Arthur River, Tas: Destination Guide

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Head to the 'Edge of the World' to experience a true wilderness adventure filled with dramatic scenery and challenging 4WD opportunities.

Read on to discover the best things to see and do in Arthur River, or find and book accommodation in Arthur River today.

About Arthur River

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Arthur River is both a river and a tiny community of 120 hardy souls; just 85km from Stanley, the provincial capital of the North West, the township remains dauntingly isolated even in the 21st century, an island upon an island. The last Tasmanian tiger was captured near Arthur River in the 1920s.

A single-lane bridge in 1968 brought increased recreation to the coast. Arthur River’s modern-day raison d’etre is tourism and as the northern gateway to the Arthur-Pieman wilderness beyond the river. The village is well served with accommodation and facilities for visitors – an outstanding information centre and Tasmania Parks and Wildlife office, grocery stores that supply hot takeaway food, a six-acre cabin/caravan park, holiday units, a riverfront lodge and three national park camping areas.

Things to do in Arthur River

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With its storm-lashed shoreline, densely forested ranges and brooding rivers, Tasmania’s western edge is ideal for wilderness adventure and no place is better suited than Arthur River. Those features which obstructed explorers, created hardship for pioneers and isolated it from the rest of the island, are now the town’s most valuable assets, truly putting it at The Edge of the World.

Despite its dramatic environment, or perhaps because of it, Arthur River is an ideal base for exploring the nearby Tarkine wilderness, by foot, boat or 4WD. At Couta Rocks, the 2WD-friendly Western Explorer (aka ‘the road to nowhere’) veers inland to climb a plateau across rolling heathlands, button grass plains and the headwaters of several rivers to reach Corinna, nestled in rainforest on the northern bank of the Pieman River.

Attractions

Gardiner Point Lookout

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Gardiner Point is a spit of land jutting into the mouth of Arthur River from its southern bank. Its jagged rocks, projecting obliquely from a sandy base, are painted vivid orange with lichen. They hold back a low, sandy dune mantled with tussock and saltbush, now laid almost horizontal by a freshening gale. Wedged in clefts among the rocks lie skeletons of once-proud trees and other storm-blown debris bleached white by salt and sun. Gardiner Point is quite literally ‘The Edge of the World’. At the lookout, a stone cairn has a plaque embossed with a poem with that title by local tourism pioneer Brian Inder, which describes this remote place as “the Shore of Eternity…washed by the Ocean of Time.”

Arthur River Coast Track

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The Arthur River Coast track provides a gratifying day walk connecting the estuary to Bluff Hill Lighthouse 8km to the north via a series of beaches, bays, headlands, moorlands and grasslands. While it’s an easy trail with little change in elevation, it never fails to enthral walkers with the drama of the Tarkine coast, beautiful in any season. For shorter walks, the cathedral-like Church Rock, near the river end, is a convenient turn-around point, or a carpark at the other end leads directly to the lighthouse and panoramic views of craggy headlands and rugged in-shore archipelagos.

Arthur River Cruises

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The M.V. George Robinson and the M.V. Reflections ferry passengers about 15km upstream to the Arthur/Frankland River junction, through a spectacular riparian landscape in which ancient rainforest crowds down to the river’s edge. Both services include a 2-hour lunch stop at private landings with walking trails into dense wilderness forests of myrtles, sassafras, celery-top pine, laurels, blackwood and giant tree ferns. This is the habitat of platypus, quolls and pademelons, black cockatoos, azure kingfishers and majestic white-bellied sea-eagles.

Getting to Arthur River

Arthur River is a small township located in the northern part of Tasmania’s West Coast.

By car

Arthur River is easily reached by car from both Devonport and Launceston. From Launceston, Arthur River is a 290km journey west along the Bass Highway, while from Devonport, it’s only a 197km trip, also along the Bass Highway.

When to visit Arthur River

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Here at the ‘Edge of the World’ there are four distinctly different seasons to enjoy. With the most daylight hours of any region during summer, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the warm days, long twilights and jam-packed events calendar. And don’t be put off by Tassie’s frosty reputation in winter; you’ll be surprised by the crisp, clear days and fresh air – just don’t forget your jumper!  While autumn and spring are cool, mellow seasons full of colour and vibrancy, and the best time to see Arthur River and its surroundings in full bloom.

Where to stay in Arthur River

Discover more accommodation options in and around Arthur River.