North West Tasmania
From the city of Burnie with its industrial heritage and busy port, the Bass Highway follows the coast westward, almost always within sight of Bass Strait.
Massive bluffs nudge out into the sea Table Cape, just beyond Wynyard, flat-topped and fertile, with flowering tulips carpeting its fields in spring; Rocky Cape, with its native orchids, bushwalks and sea cliffs; and Circular Head, where the historic village of Stanley snuggles up against the steep-sided Nut. Along the way, you'll drive through rich farmland, where dairy cattle graze, crops flourish, and the freshly-ploughed chocolate soil looks good enough to eat.
At Boat Harbour and Sisters Beach, green fields sweep down to the water. Beyond Rocky Cape, the view west is dominated by The Nut. Stanley was established in the early days of the colony as the base for the Van Diemen's Land Company's grazing operations in the far north west. Its fishing and farming history is echoed in the village's sturdy stone cottages, and in the graceful facade of Highfield, built in 1832 for the company's Governor and agents.
Continue west to Smithton, centre for the region's productive agricultural and thriving forestry operations. From here, a southern loop takes you through the rich dairy lands of Edith Creek and deep into the tall forests of the north west, before returning to the coast.
On the far north west tip is the historic property of Woolnorth. Land's end is Cape Grim, where sea air, tested as the world's cleanest, sweeps in from the Roaring Forties.
At Marrawah, swells from the Southern Ocean crash endlessly on West Coast sand. To the south on unsealed roads is the entrance of Arthur River, where a river cruise takes you to see a sea eagle.