The West coast sums up why travellers come to Tassie in the first place. Stunning natural wonders are to be found at every turn, from the tallest waterfalls to the deepest lake and more weird and wonderful critters than you can shake a stick at (don’t shake a stick at the poor guys). The area is also blessed with a rich cultural history to go along with all that spectacular natural beauty – the west coast has something for everyone.
One of the top sights is the highest waterfall in Tasmania, the gorgeous Montezuma Falls. Located near Rosebury towards the north end of the coast, Montezuma Falls lies at the end of a very do-able hike which winds its way through pristine rainforest, past myrtle and giant tree ferns. Wildlife can be seen along the way including many species of colourful birds. Huge amounts of water pound into the ground from the 104 metre drop every day, and the cool mist is a real treat after the hike. The creek at the base of the falls was once crossed by a wooden bridge which eventually collapsed, leaving a eerie scene of derelict timbers covered in dense moss hiding rusty old nuts and bolts. The falls are one of the west coast’s top sights and should definitely feature on any itinerary to the area.
For a place that delves into Tasmania’s dark(ish) past, head over to the pretty seaside town of Strahan. Built on the banks of the Macquarie Harbour, Strahan today is a charming place perfect for hanging out for a few days taking in its pleasant waterside cafes, shopping at cute stores and learning more about its history. Once belonging to the UK, as did all of Tasmania, the town was one of the most distant outposts belonging to the British Empire. Home to many early pioneers it was host to infamous Sarah Island. Just offshore in the harbour, Sarah Island was the location of a brutal convict prison with a particularly fierce reputation. Thankfully, these days it’s more beaches and sunshine than prisoners and brutality, but Strahan is still a fascinating place to learn about Tassie’s history.
Another top sight not to be missed is Mount Field National Park. Famous for being Tasmania’s first national park, there is incredible wildlife and beautiful scenery to be explored including the thundering Russell Falls. This beautiful waterfall even featured on Australia’s first stamp! It’s an easy hike through the forest and a gorgeous sight. Other waterfalls include Lady Barron and Horseshoe falls. Look out for critters such as the rarely seen platypus, which looks like something between an otter and a giant duck. Many of Tassie’s endemic bird species live here too so keep your eyes up as to the skies, as well as down on the forest floor. The park is a nature lover’s dream.
Convinced yet? If you are, and you should be, check out the marvellous Wild West Coast Tour run by the good folks over at Jump Tours. This excellent tour takes in all of the above and more. Get wild out west – you won’t be disappointed.