Discover the Tarkine

Tarkine walk (coastal) – Arthur River Coast

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This exceptional coastal walk will take you from the mouth of the Arthur River to the Bluff Hill Lighthouse. Whilst easy with very little change in elevation, this is a long walk, requiring energy and time. For shorter walks you may wish to turn around at Church Rock, or start from the other end and walk from the Lighthouse down to the coast. There is a clearly defined four wheel drive track or you may choose to make your way around the coast on the beaches, headlands and rocks.

Head along the northern bank of the Arthur River toward the river mouth. One of the unique features of this walk is the strewn logs which create a jumble of ancient timber beside the bank of the river. Once around the headland, the beach opens up and you will see the power of the Tarkine coast and its waves pounding against Australia Rock. Keep on the wet sand to help protect the shorebirds and enjoy the company of Pied Oystercatchers.

This walk just gets better as the most beautiful tiny bays and archipelagos are surrounded by delicate succulents, shells and salt loving plants. Soft grass tussocks and bull kelp cling to every crevice in the craggy rocks.

Continue heading northward to Bluff Hill Point. After a gentle rise at the next headland you will be rewarded by the sight of Church Rock. This is an amazing place; towering primeval rocky outcrops create a mystical and cathedral like presence. Here on a calm day there is a lovely little bay at the base of Church Rock suitable for a refreshing dip. As you tread on the stone shingles imagine the Tarkiner people and other tribal bands walking the same path collecting foods, laughing, playing and enjoying their paradise.

Carry on through the heath lands toward the Bluff Hill Lighthouse. Listen for local bird life including wedge-tailed eagles feeding on the many carrion of the native grasslands. A twilight or dusk walk will reward you a viewing of the many wombats, wallabies and Tasmanian devils who continue to make this place their home.

Gently climb toward Bluff Hill Point and be amazed by the rugged beauty of this place; a natural acropolis where dramatic outcrops rise from the delicate foliage. Stay for a while and enjoy this striking native landscape. Once at the lighthouse enjoy the view south along this unique part of the Tarkine coast with Mt Balfour and the Norfolk Range in the distance.

This is a wonderfully gratifying day walk showcasing the diversity and power of the Tarkine coast. Be sure to take plenty of drinking water and allow enough time to explore this rare coastal wilderness.

How to get there:

The Arthur River Coast walk starts from the Arthur River Bridge. Park your car at the gravel car park on the eastern side of the bridge.

Walk: 16 km, retrace or 8 km one way
Time required: including breaks and photo opportunities, 6 hours return, 3 hours one way
Best time to visit: suited to all seasons, will be boggy in some parts during wet periods
Grade: long, easy
Environment: beach, bays, headlands, moorlands, grasslands and estuary
Map references: Tasmap, 1:25 000 Bluff and 1:100 000 Nelson Bay
Last review date: February 2010