In contrast to Stanley, its sleepy neighbour, Smithton is a busy little place, being the regional centre of one of Tasmania’s most productive fishing, beef, dairying and potato growing areas. It is home to timber mills, the state’s largest dairy produce factory, Duck River oysters.

The Apex Lookout (Massey Street) on Tier Hill, behind the town, gives a full panorama of the Duck River estuary and offshore islands.

Where Is it?

135 km north west of Devonport, 86 km north west of Burnie, 22 km west of Stanley, 50 km north west of Marrawah, 240 km north west of Launceston.

Visitor Centre

Tarkine Forest Adventures, Bass Hwy, Smithton. Ph (03) 6456 7199

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Things To See And Do

Don’t be put off by some of the names in the area – like Cape Grim and Dismal Swamp. There is nothing grim or dismal about the extreme north west corner of Tasmania, which can be explored with ease when using Smithton as your base. The Bureau of Meteorology has measured the air here as the cleanest the world and you’d can help believing the local farmers when they say the grass their cows feed on is the greenest in the country.

The area’s famed dairy industry can be inspected at the Lacrum Dairy at Mella (6 km). It is possible to watch the afternoon milking session and to taste some of the cheeses produced. Contact (03) 6452 2322 for more details.


Woolnorth (40 km) is located near the northwest extremity of Tasmania on Cape Grim where the Great Southern Ocean and the Roaring Forties collide with Bass Strait. It is still owned by the Van Diemen’s Land Company which acquired the land in 1825. It is the last Royal Charter Company in the world. Visitors can explore the 22,000 hectare property on full day and half day guided tours, taking in the old farm buildings, the wind farm and Cape Grim, where large turbines harness energy from the Roaring Forty winds.

Tarkine Wilderness

The Tarkine Wilderness is 350,000 hectares in size. It is hugely diverse extending from thundering west coast beaches, through giant sand dunes, across rolling button grass plains, to towering eucalypt forests and into lush temperate rainforests.

Dismal Swamp

The somewhat inappropriately named Dismal Swamp (32 km south west) is a natural blackwood forest sinkhole, believed to be the only one in the world. Formed over thousands of years by dissolving dolomite, the 40 metre deep sinkhole is a unique forest habitat supporting a range of plant and animal species. From the visitors centre, guests are able to stroll down the 40m to the floor, take a gentle buggy ride or take a 110m slide to discover the delights of swamp fertility. Two kilometres of meandering pathways lead to a maze. Decaying logs provide a nursery for baby blackwood trees and tiny burrowing crayfish are evident in their important role in the survival of the area.

Surrounding Area

Hunter Island Group

Hunter Island (Muttonbird Reserve), Three Hummock Island, Robbins Island, Albatross Island (Wildlife Sanctuary) and Walker Island are the most visited of the Hunter Island Group, which is offshore from Smithton. Hunter Island shows evidence of 23 000 years of continuous occupation by Aboriginal people and has been inhabited by non-Aboriginal people for approximately 170 years.

Three Hummock Island has been described as a coastal wonderland. It has dozens of beaches, some magnificent with breakers and sand dunes, others as small as 20 metres, protected by jutting granite boulders and seething in life. The eastern and northern coasts of Robbins Island offer a variety of sights and wildlife. There are hills, cliffs, rolling paddocks, a lagoon, sand dunes, and surf beaches and a six square km inlet that dries entirely twice a day with every low tide.

Milkshake Hills Forest Reserve

South Forest Drive

South Arthur Forest Drive (130 km round trip to end and back) gives access to a number forest reserves. Milkshakes Hills Forest Reserve (45 km south) features a mix of of button grass (which turns the creeks a tea colour) and virgin temperate rainforest. There are two walks, a basic 10 minute nature walk through the forest which is relatively flat, or you can climb to the top of one of the Milkshake Hills (45 minutes return).

Sumac Lookout has expansive views over the Arthur River and forests. Like Milkshakes Hills, Julius River Forest Reserve is a popular camping spot, with a toilet, picnic shelter and wood barbeque. A half hour return walk winds through the cool temperate rainforest. Interpretive signs provide an insight into the nature of this forest.

Lake Chisholm

A hidden gem, Lake Chisholm is a flooded limestone sinkhole, one of the many sinkholes in the area, but one of only two filled with water. A gentle half hour return walk meanders through a majestic old myrtle forest to the tranquil waters of the lake. This can be a fantastic photo opportunity, especially in the early morning, so remember to bring your camera.
Tayatea Bridge Picnic Area (38 km south) privides easy access to the Arthur River provides a great opportunity to fish, picnic or even launch a raft or kayak and paddle down medium rapids to Kanunnah bridge.

Allendale Gardens (10 km south), located on the road to Edith Creek, are an interesting mixture of rainforest, botanic gardens and pleasant walkways. There are 2.5 hectares of landscaped gardens set in 26 hectares of rainforest. Paths weave through lovely tree fern glades, eucalyptus and blackwood trees. In the gardens, 16th and 17th century roses are featured.

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