Where can you breathe in some of the cleanest air in the world? You would have probably thought of this: it must be somewhere extremely remote, very hard to access, no vehicles are allowed, and perhaps is even restricted to visitors!
No, it’s not wishful thinking. Unassumingly, we breathed in the world’s cleanest air!
We all know that Tasmania has one of the last gloriously untouched wilderness regions on earth, teeming with rare flora and fauna. Nonetheless, did you know that Tasmania has some of the cleanest air in the world? Yes it’s scientifically proven.
Given the island’s position in the Southern Ocean, Tasmania lies in the path of the Roaring Forties (latitudes between 40°S and 50°S) – prevailing westerly winds that are particularly strong in the Southern Hemisphere due to less landmass in the vast ocean expanse to slow down the wind speed.
The Roaring Forties blowing over thousands of kilometres across the Southern Ocean only hit the southern tip of Argentina when the boisterous winds reach Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station that is perched on the cliff face in the far northwestern point of Tasmania. The air that has not touched land for many days is reportedly the CLEANEST on earth at Cape Grim! And when the cold winds reach the warmer land at Cape Grim, they turn into rain that’s purer than any spring water!
Wind Smacked by the mighty Roaring Forties!
To harness the power of the Roaring Forties, Woolnorth Wind Farm, Tasmania’s first wind farm with 62 giant white turbines that’s owned by Roaring 40s, is built to transform the moving energy of wind into electricity for the island. The tubular steel towers are 60 metres high and support three-bladed fiberglass blades with a length of 32 metres and weigh 5 tonnes each. The rotor diameter is even larger than a Boeing 747 jet’s wingspan!
Blown away by the Roaring Forties!
The reflective glass of the Woolnorth visitor centre, reflecting the relentless fury of the pounding waves!
The only way to visit the Woolnorth property, including Cape Grim, is by a guided tour operated by Woolnorth Tours in Smithton, Tasmania. Chris, the owner of our accommodation at Beachside Retreat West Inlet, drove us to Woolnorth (1 hr from Stanley) in the morning and we joined Helen, the guide for the Woolnorth half-day tour.
Besides visiting Woolnorth Wind Farm (the Roaring 40s wind farm), our Woolnorth guided tour also included morning tea at the Director’s Lodge and Cape Grim.
After embracing the Roaring Forties at Woolnorth Wind Farm, we had our morning tea at the Directors Lodge. The Lodge overlooks a vast vista and special arrangement can be made if you want to live like a governor in the Lodge!
The Cookhouse Cottage – Built in 1831, it’s the oldest cottage in north west Tasmania built by the Van Diemen’s Land Company that was created in 1825 from a Royal Charter.
We were bound for Cape Grim after the morning tea break. Cape Grim… well, it may sound uninviting; however, if you want to soak in the awe-inspiring scenery and at the same time, breathe in the cleanest air on earth, it’s undoubtedly a must-visit sight! My fave!
Steep-sided bluffs dropping off into the Southern Ocean. View of the gorgeously rugged west coast with crashing waves!
My hair turned “buttongrass” under the rigour of Roaring Forties!
Danger cliff face.
CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology have established the Baseline Air Pollution Station at Cape Grim in North West Tasmania, which is one of the many stations collecting atmospheric pollution data. On any given day, it could be the location that does record the cleanest air.
In the background: The air intake tower and communications mast of the Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station.
To find out more about Woolnorth Tours, visit www.woolnorthtours.com.au for more info. Bookings are essential.
Chris had prepared a picnic lunch for us but the weather wasn’t ideal; too windy so we only stayed at Cape Grim for a while. After the tour, we headed back to the Directors Lodge for lunch.
A delicious mix of firm and soft Tasmanian cheese with smoked-salmon sandwiches.
Back into the 4WD, we continued the second half of our day tour with Chris. Where to? To the Edge of the World!