Living in Tasmania, growing up by the beach in Penguin, travelling daily by bus to Ulverstone via the Old Coast Road during my high school years, I was a child who grew up with a coastal life. Today, with a love of landscape photography, looking through the lens of my cameras has opened my eyes to all the beauty I once took for granted. Here on the North West Coast of Tasmania so much coastal beauty can be found.

Old Coast Road - Big Penguin
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The Big Penguin, iconic to the seaside township of Penguin

Ulverstone to Penguin via The Old Coast Road

by Carol Haberle

One of my favourite scenic drives is to travel from Ulverstone to Penguin (or vice versa), but NOT on the highway. Admittedly much can be seen from the highway, but so much more beauty lies beyond it. Between Ulverstone and Penguin lies the Old Coast Road, better known today as Penguin Road, once the only road linking Penguin and Ulverstone, a road which leads to much beauty.

The Old Coast Road beginning at Ulverstone takes you through the township of West Ulverstone, then through rural countryside, rocky hillsides, more rural countryside and finally into Penguin, a 20 minute drive, (though if you stop at all the points of interest it will take quite a while longer!) From the road, one side gives landscape views, the other is entirely that of seascape views.

Old Coast Road - Rural Countryside
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From the seaside to the rural countryside on the Old Coast Road

Goat Island

Goat Island is a small island located along this drive, at 23 metres high and one hectare in size, it is tied to the shoreline by 100 metre wide intertidal rock flats. Housing a breeding colony of Little Penguins, Goat Island is a part of the heritage listed Three Sisters – Goat Island Nature Reserve. One can get to the island safely on foot at low tide, marine life is abundant in the shallow rock pools and once on the island fun can be had climbing the craggy peaks or crawling through a cave with a heart shaped entrance. Man-made fish traps also provide the opportunity of seeing the local marine life at low tide. The coastline rocks here are of particular interest to geologists due to its nature, showing Tasmania is more closely linked to the Antarctic than to the Australian mainland geologically speaking.

Old Coast Road - Goat Island Fish Trap
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Goat Island at low tide, note the man made fish trap toward the foreground

Old Coast Road - Goat Island
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Goat Island at high tide

Three Sisters

Three Sisters Islands are a group of three small islands and can be viewed from either of two public lookout bays. Home to silver gull rookeries, the gulls typically nest there during the Spring months of October, November and into early December. Whale sightings occur around these islands throughout Spring and Summer, and from the roadside one often sees cormorants and sea eagles, as well as the thousands of gulls. The waters around the Three Sisters provide good snorkelling and scuba diving and are accessible by boat or from shore.

Old Coast Road - Three Sisters
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The Three Sisters Islands

Old Coast Road - Three Sisters Islands
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Coastal scenery looking towards the Three Sisters Islands

As one then travels closer to Penguin, to the left the rural landscape catches the eye where sheep, beef cattle and Highland Coos are often seen grazing beside the roadside.

Old Coast Road - Highland Coo
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A Highland Coo, captured on the Old Coast Road at East Penguin

Ling Perry Gardens, Penguin

Entering the seaside township of Penguin provides a visual splendour of beautiful roadside gardens. An attraction for both tourists and visitors to Penguin, the Ling Perry Gardens follow the rail route a kilometre in length beside the coast road.

Overlooking the scenic Watcombe Beach, these gardens were built as a labour of love by two of Penguins residents, Max Perry and Gordon Ling (sadly both now deceased) during the 1980s and today the gardens still flourish. Max and Gordon had retired, and both having time on their hands laboured to grow an attraction that has today become a famous feature of Penguin. Today the gardens are maintained by the Central Coast Council.

Old Coast Road - Ling Perry Gardens
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Watcombe Beach view from the Ling Perry Gardens

All photos strictly ©Carol Haberle of H&H Photography. You can follow Carol on Facebook at Haberle Photo Cards. Carol writes feature articles for us about all things Tasmanian. If you’d like Carol to visit you so your place of business can be promoted online, please contact Think Tasmania.

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Map: Old Coast Road, Tasmania