As with most travel destinations, visitors to Tasmania, especially those who are on a tight time budget, head for the well-known attractions such as Cradle Mountain, Freycinet National Park (including Wine Glass Bay), and Maria Island. These are top places on the typical traveller’s ‘must do’ list for good reasons – they are all beautiful places that you actually should see.
Of course, Tasmania has many more beautiful places on offer that are also very much worth visiting – one of my favourites of these is Rocky Cape National Park.
Those well-known destinations are highly developed, so when you visit them you’re going to be on clearly-marked, well-made paths, and be quite safe from the risk of getting lost or of being isolated if you have an accident or injure yourself. And you’re certainly going to meet interesting fellow visitors from all over the world… LOTS of them! All this can be good or bad, depending on your point of view and your travel style.
Alternatively, in less-well-known places, such as Rocky Cape National Park, the tracks may be poorly defined and marked, so it’s best to have some basic bushwalking skills; and, having nobody else around, you're on your own if things go wrong. And, when I’m in Rocky Cape National Park, I almost never see anyone except the people that come with me.
Rocky Cape National Park is on the Bass Strait coast of north-west Tasmania, and the scenery in the park is beautiful!
The views all around the park are stunning and diverse, ranging from spectacular coastal scenery, to views of the wild interior of the park and of the surrounding farmland. Here are some of my favourites:
These beautiful little coves aren’t in the national park, but they are on an interesting, rather poorly marked walk, that leads into the park from Boat harbour Beach to the south.
These views are within the park:
Distant views to the North feature the Nut, at Stanley, and views to the South feature Table Cape in the distance. Both of these features are volcanic plugs – the remnants of ancient volcanoes.
Here are some views featuring the Nut:
Here are some views featuring Table Cape:
The waters of Bass Strait
While Bass Strait is ill-reputed for its dangerous rough seas, especially when the Roaring Forties are blowing in from the Indian Ocean, the swell is short lived, as the Strait is a smallish body of water somewhat isolated from the oceans at either end. Once the wind drops, or blows from the south, the water flattens out quickly, producing a glassy, gently rippled surface.
One of these days I’m going to come here with a kayak!
Walking on the beaches
There’re lots of marvellous walks in Rocky Cape National Park – one of longer walking routes is along the coastline. Some of this route is along sandy beaches, and other parts are scrambling along the rocky foreshore and over the points and promontories.
The ancient rocks
Rocky Cape National Park is in a region of Precambrian quartzite and siltstone that is up to a billion years old, which results in many interesting landscape features.
The billion-year-old rocks that form the shoreline of Rocky Cape National Park are steeply tilted, and heavily eroded into sharp edges. The walk along the coast includes getting over these rocks; but the ancient rocks scream out “Don’t walk here”!
This is certainly no place for thongs (flip-flops, jandals)!
There are several small caves around the coastline of the park, which were created by erosion when the sea level was higher. Indigenous Tasmanians used these cave before the European invasion, and they are still culturally significant for them. This one is Lee Archer Cave.
Banksias in the park
Around the eastern end of Rocky Cape National Park there are patches of Banksia serrata forest. Banksia of all sorts have interesting and unusual flowers; here’s a few from around the park at different stages of development:
Walking in the interior of the park
While the most popular walks and sights in the park are along the spectacular coastline, there are walks into the interior of the park, too. The interior of the park is low coastal heath on the poor shallow soil.
Walking in the interior of the park is a serene, peaceful experience; although, you do have to keep an eye out for the tiger snakes that like to sun themselves on the paths!
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