumen, there are tonnes of great 4WD tracks in Tasmania to explore.
The wild western coastal drive to Sandy Cape is a thrilling 4WD adventure with isolated beaches, protruding headlands and some very wild rivers crossings. While your drive may present challenges, your reward is superb coastal views, (especially around the lighthouse), great remote off-the-grid camping (two sites to choose from – Sandy Cape and Pedder River), wildlife encounters and some of the freshest air on planet Earth you can breathe.
The beach is one of the best on the isle, but it can be treacherous with soft sand and even quicksand patches. The river crossings are outstanding, though they have claimed the odd vehicle so drive safely and to conditions. For the experienced, this drive affords some glorious scenery and an adventure never to be forgotten.
It’s a good idea to travel with at least one other vehicle and have emergency communication available. This is a remote area and anything can happen, so it’s best to be prepared.
Fortescue Bay 4WD Track
Located in south-east Tasmania within the southern end of the Tasman National Park is one of my favourite 4WD tracks in Tasmania. This easy 12 kilometre track takes you through some of the state’s oldest working forests. It’s one of the most short-but-sweet 4WD tracks in Tasmania but the surrounding area offers enough to fill in the whole day. The track ends at a bay with beautiful walking tracks, camping areas, picnic facilities, great fishing, and fantastic views. This drive allows you to experience the beautiful Tasman Peninsula in it all its glory. Just 10 kilometres east of Port Arthur or a 90-minute drive from Hobart, it’s great for a day trip or an overnight stay.
Within the bay are two smaller ones: Canoe and Bivouac bays. Watch as fishing boats bob around giant rock monoliths protruding from the sea catching the next seafood feast.
Numerous walking tracks allow for a more intimate interaction with this outstanding natural environment from short strolls to longer multi-day hikes such as the Three Capes Track which starts from the Port Arthur Historical Site and ends at the Fortescue Bay campground.
The park has many more attractions including the Tasman Arch, Blowhole, Waterfall Bay, Remarkable Caves, flora and fauna for an extended visit.
A stone’s throw from the Tarkine – the second largest temperate rainforest in the world – this 18-kilometre track willl blow your mind and fill your camera roll! The 2–3 hour drive takes you through forest, over dirt, sometimes through mud and up steep slopes. A major attraction is the abandoned mining town of Balfour – make time to check out the remnants of this once-thriving township, the mines and cemetery.
The track is located in a nature conservation area, so report into the Parks Office at the Arthur River before heading out and request a driver pass.
South Bruny Range 4WD Track
This is an easy off-road track offering fantastic scenery on the charming Bruny Island. You can camp, hike, surf, fish and go boating on this 362-square-kilometre island located off the south-eastern coast of Tasmania. There are windswept coastlines framed by rolling hills and amazing nature. While it can be experienced as a day trip from Hobart, we recommend a night or two.
Take in the view from ‘The Neck’, that connects the north and south of the islands. Climb the steps to the viewpoint for one of the most scenic views of the island. Penguins often visit the beach on the eastern side of The Neck so keep an eye out for them and be sure to sample the local oysters.
Take a drive along Tasmania’s longest beach, located on the most western point in Tasmania. Stretching 30 kilometres from Macquarie Heads to Trial Harbour, crashing waves frame one side of your drive, the other sandhills. You feel like you are on the edge of the world. In fact, there is no other land for another 10,000 kilometres over the ocean to South America.
Keep an eye out for lazing seals and sea lions. Henty Dunes, at the northernmost point of the track, are great to toboggan down, and for anglers, the head of the Henty River is always good for a catch. Just note, quicksand can sometimes be found in this area so exercise caution.