The geological wonders of Trowutta Arch

Trowutta Arch rock formation Tasmania

The Arch

Trowutta Caves State Reserve.

We think this reserve is a must see stop when your cruising down the Tarkine Drive tourism route.

This beautiful reserve is located just a stone’s throw away from the North West Tasmanian town of Trowutta.

Taking a quick detour off the Tarkine Drive along a short but bumpy unsealed road will have you surrounded by stunning temperate rainforests and viewing one of Tasmania’s rare geological rock formations. The Trowutta Arch.

Mushrooms found along the Trowutta Arch walk

Beautiful fungi found along the Trowutta Arch walk

 

Rainforest Walk

The walk itself is a short and easy 30 minutes return journey along a well built walkway. The walkway is mostly flat except for a slight sloping sections at the very end with a few stairs to tackle. So it’s perfect for people of all ages and fitness levels.

The scenery along the Trowutta Arch walk is very reminiscent of Philosophers Falls. It has the same tall temperate rainforest trees. Leaf littered undergrowth. And plenty of fungi to hunt.

The tall rainforest trees are less present here though. Instead giant man ferns dominate the landscape. These giant man ferns create a much more open and airy feeling by allowing more sunlight to penetrate through their delicate fronds.

While it doesn’t have the untamed wilderness feel of some Tasmanian temperate rainforests, it’s still a beautiful walk full of stunning scenery and well worth a visit.

Pathway through a man fern forest in Trowutta Arch, Tasmania

Walkway dominated by man ferns

 

The Arch

Winding your way through the temperate rainforest walkway, it’s almost unimaginable that such a huge and impressive rock formation would be found in the area. The arch is really the hidden surprise at the end of the journey.

The arch is hidden away in a slight depression created by the two sinkholes and it only makes its appearance when your round the last bend on the track. Even then its still partially hidden by the large man ferns growing around its base.

Its not until you have walked under the arch and have turned around to look back that you realise the scope and size of the archway.

Entrance to Trowutta Arch

Entrance to the arch

 

Arch Formation

Originally believed to be a cave system formed millions of years ago. Carbon dioxide collected by rainfall combined to form slightly acidic water. This acidic water pooled on the rocks surface and eventually seeped down into the carbonated bedrock below the surface.

The bedrock slowly dissolved over time and collapsed creating underground voids. These voids continued to expand as more bedrock dissolved until they could no longer support the rocks above. The rocks above the voids began breaking away until eventually the voids collapsed.

These collapsed voids created the two sinkholes on either side of the arch formation. One sinkhole filled in with soil and was eventually covered by trees and ferns, while the other became the water filled cenote you see today.

These collapsed voids left only the gravity defying arch spanning across both sinkholes.

Rock arch with man ferns in the background

The view looking back onto the arch

 

Safety

While the pathways and stairs are well made and very safe. This pathway ends just before the arch, and going further (underneath the arch) requires navigating a dirty and muddy slope without stairs or handrail.

Once under the arch, there is a small dirt area overlooking the water filled sinkhole. There are no fences or safety barriers in this area.

The sinkhole has steep sloping sides which drops into the water. We would suggest kids staying in contact with parents at all times if you intend to head down to this area for a better look at the sinkhole.

Water filled sinkhole (Cenote) surrounded by rainforest

Water filled sinkhole (Cenote)

 

What’s the best geological wonder you’ve seen?

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PIN IT!Trowutta Arch, Tasmania