Situated at the mouth of the Arthur River, the tiny settlement of Arthur River is an ideal base for walking (both in the bush and along the coastline), horse riding, fishing, off road driving, cruising the river and picnics in this remote, beautiful area.
Where Is it?: 16 km south of Marrawah, 308 km west of Launceston, 85 km south west of Smithton.
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In The Area
Preminghana, formerly known as Mt. Cameron West, covers an area of 524 hectares and was declared an Indigenous Protected Area in 1999. Most noted for the splendid Tasmanian Aboriginal cave etchings, it is a unique destination for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike. The Preminghana artwork is the finest example of Tasmanian Aboriginal art, and one of the finest displays of hunter/gatherer art in the world. Preminghana is also a popular fishing and 4WD spot.
The Arthur River is one of the State s seven major rivers, but it is the only one which is completely wild, having never been logged, dammed or had a hot fire through the rainforest for almost 650 years. One of the best and most convenient ways to experience the river is on a cruise from the settlement of Arthur River. The MV George Robinson leaves Arthur River daily at 10.00 am and travels upstream for 70 minutes. The cruise includes lunch and a walk in the riverside rainforest, before returning to Arthur River by 3.00 pm.
The Tarkine Wilderness is Tasmania's largest unprotected wilderness area. It is hugely diverse extending from thundering west coast beaches, through giant sand dunes, across rolling button grass plains, to towering eucalypt forests. It hosts the only wilderness landscape dominated by rainforest in Australia. Its rainforests form the largest continuous tract of rainforest in Australia, they being the largest temperate rainforests in Australia.
There is a rich pioneer/exploring history of the Tarkine region, which was regarded as one of Tasmania's toughest and most impenetrable regions. Prospecting and Mining was one of the biggest drawcards to the region for early settlers, with tin mining set up at Balfour, Gold at Corinna, and Tin at Waratah also. Prospectors often searched the rivers in years between 1850 and 1950 quite unsuccessfully.
Just to the south of Arthur River, Gardiner Point has been dubbed The Edge of The world as the sea here stretches uninterrupted all the way to Argentina, 15,000 km away. The sea west of Tasmania is in fact the longest uninterrupted expanse of ocean on the globe. From Argentina the currents known as the roaring 40's sweep unimpeded more than halfway around the planet until they hit this point.
These ocean currents mix with the river flow, creating a washing machine effect. Foaming waves push ancient logs up onto lonely beaches, having been carried by floodwaters up to 100km away down the river from the heart of the Tarkine Wilderness. As a result, five hundred year old forest giants of Tasmanian oak, Blackwood, myrtle, or sassafras, became the foundation of coastal dunes, having laid buried in the sand for perhaps 1000 years. Those near the waterline are revealed by scouring tides from time to time. Some of the timbers scattered across the rocks appear to have been carried across the world from South America with the currents as they are from trees not found on Tasmania's shores but are native to South America.
The Edge of the World is an incredible spot, well worth visiting, the beachfront at sunset is an unforgettable sight. To get there from Arthur River township, cross the bridge and take the second street past it and make your way to the car park at Gardiner Point. A cairn explains the significance of the locality.
Little more than a collection of fishermen s shacks, Temma is one of the most isolated localities in Australia. For around 20 years it was the sea port for the 700 residents of the copper and tin mining town of Balfour after tin was first found in the area in the 1870s. A horse-drawn wooden tramway connecting the town and port. Balfour is one of the most mineralized copper districts in Tasmania; copper workings occur intermittently along a 35km track between the two localities.
The origin of the name Temma is not known. Mary Hopkin's 1969 hit song of the same name is not about this locality. Its name did inspire the song, however, but the songwriter, Philamore Lincoln, states the name was selected randomly from a map while looking for a place name that sounded romantic. "catch a fish and light a fire, drink some wine with me" - it sounds like Temma to me.
The Tarkine region of North West Tasmania contains a number of unique cave systems. There are a series of extraordinary magnesite karst systems, including unique cave and pinnacle formations at Lyons River and the Arthur River-Victory Springs area, including warm springs. These cave systems are not only unique in themselves, but are also home to extraordinary cave dwelling creatures, such as the bizarretroglodyte (cave dwelling spider) and other fascinating creatures.
