There’s a sense of heading into the wilds as you progress along the northwest coast. After the cities of Devonport and Burnie (both missable), the towns grow smaller and more spaced out as you skip beside the Bass Strait to Stanley, a historic village-resort with a spectacular setting. It serves as the best base for a visit to the area; a hub for day-trips to Wynyard, Boat Harbour Beach or the ragged coast of the Rocky Cape National Park.
Keep going beyond Stanley and civilization (and any form of public transport) starts to peter out, then the roads get narrower, and finally you roll into dairy village Marrawah. Pushing on to Arthur River, you’ll find just a few holiday shacks and houses around the river. Here, there’s a sense of life at the edge; of settlements buffeted by what is officially the cleanest air in the world and a raw coastline pounded by waves that have rolled all the way from South America. Magic.