Wow, this is an amazing part of the world. And to see the damage the 2016 bushfires made is sad, but it also gives hope with all the new growth colouring the charred trunks.
I attempted this in a day, although, if you are doing lots of walks, I'd recommend two days. I knew I wouldn't be doing too many hikes with the kids so chose carefully and drove a lot. It is a long day of driving, but so entrancing.
The drive there is fun too - thin bitumen roads winding their way through farmland. Bales of hay, cows and random chickens dot the rolling hills. Only the chickens notice the car as they flap away from the sides of the road as I pass. The highway is not much different to the country roads. It is a fraction wider, has a white line painted in the middle, and I can pass another vehicle without pulling off the road. Not that there are many cars on the road.
The Tarkine Dive itself has just over twenty attractions - lookouts, bridges, walks and sink holes. Walks range from easy 15 minute strolls to 5-6 hour coastal hikes.
Trowutta Arch is an easy 15-minute stroll on a path through the rainforest. The floor is carpeted with moss, fallen trees and tree roots. At the end of the path is Trowutta Arch, the entrance to a water-filled sinkhole - a collapsed cave. One of the mossy rocks makes the perfect canvas to sketch your name. It entertained my artistic Belle while Ashton threw rocks into the water, measuring the 'plops' as they hit - as boys do.
And the wildlife? Loud talk of leeches, the excitement of finding Cicada shells and 'testing' if the forest carries a coo-ee make sure we don't see any wildlife. Thankfully, we are the only tourists here, so we aren't ruining the quiet serenity for others.
Next is a drive through the burnt out area. An area that clashes with the general lush Tarkine elsewhere, where forest kisses each side of the road. These trees are now separated by the sky, little puffs of new green growth smothering the trunks. Burnt, spindly dead sticks stick up in between. Will it ever be the same?
After a late lunch stop at Julia's River, where we walked another 30 minute round forest track (which probably only took us 20 with after lunch energy) I headed towards the coast. Another contrast.
Driving the road up to the coast, all I could see was barren farmland with nothing able to be grown. It's not windy today, but I can imagine the wind blasting in off the wild ocean. I mean, there is nothing between here and 15,000km of ocean to Patagonia on the south coast of America. Roaring 40's winds of up to 200km have been recorded here!
I'd love to stop and do some of the hike out to the ocean, but it's raining, and the kids are tired. So I don't.
But I do stop at Edge of the World in Arthur River. And it looks jut like its name, if not a very pretty version. Waves pound in as far as I can see, huge logs have been tossed on every rocky outcrop of the coastline, and the tumbleweed sits sideways.
It's here that Ashton decides to sprint up to a rocky ledge to see what he and see. I see him running, and my heart stops, I go to scream, then he stops. And sits down. And calmly watches. Heart pounding I go over to him and see what he's looking at. And below him is a drop of over 5 metres. Argh. At least he knew what he was doing.
I'm calling it a day... back to Stanley for fish and chips. Now I'm tired.
I saw (somewhere) it's about 135km drive, but when you are twisting and turning, of course, it takes a lot longer. In some sections allow 15 minutes for 15km.