Trowutta Caves are located south of Smithton, beyond the beautiful Allendale Gardens, Trowutta and Milkshake Hills. The Trowutta Arch track begins soon after the Trowutta Caves State Reserve is reached. A short 10 minute easy well defined walk leads to the park s most interesting geological feature - the Trowutta Arch. The reserve protects an area of sinkholes covered in temperate rainforest full of myrtles, sassafrass, blackwoods, massive manferns and a variety of other ferns.
Don't let the name of this place put you off - going there might have been a dismal experience for the surveyors who named it back in 1828, but for today's visitors it offers a unique eco-tourism adventure. Dismal Swamp is actually a sink hole created over time with the dolomite slab dissolving in the wet area. Early last century its timber was used for making kegs and more recently was on a logging, clearing and draining list. Locals realised its importance and fought to preserve its destruction. In 1976 they had success.
The Circular Head region boasts Tasmania s finest Blackwood swamp forests. Viewing these forests from above and below the canopy of the trees will be possible through the construction of a Visitor Centre and Maze at Dismal Swamp, located 20 km west of Smithton on the Bass Highway.
Enjoy a coffee or light snack at the Visitor Centre where tickets may be purchased for entry to the maze. Either slide or stroll to the maze entrance and lose yourself in the blackwood forest. Try and spot the homes of the small burrowing crayfish. Free picnic and barbecue amenities will be available at the entrance to the Visitor Centre. Opening Autumn 2003, please call 6434 6345 to confirm operating hours.
A hidden gem, Lake Chisholm (60 km west, partly unsealed road) is a flooded limestone sinkhole, one of the many sinkholes in the area, but one of only two filled with water. A gentle half hour return walk meanders through a majestic old myrtle forest to the tranquil waters of the lake. This can be a fantastic photo opportunity, especially in the early morning, so remember to bring your camera.
Tayatea Bridge Picnic Area (38 km south) provides easy access to the Arthur River - a great opportunity to fish, picnic or even launch a raft or kayak and paddle down medium rapids to Kanunnah bridge.
Allendale Gardens (10 km south of Smithton), located on the road to Edith Creek, are an interesting mixture of rainforest, botanic gardens and pleasant walkways. There are 2.5 hectares of landscaped gardens set in 26 hectares of rainforest. Paths weave through lovely tree fern glades, eucalyptus and blackwood trees. In the gardens, 16th and 17th century roses are featured. This is a hidden gem, a beautiful, tranquil and fragrant paradise away from the everyday stress. Here you can take in the tranquillity and silence and the sensory delights of fragrant flowers, roses and the rainforest walk is a delight. Open Open from Tuesday 6th October until the last Saturday in April, 10am until 4pm. Ph (03) 6456 4216. How to get there: At Smithton take the B22 just inside the Smithton town boundary via Irishtown or the C217 two kilometres further on at the roundabout on the Marrawah road.
Milkshakes is a magical picnic spot. Picnic facilities are nestled among the eucalypt and rainforest trees. There are two walks, a basic 10 minute nature walk through the forest which is relatively flat, or you can climb to the top of one of the Milkshake Hills (45 minutes return). Shelters, picnic area and barbecues are available at the car park. A signposted track leads to the lookout on the Milkshakes Hills; a worthwhile climb.
The Milkshakes Forest Reserve free campsite is located app. 26 kilometres to the north of the Julius River campground, some 6 kilomtres south of the Tayatea Bridge. Turn off, follow the well signposted area for just over 3.5 kilometres where you will find this very appealing free camping ground. Make sure you walk through the rainforests on the tracks provided. Please note, this site is not ideally suited for tent-based camping; recommended for campervans, campers, motorhomes and caravans. For further information please contactForesty Tasmania - 03 6452 4900.
How to get there: Travel south from Smithton on the B22 to Edith Creek through excellent, fertile, dairy country. Take the C218 to Kanunnah Bridge over the Arthur River. Travel east via Julius River and the Rapid River Road and follow the signage to the Milkshakes Forest Reserve. Total distance is 80km.
This site has recently been upgraded and has excellent picnic facilities. A half hour return walk winds through the cool temperate rainforest. Interpretive signs provide an insight into the nature of this forest.
Julius River Rainforest Walk: From Milkshakes Hills, continue on to the 30 minute Julius River Rainforest Walk, situated in a beautiful reserve, set in sinkhole country. There are two easy walks into the mossy, myrtle forests, found throughout the Tarkine. BBQ facilities, picnic shelter and a toilet are provided.