Illegal use of old tracks by vehicles in the Tarkine

All-terrain vehicles are accessing no go areas in the Tarkine. The news.com.au story claims “A Parks and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said investigators were “following a specific line of inquiry relating to two suspects and the alleged use of the barge to obtain illegal access to the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area. … A considerable amount of time and effort is directed towards the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area compliance program each year by PWS staff and it has generally been very successful, with a large number of drivers approached, any breaches of the legislation investigated, and offenders charged/issued with infringement notices. … the Government’s desire to reopen tracks in the area to 4WDs — which it cannot do unless the Federal Court rules to overturn the current ban — created a “permission” in some people’s minds to flout the ban.”

Obviously there are people who do not understand the minutiae of conservation and who believe their rights supersede the rights of others, and the future of the human race.  In addition, some of these tracks adjoin areas containing irreplaceable cultural material connected to the first inhabitants of Tasmania pre European settlement. I am not sure how their minds work to allow themselves this permission.  The devil is in the detail I guess.

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Driving away from Corinna

The Arcadia experience on the Pieman River had seemed a fitting conclusion to our discovery of the southern Tarkine.  After the boat docked in Corinna around 2.30 pm, with a sense of urgency, we jumped into the car knowing we still had a six plus hour drive back to Hobart, and headed off.  However, once on the road the Tarkine landscape continued to delight.  Long term blog readers may recall that when we drove westwards from Waratah, most of the country was absent from view – a thick fog had overlaid the landscape and presented us with a white barrier preventing us seeing what we imagined were wonderful views.

And so they were wonderful, as we discovered on the return journey.

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20170307_151319.jpgI was looking forward to seeing the town of Savage River and its environs although I am not sure why. Perhaps because I was still at school when the Savage River mine was established and I remember a sense then that Tasmanian had entered the world stage and was doing something important.  Mature age has given me new perspectives so on our trip to the Tarkine I was curious to see the current situation. I will not say the experience of visiting the township of Savage River disappointed, however because I have experience around mining towns in central Queensland, there were no surprises in terms of the look of buildings or the layout of the tiny town. 20170307_151715.jpg

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Wikipedia provides some basic information including this statement.  “The township at Savage River was constructed from 1965 to 1967 when Roy Hudson’s Industrial and Mining Investigations Pty Ltd received backing to construct a mining project in the area.

We drove on, passing a giant black line snaking across the road, and stopped a while for me to photograph some of the changes to the landscape wrought by the Savage River mine. 20170307_152233.jpg

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20170307_152620.jpg The changes were visible for a few kilometres.  Maps tell me that the mine extends northwards for around 8 kms and, since the mine is still operational, clearly the area being mined will increase.

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Savage River mine.JPGI was surprised with the impact this massive intrusion into the landscape made on me.

20170307_152622.jpgFinally we reached Waratah and I was delighted to see a man on his very large ride-on mower at work.  That grass in this tidy town will never grow long!Cropped man on his mower.JPG

The remainder of our trip back to Hobart was uneventful. The first stages were of interest because neither of us had travelled on the road that links eastwards across from the west coast passing close to Cradle Mountain.  Corinna to Cradle Mountain.JPG

Sheffield to sth Elizabeth Town.JPGtowards Sheffield.JPGWe passed through Sheffield and then exited onto the Bass Highway near Elizabeth Town, before taking an inland route to bypass Perth and enter the Midlands/Heritage Highway at Campbell Town.  I was  grateful for Jeanette’s excellent driving and particularly at night on the new unmarked and badly signed roadworks on the Midlands Highway. It was a test which she passed with my high praise.  Back in Hobart clearly our adventure in the southern Tarkine was over. Southern Tarkine.JPG

I have felt profoundly inspired by the experience and I hope this blog has accelerated your plans to visit this wonderful wilderness. I would love to hear your reaction to what I have written and shown.

Obviously we now need to explore the northern Tarkine and plans have been made to travel there before Christmas.  Between now and then, I expect to write the occasional blog post with additional information about the Tarkine.

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The sun shone during our trip back to Corinna

The greyed skies overhead while we lunched at the Pieman Heads beach made no-one downcast.  In fact quite the opposite. The spinning ions in the air filled the pores of our skin and we breathed in the energy of the ocean. We all felt very alive.

Later, as we motored eastwards towards Corinna, patches of blue sky appeared and the sun brightened the landscape and the water sparkled.  I know my whole body felt like it was smiling.

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I would like to assume that this blog has whetted your appetite to visit the southern Tarkine and make your own discoveries.  When you plan your trip to the Tarkine and before you arrive at Corinna, I strongly recommend you phone the Corinna Wilderness Resort and make a booking to travel on the Arcadia.  If as happened in our case when the boat trip was cancelled unexpectedly for the day on which we had booked, please make sure you rearrange other plans so you can take this trip on a subsequent day. It was an enormous relief to us that despite almost letting this opportunity go, we reorganised and took the trip.  I cannot speak too highly of the experience.  For many reasons travelling on the Pieman River and seeing and smelling the ocean was worth waiting for.

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A little local humour

We know the annual rainfall in the Pieman Heads area is very high and gummies would have to be everyone’s favourite footwear around there.  So what do you do when you lose one gumboot or one wears out?

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Memories of the forest

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Around the mouth of the Pieman River were the remnants of acres of once sturdy trees that had been uprooted inland, fallen into the river and which had floated down during stormy torrents.  Some seemed to show (was it my imagination?) signs they were part of old logging practices from the days when cut trees were deliberately floated to the Ocean for collection and transport elsewhere. Most of us found a comfortable silvery  trunk on which to sit while we ate our fresh packed lunch.

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Enjoy this 360 degrees video of the area with voice over here.

Still images of the large ‘driftwood’ show the scale of the ‘deposits’.

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20170307_114432.jpgNow a panoramic shot.

20170307_121434.jpgThis video gives a sense of how exhilarated we felt in this piece of country.

 

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The southern beach at the Pieman Heads is so large

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Once we had walked the sandy edges of the Pieman River, eventually we were able to see massive waves breaking across the rocks of the northern shore.  Repeating ribbons of breakers rolled onto the long white sandy beach of the southern shore.  Edging the beach were scrubby bushes and grasses wildly blowing with the breeze generated by the moving sea.

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The 4WD track to the Pieman Heads is almost impassable especially when access bridges are uncrossable and creeks are high. When the Pieman River shack fishermen are able to get through the bush, they then need to wait for low tide in order to drive along the beach to reach their sheds and shacks.

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The photos below shows views looking back up the Pieman River from near the Heads, on the southern side.

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The mouth of the Pieman River

Over time I noticed the land either side of the river was lower and that the river was widening.  I realised this flattening and enlarging meant we were close to the Pieman Heads.  20170307_111805.jpg

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20170307_125738.jpgAs the Arcadia tied up at the jetty near the Ocean, each of us was handed a bag containing our lunch and given the instructions to be back in 1.5 hours.

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A boat load of eager beavers followed easy tracks past the Pieman Heads fishing shacks onto the river beach until the vast Ocean spread before us.

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