When mentioning I would like to visit the Tarkine, one friend responded “no-one knows where its boundaries are, so where are you going”.
All I knew was that the Tarkine was somewhere in the north western quarter of Tasmania and that research would be required to prepare any visit plan. My travel friend Jeanette was equally in the dark so I explored brochures and websites to piece information together.
I learnt that two large rivers, which empty into the Southern Ocean on Tasmania’s west, provide part of the boundary for the Tarkine. The Arthur River runs in the north of the state and the Pieman River flows in the south. The maps below roughly approximate some of the northern then the southern Tarkine.
Blissful ignorance was our starting point. Originally we believed that over a period of 5 or 6 days we might see and experience all the Tarkine. What a massive underestimation that was!
The more I researched the land, the accommodation, the bushwalking tracks, the roads, the distances, the mining and social histories, and the resources, clearly a minimum of 5 days needed to be allocated to experience the area either around the Arthur or the Pieman Rivers but not both. We decided that a 5 day trip which included the driving time from Hobart (around 5 to 7 hours each way) would let us sample a little of this large environment, and that future excursions would need to be planned to explore further.
On this occasion we limited our visit to focus solely on the southern Tarkine by:
- driving from Hobart via Queenstown to Tullah,
- experiencing a little of Tullah on Lake Rosebery which feeds into the Pieman River,
- travelling to Waratah to learn from the Tarkine Interpretation Centre and other historical locations within this old mining town,
- beginning to immerse ourselves in the Tarkine environment by taking short walks and explorations at Philosopher Falls, the Whyte Lookout and the ex-mining town of Luina,
- seeing the township and iron ore mine of Savage River first hand,
- climbing Mt Donaldson which rises up from Savage River a little inland from its meeting with the Pieman River,
- arriving at Corinna the tiny settlement (tourism only) on the edge of the Pieman River,
- walking the Huon Pine walk,
- walking to Savage River and kayaking back to Corinna,
- walking to Whyte River,
- boarding the Arcadia and boating to the heads of the Pieman River where the Southern Ocean crashes dramatically onto a long creamy sandy beach,
- driving to Hobart via the Cradle Mountain Road to Sheffield before continuing along the Bass and the Midlands/Heritage Highways.
Future blog postings, accompanied by amazing photos which make the Tarkine sparkle, will detail our experiences and locations.