With no land mass between the Tarkine coast and the tip of South America, the Tarkine contains some of the world’s wildest coastline. The Tarkine Coast is belted by the fierce winds of ‘the roaring 40s’ and hence boasts exhilarating weather, wild and world famous surf, and the cleanest air in the world. The Tarkine coast, though broadly linear, is also noted for its contrasting arrangement of jagged rocky headlands and cliffs, extensive and curvaceous dunal systems, long sandy beaches, smaller coves, lagoons, grassy woodland, coastal healthland and swamp.
Rocky headlands and gulches provide habitat for a rich array of bird and sea-life.
The Tarkininer people and other Aboriginal groups frequented the Tarkine coast for many thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans, living off the rich natural resources of the region. This coastal region has been described as ‘one of the world’s great archaeological regions’ due to the richness and diversity of Aboriginal sites – many of which date back thousands of years.
The Tarkine coastline is the best Tasmanian example of a long linear coastline, comprising a long stretch of largely undisturbed sandy and rocky coastline. This coastline provides an important extension to the undisturbed coastline of the existing Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area, one of the longest coastlines in the world in which temperate-zone coastal processes continue largely undisturbed by human activities (Sharples 2004).
The Sandy Cape dune fields, half way down the Tarkine coast, are the largest area of dunes in Tasmania.
The Arthur River estuary is a flooded valley type river estuary, and its landforms are in good condition, with the river remaining ‘wild’ (i.e. not dammed). The Arthur river estuary is probably the best representative example of a large river estuary in good condition in Tasmania (Sharples 1992b).