• Sam Wilson

Photographing North West Tasmania Wilderness

Totally Out Of My Comfort Zone

Travelling Interstate, off the mainland even - first time on a plane in over two years - how surreal was that!?!

It is really difficult to adequately describe this incredible area - think rainforests, but then add the most rugged and wild coastline’s I have ever seen - it has gorgeous mossy, fern-filled walks, giant trees, waterfalls, wild beaches - and you barely see another soul!

So, at the beginning of March I did a photography tour in this amazing region, and I was so excited to visit the rainforest. I had envisioned wet, foggy forests but unfortunately this is not what we experienced. Tasmania was almost in a drought when we visited, and although still incredibly beautiful, I’m almost ashamed to admit, I was incredibly disappointed.

There were a number of things I struggled with on this tour that didn’t help -

  • My L-Bracket (a rather important piece of gear for me) fell apart which meant I really couldn’t shoot portrait photos after the first couple of days, something I often do.

  • Forests really are messy! While I love and am familiar with photographing waterfalls with their messiness, trying to find nice shots in the midst of so much chaos really was a challenge that put me well and truly out of my comfort zone.

The beautiful but 'messy' path at Trowuta Arch

Funny I know to complain about clear blue skies every day, and yes I felt very ungrateful, but that’s how it was. I had built up such high expectations that it was probably impossible to live up to.

So now that my whinging is out of the way, and I’ve had a few weeks to reflect, and process my images with refreshed eyes, let's travel through this wonderful part of the world with my experiences and photos.

At the risk of sounding cliche, the coastline is incredibly spectacular. While I live on the coast and regularly shoot seascapes, these were truly something else - incredibly beautiful in their rawness.

The Edge Of The World - yes, this is what it's really called

Trowutta Arch

Being a 40-45min drive from Stanley, this is not a hugely popular walk, but oh so worth it - a superb peaceful walk through old growth forest to a remarkable natural feature that has been created over many hundred years.

The ‘Arch’ was apparently formed by the collapse of a cave. The roof fell in and left this beautiful section showing the ‘sink hole’. Apparently it normally has much more water in it, but it was still something like I’d never seen before.

Needless to say, the walk in and out was in itself so peaceful and enchanting - reasonably flat, you were surrounded by mosses, fungi, ferns, and rainforest canopy the whole way.

Stanley - ‘The Nut’

Stanley is a lovely little town that is apparently known for it’s well preserved colonial buildings, but to be honest I didn’t really get to appreciate those - on this tour it was all about ‘The Nut’.

Research explains that this is the remains of an ancient volcanic plug with a large, mostly flat surface that you can climb, or apparently catch a chair lift to the top in the right season.

This we didn’t do, although we did photograph it from a few different vantage points, and it’s plain to see why it is what this town is most famous for!

You May Not Be Able To See The Wind In This Photo But I Can Still Feel It From This Morning!

I was intrigued as to why it was called ‘The Nut’ and this is what research explained -

“The Nut was first called Circular Head when it was discovered by Bass & Flinders in 1798. The region that surrounds the Nut has since been called Circular Head. It depends who you talk to on the origin of the name the Nut. Some say it is a shortened version of the Aboriginal name for it which was Moo-Nut-Re-Ker. Some also say the name came from when the breakwater was built in 1892. The side of the Nut was packed with explosives to construct the breakwater, once detonated nothing happened and no rocks fell from the side of the Nut. Apparently most of the crowd that gathered to watch the event, agreed that is was a “Hard Nut to Crack”.” - Info courtesy of https://stanleyandtarkine.com.au/

Lake Chisholm

This was another lovely walk, similar to the Trowutta Arch walk but once again we were ‘plagued’ (pun intended) with clear bright blue skies, hence the sky not included in this photo.

A beautiful easy walk with lots of distractions along the way.

Edge Of The World

So called because it is the starting point of the longest uninterrupted stretch of ocean in the world. This was taken as the last light hit these rocks not long before sunset. This photo doesn't really show it, but it's part of an incredibly wild and rugged coastline right up the top of northwest Tasmania - a simply breathtaking area.

If You Look Closely You Can See The Moon In The Sky, But If You Look Really Close, You Can Also See It Reflected In The Little Pool Just To The Right Of The Rocks In The Foreground.

After The Sun Went Down

Dip Falls & The Big Tree - Seriously, who names these things?!?

These were an unexpected bonus for me and the falls were well worth the 240 stairs to the bottom to view.

These Are Unusual Falls As The Water Flows Over Basalt Rock Formed Thousands Of Years Ago

Note To Self - Don't Let Your Friend Take A Wide Angle Photo Of You If You Don't Want

To End Up Looking Like Gumby!

Corinna - Pieman & Savage River

Now this was a huge day! A 3hour drive from our accommodation followed by a lovely boat cruise down to Pieman Heads. We were able to walk from the boat to the edge of the ocean for lunch. It was only a short visit and I chose to just enjoy the vista without getting the camera out.

Late night breakfast - there were times when I forgot the area that we were actually staying in and this was one of them. We were leaving at 6am the next day, and there really wasn’t anywhere to stop for breakfast between our accommodation and the river cruise over 3hrs away.

The accommodation we were staying at ended up taking out breakfast orders at dinner and delivered them at 9pm the night before - very helpful. Although I do have to say it was hard to really have breakfast at 5.30am!

A New Take On Room Service

I did take some photos along the way on the boat but I guess they’ll have to wait until another day to be shared.

We drove back up to Marrawah for dinner before heading out to our last sunset not too far away. The drive back was via the Western Explorer - 120km dirt road - we didn’t see any buildings and hardly any other vehicles for most of it, and this was another fabulous reminder of just how remote and special this area is.

One Of The Many Vantage Points You Can Climb Up - But Be Careful, These Rocks Were Super Sharp

I’d like to end this post with a big thank you to Cam Blake for being an absolute legend hosting this tour - he was definitely not responsible for the clear blue skies and drought, and did everything he could to get us to the best locations throughout the tour. He offers a number of tours in Tasmania and beyond so be sure to check him out here - https://www.camblakephotography.com.au/

And so concluded the photography tour.

Before heading home a day trip to Cradle Mountain was in order. It really cannot be missed on any tour to Tasmania - I even saw a wombat!

Oh Look - Another Sunny Day With Beautiful Blue Skies

That’s it for now - Keep smiling and stay caffeinated

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