Sometimes we make last-minute decisions. It’s liberating to just grab your coat and camera and head out the door on a whim. That’s exactly what happened the day we decided to drive from Hobart to Cockle Creek… with some unusual consequences!

Cockle Creek - Southern Right Whale
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Southern right whale sculpture: Cockle Creek

Cockle Creek: Way South of Hobart

In Australia, Cockle Creek is the most southerly point you can drive to. The end of the road is about 150kms from Hobart, and supposedly a two-hour drive. That’s do-able, we thought. We didn’t leave home particularly early, but we really should have. A two-hour estimate is extremely optimistic… for seasoned dawdlers like us, anyway!

There’s so many opportunities to explore unique Tassie towns between Hobart and Cockle Creek… Huonville, Ranelagh, Franklin, Geeveston, Dover and Southport. A lightning-brief look-see of each had us wishing we’d planned the journey much better. A full-on, up-with-the-sparrows kind of day-trip from Hobart wouldn’t have allowed time for us to cover everything we fancied.

Cockle Creek - End of the Road
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Most southerly point you can drive: Australia

Even if you didn’t stop at every photographic opportunity along the way, including the information boards describing Recherche Bay, the final stretch of road to Cockle Creek is gravel. And not just gravel, but filled with very large potholes, making it slow going. Consider yourselves warned: the hire-car companies are not going to like this one.

Cockle Creek - Potholes
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Gravel road to Cockle Creek

Here We Come, Ready or Not

After driving 149.9 kms, surviving the pot-holes and arriving later than anticipated, we realised we’d make a rookie tourist mistake. We’d thought… whale sculpture, that sounds cool. End of the road in Australia… that sounds cool too. We didn’t however, think about whether the bridge might be closed for repairs!

Cockle Creek - Road Closed
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End of the road: sooner than expected

Igloo - Cockle Creek
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Bridge is out: Cockle Creek

Igloo - Icewall One
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Icewall One Igloo: Antarctic Hut

You Have Two Choices

A ranger emerged from his Icewall One Igloo and gave us the surprising news. As it turns out, the bridge was closed for repairs, and closed to both vehicles and pedestrians. We were faced with two choices. The first option was to turn tail and retrace our journey back to Hobart without seeing the much-anticipated whale sculpture.

Our second option was to climb aboard a very small dinghy and allow the lovely National Parks man to row us across Cockle Creek. This made us giggle rather nervously with utter disbelief, but we chose to throw caution to the wind and hurdle the final obstacle of our southern adventure. We really did want to see that whale!

Cockle Creek - Dinghy
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Dinghy: Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service

Cockle Creek - Bridge
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Cockle Creek Bridge closed: pedestrians, vehicles

Cockle Creek - Walk to Whale Sculpture
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Easy walk: car park to whale sculpture

Bronze Whale Sculpture

To be honest, the ride in the row boat wasn’t even the slightest bit scary. In hindsight, anyway! We were required to wear life-jackets, but apparently Cockle Creek was less-than waist deep all the way across. It would’ve been almighty cold though, if we’d been tipped in the drink. Our PWS friend thought we should consider it romantic, being rowed across the water. Not sure we’d go that far, but we survived unscathed. And now we’ve seen the bronze sculpture of a young southern right whale at Australia’s most southern point to be accessed by car. Yes! Mission accomplished.

Cockle Creek - Bronze Whale Sculpture
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Bronze whale sculpture: Cockle Creek

Cockle Creek - Happy Whale
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Southern right whale: happy to see us

Cockle Creek - Views from Whale
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Great views: Recherche Bay, southern Tasmania

Far South Tasmania

We would’ve liked to spend more time exploring this area in far-south Tasmania, but the sun was sinking rapidly. Thankfully that was the only thing sinking, as we made our way back across Cockle Creek in the dinghy. Apparently the bridge is due to reopen in September, so to enjoy a similar “romantic cruise” you’ll need to act fast. Otherwise, post-September,  just drive your car all the way and walk just a few hundred metres from the carpark to the sculpture. You can even camp there, using the basic facilities (the long-drop toilets were about the best we’ve seen, but there wasn’t a shower in sight). There’s lots of long bush-walks and beaches to discover.

Cockle Creek - Far South Tasmania
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Beautiful coastline: far south Tasmania

Cockle Creek - Southern Waters
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Sun begins to set: southern Tasmania

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