Appreciating Australia: Wynyard and Table Cape

10-minute read
From the world-famous to the almost unknown, and little moments through to big events, we explore what puts nbn™ ready-to-connect towns, suburbs and cities on the map…

For now, life in Australia, looks a lot different to when we first launched this, our On the Map series.

In some parts of the nation, COVID-19 related lockdowns are still in full effect while, in others, restrictions continue to ease.

Yet, for all concerned, there’s nothing quite like a sobering second wave of the pandemic to remind us of those ‘little’ things that, really, mean so much.

Like the places we call home, the places we can’t wait to get back to, and the places we’ll finally get around to visiting just as soon as the times allow.

In our last blog, we visited Main Beach on the Gold Coast to discover what puts the coastal gem on the map, and how locals can support the businesses that help make their community special.

And today? We’re heading to side-by-seaside towns in Tassie…

Welcome to Wynyard and Table Cape, Tasmania

Located in the north-west of the Apple Isle, almost due south from Melbourne across Bass Strait, you’ll find two peas in a coastal pod: Wynyard and Table Cape.

There are two main ways to get to Wynyard and its hop-skip-and-a-jump-away neighbour: by air or by road.

From the skies, take in coastal views including the aptly named Fossil Bluff as you wing your way to Burnie Airport. (Fun fact: Just a five-minute drive to the centre of town, the airport is actually closer to Wynyard than Burnie itself.)

Or, for a mix of coast and countryside views, take the 60-kilometre road trip from the comparatively bigger smoke of Devonport to the east.

Either way, you’ll have arrived in relaxed seaside hamlets that are ready and waiting for you to unwind.

Wynyard and Table Cape, get connected

Eligible premises in Wynyard and Table Cape are now ready to connect to services over the nbn™ network.

Research from Connecting Australia, commissioned by nbn, predicts up to 1,730 additional businesses in Tasmania will be attributable to the nbn™ network by 2021.

Want to support small businesses in your local area – or wherever you visit – today and beyond? Here are some easy ways…

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Bringing connectivity to the table

The dizzying coastal heights of Table Cape are thanks to a 13-million-year-old volcano.

And not only did it help form the striking 180-metre high natural wonder with a sheer drop to the sea, its basalt lava flows are also responsible for the fertile farming soils atop the plateau and that cascade below.

While Table Cape – located seven kilometres north of Wynyard – is renowned for its colourful springtime tulips, the red loam soil has also been used to grow a wide range of produce, as well as raise cattle and sheep.

Then there’s the sweeping coastal views that made Table Cape the ideal location for a lighthouse.

In 1888, Table Cape Lighthouse lit up the skyline for the first time and can still be visited today≠ as the only operating lighthouse open seasonally in mainland Tassie.

Tulips at Table Cape.

Like so many towns, cities and suburbs across Australia, visitors play a key role in supporting the livelihoods of those living and working in Wynyard and Table Cape.

“Tourism holds a special potential for the north west coast, a gateway to some of the wildest places in the country,” says Russell Kelly, nbn™ local Manager for Tasmania.

“Wynyard and nearby Table Cape are a tourism mecca with scenic beach living and a relaxed lifestyle.

“The Winged House on Table Cape is one of my personal favourites.

“The award-winning house, designed with two aerodynamic ‘winged’ rooves, juts out over Bass Strait with unsurpassed views and is a world away from city cares.

“But, guess what? Even here, it’s still connected to services over the nbn™ network, making it the perfect place for a getaway to focus on what’s important – while still being able to keep in touch with family, friends and loved ones, and all the modern conveniences that connectivity brings.”

Russell Kelly, nbn™ local Manager for Tasmania.

The Tommeginer people

Wynyard and Table Cape are among the lands of Traditional Custodians, the Tommeginer people.

They were one of eight groups that made up “a loose knit, social and economic confederation of maritime tribes” that stretched from Table Cape to Cape Grim, then south on the west coast almost down to Macquarie Harbour.

Today, only coastal middens and fish traps (including one at Fossil Bluff’s Freestone Cove) are the lasting reminders of the Tommeginer people, whose women were skilled swimmers and divers.

The connected, winged house

The Winged House

And with its rugged beauty comes the opportunity to experience Table Cape in luxurious surrounds at The Winged House.

Perched west of the Table Cape Lighthouse, like a biplane ready to glide effortlessly over Bass Strait, the architecturally designed, fully serviced luxury accommodation offers up 180-degree ocean and coastal views, plus more than two hectares of lush Tasmanian terrain to explore.

“We’ve had guests from all over the world including North America, Europe, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and, before COVID-19, the rest of Australia,” says Quentin Dempster who, along with his wife Elizabeth, has owned The Winged House for 12 years.

While the couple live in Sydney, they employ locals from the Table Cape area to help them maintain and run the popular accommodation.

Connected to services over the nbn™ network, Quentin says having an internet connection is ubiquitous and vital to the success of the business, with guests nowadays bringing devices like phones, laptops and iPads along for their stay.^

Providing guests with free internet via services over nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite technology has been invaluable, says Quentin.

“The nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite has been performing well and we’ve been very grateful for the increase in data limits during COVID-19."^

Guests tend to find The Winged House by browsing online, as well as by “visiting the Australian Tourism database, which has been a great help to the local Tasmanian economy,” says Quentin.

