Dismal, grim and devil are not words you may type into Google to search for your next holiday. They usually conjure up bleak, dark thoughts. That is until you visit Cape Grim, which has astounding views and the cleanest air on the planet. Welcome to the north-west of Tasmania where close-up encounters in the wild are guaranteed.
Where is Cape Grim
Cape Grim is in Tasmania’s far north-west and is surrounded by rugged coastline and some of the most pristine wilderness in Tasmania.
Matthew Flinders mapped the cape in 1798 while sailing on the Norfolk.
Victory Hill on Cape Grim was where four European shepherds massacred 30 Pennemukeer aboriginals in 1828.
Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station
It’s home to the Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station, which was built in 1976 as a joint venture between the CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
The station is part of a network of 25 atmospheric stations around the world built to focus on taking measurements to assess climate change.
Scientists record carbon readings, surface ozone, chlorofluorocarbons and aerosols six times a year.
The station also records rainfall, air pressure, wind speed and direction.
It can also measure the solar radiation caused by ozone depletion to report the amount of harmful UV-B in the atmosphere.
The air samples date back to 1976 and could hold the key to coming on with a solution to the effects of climate change.
Cape Grim Beef
Tasmania may be well-known for its stunning scenery and wildlife, but its far northwestern corner is best known for its beef.
Cape Grim is a destination with the Southern Ocean swells, plenty of rain and the world’s cleanest air.
It rains 187 days in the year and as the air is so pure, Cape Grim receives some of the purest rainwater in the world.
This makes the region one of the best places to graze cattle.
Cape Grim Beef represents Tasmanian beef farmers throughout Tasmania committed to ethical practices to grow cattle without causing harm to Tasmania’s environment.
So if you’re heading to Tasmania, one of the top things to do is to taste the beef, which is grass-fed, free of hormone growth promotants (HGPs) and antibiotics.
Cape Grim Tour
By Danielle Lancaster
Tasmanian Devils are soft and cute (except when they are eating, then it’s a different story)!
Cape Grim is an amazing landscape producing some of the finest seafood and beef.
Of all the things to do in Tasmania, adventurous explorers will love the tours in Cape Grim and Tasmania’s north-west.
Base yourself at Smithton, the commercial hub of Tasmania’s north-west.
This is the gateway to the Tarkine and from here explore this remarkable corner of Australia’s southernmost and smallest state.
Nigel, our guide on a Woolnorth Property Tour tells us the property – the largest dairy enterprise in Australasia – is home to an estimated 3,000 Tasmanian devils (high on my bucket list to see), 2,000 quolls and 72 turbines generating 10% of Tasmania’s power and where we’ll breathe the purest air.
This is all within 10 minutes of being with Nigel.
The facts keep rolling and the day commences its adventure.
Nige (as he prefers to be called) and his wife Laura run Woolnorth Tours and offer visitors an enlightening introduction to Australia’s most southern state’s wild west.
Woolnorth, once approximately 141, 000 hectares, was established under a Royal Charter in 1825 when Tasmania was called Van Diemen’s Land.
‘You know the charter still exists today. The property is smaller now covering more than 20, 000 hectares and primarily focused on dairy. 13 diaries average milking 1000 and 1500 head,’ says Nige.
Take the property tour – these are offered as various packages and can be tailored with prior consultation – and you’re led to more than dairy cows.
You’ll stand under one of the soaring 60m high turbines of Hydro Tasmania’s first wind farm.
The blades continually rotate providing power for Tasmanians.
Each turbine is taller than Wrest Point Casino’s 15 stories and generates power for up to 500 homes around Tasmania.
The ‘breeze’ reaches land uninterrupted from Patagonia some 20,000km away.
There’s an information centre and lookout with engineering, indigenous, wildlife signboards and displays.
The next stop is the rugged cliffs leading to Cape Grim and the Baseline Air Pollution Station.
You can’t get up close and touch the monitoring station at Cape Grim but you can see it whirling and examining your exact current air intake.
‘Now you can really breathe in deep,’ Nige says.
Below three crayfish boats shelter up against the dramatic cliff faces.
Islands eroded by millions of years dot the seascape and bays reveal blow holes and secluded beaches.
It’s a magical vista and we take some time to sit and really appreciate the view.
From here Nige takes us to the Director’s Residence on Woolnorth via some of the station’s original buildings.
We have a cuppa, check out the memorabilia and watch the clouds travel rapidly across the sky before taking the short walk from the residence to the lookout for sunset.
Standing on mainland Tasmania’s northwesternmost point and watching the sun go down has got to be one of the best things to experience on earth.
What makes it even better is seeing devils in the wild while walking back to the homestead.
I almost missed my first sighting.
Nige pulled me back by my jacket and not whispering a word he pointed straight down the track.
In front of us was a Tasmanian devil. We saw another two on our short walk back to the residence and they weren’t our last.
We toasted our day on our return with Laura before delving into their Dinner and Devils night.
After dinner, the lights are dimmed and wild Tasmanian devils come in to visit.
These are the purest of all in Tasmania and so far not affected by the malicious facial tumour.
Woolnorth is a working property and can only be accessed by a private tour.
Tours can be customised (as we chose) or you may book a spot on any of their existing range of tours. Half- and full-day tours to the Dinner and Devils dining experience are available all year round.