Great Walks spent a few days exploring Tassie's Tarkine region and our base was the lovely Corrina Wilderness township.
The settlement of Corinna began in 1881 as a base for miners and piners in search of riches. Leading directly from the lodge is this bewitching forest walk bordering the Whyte River, which was once rich in gold. However, by 1919, mining dried up and the town had all but died.
Today, the unspeakably beautiful jewels along the Whyte River Track are found growing on and hanging from its tangle of forest. The easy 90-minute circuit walk passes primordial rainforest inhabitants along one of the prettiest leaf litter-carpeted trails imaginable.
The fairy tale forest is an ever-changing prism of mystical light and textures, stealing views of the Whyte River before it joins the Pieman River.
To reach my next walk, I board at Corinna’s private jetty, the historic Arcadia II: the world’s last remaining Huon pine-dressed cruiser. She ventures me, and a small group of others, downstream along the mirrored millpond-still Pieman. It’s Tasmania’s most intact river and is now home to the largest number of the island’s endemic Huon pines.
These precious native conifers date back 135 million years, and prior to 19th-century logging, would reach an incredible age of around 3,000 years. The area around Corinna is the northernmost point where they survive. We spot a rufous-bellied pademelon shying behind their weeping foliage that overhangs the deep, khaki waters. There are also impressive stands of blackwood, leatherwood, myrtle beech and tea-tree, and the endangered slender tree-fern.
Mooring at a jetty by a shack community, we don our backpacks and follow a sandy path bordering the Pieman, hotfooting it to the coast. Reaching the estuary’s wild Pieman Heads it becomes a wild world. Before the raging Southern Ocean is a sea of flotsam of the forest.
Fractured and fissured, hundreds of lonely logs lay entombed in sand drifts, unlike the dune plants skinned by salt-exfoliating gales. Torn pink sea grass that hitchhiked on the crests of the previous high tide, hangs tethered to them, exhausted. But the roar of the surf never tires. Nor do the wading hooded plovers, fairy terns and sooty oystercatchers inspecting the sands.
Returning to the township of Corinna, I switch boats, joining skipper Tony, who loads me onto Sweetwater, his 8-person craft. We cruise 3km downstream for a walk accessible only by water. On the Pieman’s northern bank, a camouflaged gap in the trees appears. Carefully disembarking onto a small platform, a steep breath-robbing timber staircase entices us up to Lovers Falls.
Levelling to a sensational boardwalk, the pretty-as-a-painting 200m climb weaves through a thickly enmeshed world of ferns. Nature’s parasols, they shade mossy liverworts that bravely bathe in the tannin-braided streams.
Reaching an amphitheatrical viewing platform, I capture the dainty 40m falls. Tony points out, behind me, a native laurel sapling, growing from the trunk of a fallen sassafras tree. Come spring, it will burst into a potpourri of white bell-shaped flowers.
For more info on Corrina Wilderness click here.
Words and photos_Marie Barbieri