Travelogue: Western Wilds (Part 3)

My mum saw The Nut on our first day in Tasmania. She picked it in the distance as we trundled along the north coast. I didn’t see it until we rounded a corner on the Stanley Highway and beheld the sweetest seaside town, ripped straight out of a Victorian novel.

The Nut is a huge landform at the end of the spit that takes you out to Stanley. Think of it as a mountain with the top cut off, leaving a flattish surface covered in scrub and grasses. The Nut shelters a crescent of beach as blue as you’ll ever see, and nestled on its slopes are cottages, shops, a pub and plenty of fishing paraphernalia.

A very eccentric young man from a shop selling cardigans and whiskey pointed us towards our accommodation: a semi-detached historic cottage with a bright red door, with which my mum promptly fell in love. We went for a stroll, flopped for a bit, then braved the elements in search of dinner.

You can imagine this is a very popular holiday spot for Tasmanians. As Avoca is to Sydney, so Stanley is to Launceston. I think. Which is why we considered ourselves fortunate to snag a booking at Hursey’s, a well-reviewed seafood bistro serving local fruits de mer. By the end of dinner, I was up to my elbows in lobster and lemon juice, and grinning from ear to ear. My mum too.

The wind and rain whipped the roof all night, but in the morning there was enough sunshine (in fifteen-minute bouts, alternating with drizzle) for me to consider climbing The Nut and taking a look around. The short ascent is one of the steepest I’ve seen and the wind wasn’t with me – but it was worth it for the view of blue-green offshore waves against the background of historic weatherboard churches and a dairy farm.

As the rain set in, I was on my way back down to rejoin my mum and continue the journey. Having heard about Marrawah, a famed surf spot and home to The Marrawah Tavern (a must-see according to Kerrie from Strahan), we headed west again. Cows, milking sheds, lots of twists and turns, we ventured over the hills and far away, eventually arriving at yet another sublime coastal vista.

The publican was in a real flap on account of a group of 14 motorcyclists who’d all turned up and ordered steaks, so we skipped lunch and just had a bev before adjourning to our final overnight destination: the Blythe River Boathouse at Heybridge. Read all about it in the next (and final) instalment of our adventures in the Western Wilds!

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