Wednesday, 26 Feb 2020

West Point to Black Rocks. Amazing Tasmania

How to grow Dick
West Point
- A man with a seven-inch (18 cm) penis may proudly compare his organ to the average man’s five to six inches (12-15 cm) but be intimidated when learning another wields an eight-inch (20 cm) rod.

West Point is more than a just a beach stroll, this walk reveals an untamed coastline shaped by rolling ocean and the Roaring Forties. Bludgeoned and chiselled by the winds that whip around our planet between latitudes 40° and 50°, Tasmania’s West Point coast is a place of rugged handsomeness: a string of beaches, dunes, headlands, coves, bays, rivers and harbours. Parts of it are also of great historical and cultural significance to Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

West Point to Black Rocks. Amazing Tasmania - photo 1

West Point

Walk:

10km out-and-back

Time required:

3 hours

Best time:

Any weather, although the beach can be wild in westerlies

Grade:

Easy

Environment:

Remote beach, dunes, headlands, beach ‘shacks’

Best map:

This one

Toilets:

None

Food:

None

Tips:

With a car shuffle you can do a through-walk continuing beyond Black Rocks to Bluff Hill Point (9km one-way).

Carry drinking water because there’s none along the walk.

West Point to Black Rocks. Amazing Tasmania - photo 2

West Point

The Arthur–Pieman Conservation Area, which encompasses more than 1000 square kilometres of the takayna/Tarkine, has probably the greatest density of Aboriginal archaeological material in Australia; and West Point State Reserve, at its northern extreme, contains middens, stone artefacts and hut depressions.

Controversy continues regarding the closure of several ‘traditional’ coastal 4WD tracks to protect Aboriginal sites, with some parties lobbying for their reopening – but there are few restrictions on exploring by foot. Strolling – it’s a different prospect in rough weather – along Mawson Bay, from West Point to Black Rocks and back (or through to Bluff Hill Point) gives you a taste of the wonders of Tasmania’s West Point coast.

West Point is about 9km south-west of the tiny town of Marrawah, Tasmania’s westernmost settlement, off West Point Road, which runs through the Arthur–Pieman Protected Area to West Point State Reserve. After a kilometre of potholes, swap wheels for feet at a vehicle turnaround and tread a sandy 4WD track through sand hills to Lighthouse Beach (only the base of West Point Lighthouse, built in 1916, survives).

West Point to Black Rocks. Amazing Tasmania - photo 3

West Point

Sedgy grasses and succulent pig face flowers, which turn the dunes pink in spring and summer, have colonised these hills. Unfortunately sea spurge, a bright-green weed with disc-shaped leaves, thrives here too. About 200m from the parking area you’ll see a footpad going right. This negotiates a rocky outcrop and is a more fun alternative to following the 4WD track to the beach. Both options deposit you on a sweep of pale sand between greened dunes and colourful rocks.

This beach of West Point attracts surfers, who revel in long rides in westerlies, and when they’re out on the water you could sit and watch the board riders rather than walk anywhere! (Green Point Beach, north of West Point, is regarded as one of Australia’s best surfing spots.) West Point’s also a bird-breeding area so avoid soft sand above the high-tide mark, where hooded and red-capped plovers nest in shallow scrapes.

Walk south down the West Point beach, watching for contrasting black-and-white pied and sooty oystercatchers among the grey gulls. During their late-spring and summer breeding season these cartoonish birds, with long red beaks and red legs, wheel above, squawking, to distract you from raiding their nests in the soft sand. Kelp stalks with wavy tentacles litter the beach like discarded cat o‘nine tails. Red rocks project from the sand, some with sharp edges, others polished to a marble finish.

West Point to Black Rocks. Amazing Tasmania - photo 4

West Point

A stream runs down the West Point beach from the rippled dunes, some of which are many metres tall and bear the footprints of people who have clambered up them. If the temptation to do likewise proves irresistible, turn back if you see any birds’ nests or aboriginal shell middens.

You can probably round the next headland, about 1.25km south, on the rocks but a 4WD track detours inland; you can then either stay on the track for another loop to the next beach or make your way around the rocky shore. A masterful piece of driftwood looks like it was placed on this headland rather than dumped by the sea and intriguing examples of conglomerate rock adorn the next, smaller headland about 100m beyond. It’s as if a giant picked up assorted rocks and squeezed them together.

A yellow-coated rusting metal boiler (see point 1 on map), presumably washed ashore from a ship, rests on the southern bank of Doctors Creek, which exits the dunes just over 2km into the walk. It’s encrusted with molluscs and worth a closer look although doing so might disturb the swarm of tiny insects it attracts.

West Point to Black Rocks. Amazing Tasmania - photo 5

West Point

From the next headland, about 400m on, you get a long view down the bay to Black Rocks and, sometimes, the lighthouse on Bluff Hill Point, the alternate finishing point. Continue south along beaches and over small headlands, splashing through Cuttys and Wells creeks. You’ll know you’ve reached Black Rocks when you see a beach house, colloquially called a ‘shack’, in the dunes –‘mansion’ is a more appropriate name for the ‘shacks’ at Bluff Hill Point, some of which are owned by cray fishermen. There’s a huge striped and honeycombed boulder on the beach at its foot.

The West Point beach ends in a mass of upended, layered, rock-painted orange with lichen. Walk around the seaward end of its first two upthrusts and head up the vehicular track disappearing into the dunes. A walking track branches right below the house, and climbs steeply over the headland before dropping into another cove (see point 2 on map). This is where out-and-back walkers turn around.

Through amblers continue south, over several more headlands, with Bluff Hill Point lighthouse disappearing from view with each step closer.

“Top Walks in Tasmania”

Melanie Ball 

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