Southern Tarkine – Pristine wilderness

by Steven Chater from Trip Plan Australia. Check out Trip Plan’s free Itinerary Planner that will help you make the most of your next road trip through regional and outback Australia.

Our day on the Arthur River at the northern edge of the Tarkine (previous post) was a fantastic experience. Would our stay at Corinna on the Pieman River at the southern end of the Tarkine be as good?

First we had to get there, and with the Western Explorer road closed due to the fires we needed to drive around the eastern part of the Tarkine, through the village of Waratah.

As they say “it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good”. Waratah is such an interesting place. It’s situated at the head waters of the Arthur River and its tin mining back in the late 19th / early 20th century was the main support for the whole Tasmanian economy. At one stage it was recognised as the richest tin mine in the world.

Road trip planner Australia - Waratah - the town built at the top of a waterfall

Waratah – the town built at the top of a waterfall

The town’s history is really well presented at a number of places: The Waratah Courthouse Museum, ‘Philosopher’ Smith’s Hut and St James Church Gallery & History Centre (check opening hours).

And the view from the historic Bischoff Hotel at Waratah is special – a tempter for the wilderness we were about to drive through to our accommodation at Corinna.

Road trip planner Australia - view down the valley from the Bischoff Hotel

View down the valley from the Bischoff Hotel

There is a little bit of gravel road between Savage River and Corinna, but we found it well maintained and an easy drive. And Corinna itself – what an atmosphere, with old miners huts beautifully restored. Fantastic accommodation (but not cheap – byo caravan is the alternative).

Road trip planner Australia - miners huts fabulous accommodation

Miners huts – fabulous accommodation!

The Tarkine Hotel/General Store is the focal point for services – and really good food too!

Road trip planner Australia - Tarkine Hotel and General Store

Tarkine Hotel and General Store

Right in front of the hotel is the wonderful Pieman River, where the beautiful Arcadia II departs on river cruises and where the Fatman Barge ferries vehicles across to the southern shore. Well, at least that’s the intention …

Road trip planner Australia - The Arcadia II - the only huon pine river cruiser still operating anywhere in the world

The Arcadia II – the only huon pine river cruiser still operating anywhere in the world

Wouldn’t you know it, the Arcadia was out of service when we wanted to take the tour to the Pieman Heads.

Road trip planner Australia - mechanic waiting for parts to come across the river on the Fatman Barge

Mechanic waiting for parts to come across the river on the Fatman Barge

Oh, and btw, I read the other day that the Fatman was out of service for a week – so you need to be flexible when touring these parts of the world!

Again, though, it was an ill wind … we instead went on the Sweetwater Cruise, a small pontoon boat that could take us in to shore to see remnant huon pine, up the Savage River to see the sunken wreck of SS Croydon and best of all, to Lovers Falls, a beautiful waterfall framed by stunning brilliant green ferns.

Road trip planner Australia - Lovers Falls

Lovers Falls

Aside from the cruises, the other main activities out of Corinna are kayaking and walking.

Road trip planner Australia - These kayakers were the only other people we saw during our Sweetwater cruise

These kayakers were the only other people we saw during our Sweetwater cruise

There are all sorts of walks available – talk to the hotel staff to find out the ones that will suit you.

Road trip planner Australia - on the easily accessible Huon Pine walk, along a boardwalk that follows the banks of the river

On the easily accessible Huon Pine walk, along a boardwalk that follows the banks of the river

The Whyte River walk starts along the Pieman (in the opposite direction to the Huon Pine walk); the views and vegetation are magical.

Road trip planner Australia - early morning on the Pieman

Early morning on the Pieman

Road trip planner Australia - berries growing in amongst the reeds at the side of the Pieman

Berries growing in amongst the reeds at the side of the Pieman

Experiences like those that the Tarkine provide are so unique. There is a campaign on the make the Tarkine region World Heritage listed. I really hope it succeeds.

For us, it was on to the interesting town Queenstown via Tullah and Rosebery – the subjects of the next blog post.

Road trip planner Australia - Bye Corinna – till next time!

Bye Corinna – till next time!

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Road trip planner Australia - West Tasmania trip to discover the Tarkine, Styx Valley and take in the Hamilton Show

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