Walks to include in your West Coast road-trip.
If you’re planning a memorable road trip along the picturesque West Coast of Tasmania, don’t miss the opportunity to visit these towns and National Parks. Starting at Rocky Cape (OK, not technically on the West Coast) and allow time to include these walks. Also, added in a “must do” cruise and rail journey.
Rocky Cape National Park
Distance: from Launceston 2hr 30min/188km.
This national park is a nature lover’s paradise with diverse landscapes and captivating walks. Here’s your guide to making the most of your visit:
- Banksia Grove/Caves Circuit (Approx. 1.6km – 1 hour return): Begin your adventure at the Sisters Beach boat ramp, following a well-defined track into the heath-covered hills. Discover Banksia Grove, home to spectacular saw banksias with large cylindrical flowers that eventually transform into unique seed capsules. These capsules are reminiscent of the “bad banksia men” famously featured in May Gibbs’ stories. Continue along the link track towards the coast to find Lee Archer Cave, an Aboriginal shelter perched dramatically above the rocky shoreline. Please be respectful and stay on the designated platform to protect the midden material. Afterward, descend to Wet Cave and then make your way back to the boat ramp via a short rock-hop.Banksia Grove, Rocky Cape N.P. – Image credit Tourism Tasmania, Jess Bonde
- Postman’s Track (Approx. 2.1km one way – 1 hour, 2.5 hours return): Named after the historical postal delivery route, this track circles the easternmost section of the park near Sisters Beach. It begins near Lake Llewellyn, climbing east into the wooded hills known as the Two Sisters. Enjoy sweeping views of Walkers Cove before returning to the eastern end of Sisters Beach. You can choose to leave cars at each end for a comfortable walk or opt for a longer circuit by continuing along the beach until you reach the road.
- Rocky Cape Circuit (Approx. 10km – 2.5 hours return): This scenic walk starts from the Pinmatik/Rocky Cape area and winds through heath-covered hills, offering extensive coastal views. Don’t miss the side track to Tinkers Lookout (291m) for breathtaking vistas. The trail is surrounded by a variety of flowering plants and shrubs, including the spectacular Christmas bells in spring and summer. To complete the circuit, follow Blandfordia Spur towards the coast and take a left turn after Tinkers Lookout. Access to the coast can be found via the side track to Cathedral Rock, and return inland via Postman’s Pass.
Distance – from Rocky Cape NP 50min/60km
Explore Stanley Town: While in the area, take some time to explore the charming town of Stanley. Its well-preserved cottages and public buildings create a nostalgic atmosphere. The self-guided Stanley Heritage Walk is a delightful way to delve into the town’s architecture, history, and culture. Don’t forget to visit the Highfield Historic Site, which harks back to the 1830s, when the chief agent of the Van Diemen’s Land Company built this Regency-era property on a vast farm. The Stanley Discovery Museum, staffed by volunteers, offers fascinating insights into the area’s history and stories.
Stanley Village. Image Credit Tourism Tasmania, Adrian Cook.
The Nut State Reserve: No visit to Stanley is complete without exploring The Nut State Reserve. This iconic geological formation rises dramatically from Bass Strait and provides outstanding views over the town, across Bass Strait, and towards Rocky Cape National Park. You can take a scenic walk to the summit of The Nut or hop aboard the chairlift for panoramic views. Once atop the summit, explore the plateau on foot via the scenic circuit walk. The reserve is not only a visual wonder but also a haven for nature enthusiasts. It protects endangered species and provides essential breeding sites for various birds.
Distance – from Stanley 1hr 10min/85km
The Edge of the World: As you continue your journey along the West Coast, make sure to stop at Arthur River. Here, you can stand at the “Edge of the World” and inhale some of the freshest air on the planet. The Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area, stretching from the Arthur River in the north to the Pieman River in the south, offers a glimpse into the ancient homelands of the North-West Aboriginal people, who have lived in this region for at least 35,000 years. Explore the vast middens, hut depressions, and rock art that bear witness to this powerful, cultural landscape.
Edge of the World. Image credit – Tourism Tasmania, Sean Scott.
Strahan & Gordon River.
Distance – from The Edge of the World 3hr 30min/200km
World Heritage Cruise, Gordon River. Image credit – Tourism Australia, WHC
Discovering the Wilderness on the award-winning Gordon River Cruise. Departing from Strahan, this cruise takes you deep into the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The cruise on the purpose-built Spirit of the Wild is a serene experience powered by electric motors. Sail across Macquarie Harbour to Hell’s Gates, the narrow entrance into the Southern Ocean. Continue to the Gordon River, where you’ll have the best chance to witness the famous reflections, especially on the first cruise of the day aboard Spirit of the Wild. Step ashore at Heritage Landing and take a walk through the rainforest to see ancient Huon Pines. You’ll also have the opportunity to disembark at Sarah Island, a 19th-century penal colony, and hear captivating stories of the convicts who toiled there.