“The beauty of Table Cape and Tasmania is that it’s so close to mainland Australia. Burnie Airport is about 10 minutes away, and you can come via sea with the Spirit of Tasmania out of Devonport, which is an hour away. Mind you, this was all before COVID-19.”

Unsurprisingly, The Winged House is among the tourism businesses in Australia hit hard by the pandemic.

“When the lockdowns first began in March to protect Tasmania from COVID-19, like every other tourism operator in Tasmania, the business disappeared overnight.

“We had to either refund our guests who had to cancel their stay with us or give them credit vouchers for a future stay.

“Since then, we’ve put in a COVID-safe policy, and since intrastate movement has been allowed in Tasmania, we’re grateful that the people of Tasmania are looking to get away and come back to us.”

Fortunately, The Winged House is starting to see things slowly lift.

“We’re starting to get bookings back again. Like any business dependent on travellers, we’re absolutely dependent on them.”

Go Local First

They may be ‘small’ but when it comes to Australia’s economy, small businesses are actually a pretty big deal.

Employing millions and contributing a third of our economic activity, it’s important we each play our part in keeping Australia’s 3.5 million small businesses going strong.

And while nbn™ connectivity has a huge role to play in supporting businesses around the country, we’re also proud to be a Campaign Ambassador for Go Local First.

Coordinated by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) and funded by the Australian Government, Go Local First encourages us all to make local businesses our first port of call and, in doing so, helping our communities and country thrive.

James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) says, “Small business is a big deal for millions of Australian workers and their families – now more than ever.

“The global pandemic has seen many businesses adapt their operations to continue trading, with almost a third expanding their online presence, and a quarter changing their mode of delivery and/or diversifying into new product lines and services.”

Australian consumers have adapted too, says James, with 49 per cent of Australians increasing their online shopping.

“While, of course, recent times have been far from rosy for many businesses, research commissioned by nbn complements our own data, suggesting there’s opportunity for Australian businesses to strengthen their online presence to offer customers new ways to access their products and services.”

With community and business going hand-in-hand in our collective efforts to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic, and recover from its effects, we all have an important role to play, says James.

“Whenever you can, buy local – in person or online – so we can all get through this together.”

James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

Three things to do in Wynyard and Table Cape

Soak up the views from Table Cape Lighthouse

For jaw-dropping views, head to the Tasmanian Heritage Register-listed Table Cape Lighthouse. Look north for Bass Strait views of the mainland, then spin south for a look over colourful farmlands or, on a clear day, mountain ranges more than 175km away. Plus, there are more seaside views to take in as part of the Lighthouse to Lookout track that stretches across the clifftop.

Smiles for miles at Ransley Veteran Ford Collection

One for the motorheads and history-lovers alike, the Ransley Veteran Ford Collection houses a world-class garage of lovingly restored iconic Fords. No question about who he’d pick in the century-old Ford-vs-Holden debate, owner Francis Ransley set up the permanent exhibition of more than 14 historical Ford rides to be admired by visitors.

Arguably, the shining hood ornament of this Ford fleet is a 1903 Model A, which has bragging rights as the equal-oldest Ford to be found anywhere in the world. In 2003, this old beauty showed she was built to last when Ransley toured around more than 28,000km of Australia as part of Ford’s centenary-year celebrations. 

Spot fossils at Fossil Bluff

When you’re visiting an idyllic seaside town, it’s a safe bet that there’s an emphasis on the natural sights. Case in point, Fossil Bluff. Head up the bluff at high tide for breathtaking panoramic views. At low tide, head down to the beach to catch a glimpse of prehistoric fossils trapped in the sandstone layers. Professional and amateur conchologists alike will likely appreciate the abundance of low-tide shells, too.

For more ‘rocking’ sights, keep an eye out for a low and flat grey rock that’s both east and west of the beach: the Wynyard Tillite. A 280-million-year-old rock formation, it’s been around since Australia was an ancient super continent. Get up close to spy all manner of other rocks – granites and quartzes among them – both in the tillite and in pebble form on the beach.

Fossil Bluff. Picture by: Gary Houston / CC0

Wynyard and Table Cape by the numbers

8 – The number of horsepower in Francis Ransley’s original Ford Model A car from 1903.
45 – The time in minutes it takes to drive from Devonport to Wynyard.
65 – The distance in kilometres of the coastal drive from Devonport to Wynyard.
180 – The drop in metres from Table Cape’s cliffside to Bass Strait below.
1888 – At 5pm on 1st August in this year, the Table Cape Lighthouse was first lit.
6001 – The population of Wynyard.
7325 – Wynyard and Table Cape’s postcode.
1,650,000 – The cost of Wynyard Wharf’s 2012 recreational pontoon upgrade (great for fishing!)
280,000,000 – The age in years of the Wynyard Tillite found at Fossil Bluff.
 

≠At the time of publishing, tours aren’t currently running due to COVID-19.

^nbn is very happy with Quentin’s experiences with the nbn™ network. Of course, end customer experiences may vary. An end customer’s experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network, depends on the nbn™ network technology and configuration over which services are delivered to their premises, whether they are using the internet during the busy period, and some factors outside of nbn’s control (like their equipment quality, software, chosen broadband plan, signal reception, or how their provider designs its network). Speeds may also be impacted by the number of concurrent users on the nbn™ Fixed Wireless network, including during busy periods. Sky Muster™ satellite end customers may also experience latency.