Arthur Pieman

Where: Arthur Pieman Conservation Area
Permits: $30 Recreational Driver Permit (includes free DVD on the area)
Costs: Camping $13 p/n plus permits for accessing 4WD tracks
Difficulty: Hard and unpredictable
Days required to do it justice: 3+ days

There’s nothing better than stumbling across a travel destination which unexpectedly blows you away. For our last weekend in Tasmania we decided to head out to the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area on the West Coast. We only really went there as we had some time to kill before our ferry back to the mainland and as soon as we arrived we were wishing we’d come here months ago. This place is 4Wd-ing heaven. But even if you don’t have a fourbie, there’s heaps of two wheel drive graded tracks leading to some absolutely spectacular scenery. Its windswept, its wild and its really stunning.

Sand flag at the ready at Arthur Pieman

Sand flag at the ready at Arthur Pieman

Arthur Pieman Conservation Area stretches for over 100,000Ha from the Arthur River in the north to the Pieman River in the south. It is an enchanting place with significant Aboriginal history and shell midden sites are visible in many spots across the reserve. We sighed a little when the (friendly) ranger told us we needed to pay $30 for a Recreational Drivers Pass to be able to drive on any tracks in the area (this includes an information DVD). Once we got out there though we knew what we’d paid for. The tracks in Arthur Pieman’s are always changing. They are affected by rain, tide, quicksand and shifting sands and no two days are ever identical. Due to a high rate of accidents and vehicles losses (in tides/quicksand) the DVD tries its best to prepare you for what you can expect. Sea foam, driftwood, muddy bog holes, high winds and shifting sands were just some of the hazards we came across.

Arthur's Beach. We turned back shortly after this due to the sea foam

Arthur’s Beach. We turned back shortly after this due to the sea foam as a result of last night’s storm

We attempted the drive along Arthur’s Beach to Sundown Point and after a great wander through sand dune country were halted by a stormy ocean which had pushed sea foam up all over the beach making it impossible to see a clear path through. From there we erred on the side of caution and meandered down the coast on a mixture of 2WD and 4WD tracks to the first sections of the Sandy Cape Track.  The frustrating part for us is that this place is so remote that, for safety reasons, you really need more than one vehicle with you on most of the tracks. We loved what we saw and will be back (with friends!) to explore some more.


Bogs on the start of the Sandy Cape track


Some of these bogs were quite deep


We only did the start of the Sandy Cape Track. Its renowned for eating cars in the quicksand so is best travelled in convoy


Bit blowy!


Ancient Aboriginal rock etchings at Sundown Point. They are quite difficult to spot.


Stunning coastal views on Arthur’s Beach


The beaches are covered with driftwood that is swept in during the (many) big swells that occur on Tasmania’s West Coast


Not a soul around on our Arthur Pieman drive





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