Tasmania’s precious Tarkine myrtle rainforest opened up by restoration of historic mining settlement, Corinna
Another region of Tasmania ’s precious west coast rainforest is now accessible to visitors following the restoration of an historic mining settlement, Corinna, on the edge of the Tarkine wilderness.
The Tarkine – named after the Tarkiner people who lived there between 175,000 and 30,000 years ago – is spread over 1700 square miles and contains the largest myrtle rainforest in Australia. It was recently included within an extended protection zone of the state, which now protects over 40% of its landmass. On the banks of the 20 m deep Pieman river and accessible by self-drive in 2WD cars via the ‘Fatman’ barge, the Tarkine area contains many rare and threatened species of flora and fauna including native orchids, the Tasmanian devil, eastern pygmy possum, wedge tailed eagle, white breasted sea eagle and the orange-bellied parrot.
Corinna is one of two places on Tasmania ’s ‘wild west’ coast that offers accommodation – the popular fishing village of Strahan being the other. The coastline, rich in Aboriginal significance, is regularly pounded by the Roaring Forties winds, which can whip waves up to 18 metres in height. The next landmass, heading west, is Argentina, over 11,000 miles away.
Corinna, once known by the aboriginal name for a young Tasmanian Tiger, Royenrine, (now extinct), was settled in 1881 following the discovery of gold in the Pieman River , and is one of the only historic mining settlements left in Australia.
Accommodation at Corinna includes four original one and two bed miners’ cottages and 14 one and two bedroom new en-suite cottages built to the original style. All back on to the rainforest and have their own verandas, equipped kitchens, barbecues, rainwater tanks and pure rainwater on tap and heating. All power is supplied by an eco-friendly solar system, with back up generators. All the accommodation is self-catering with a simple range of provisions, Tasmanian wines and beers available from the store.
The opportunities to explore and experience the surrounding wilderness are extensive. Walks ranging from 30 minutes (the Huon Pine Walk) to the board-walked 90 minute Whyte River Walk through pristine rainforest. More challenging walks and a new walk with wheelchair access are under development.
The Pieman River Cruise is easily comparable to the Gordon River experience out of Strahan. The 17 metre vessel – the only boat to cruise the river – was built in 1939, entirely of Huon pine, and was requisitioned to serve in WWII as a supply ship in New Guinea.
Canoeing and fishing are two other activities available to visitors. The 130 metre-wide Pieman river, named after a baker transported to Macquarie Harbour as a convict, is packed full of sea running ocean trout which can reach up to 12 kg in weight, and fishing licences are available from the General Store.
Corinna adds another entirely unique dimension to a self-drive tour of Tasmania. It lies approximately 1.5 hours from Strahan, 2 hours from Cradle Mountain , and a total of 7 hours from Hobart.
Rates at Corinna are AU$150 (approx £60) for a one bedroom cottage and AU$175 (approx £70) for a two bedroom cottage. The Fatman barge crossing costs $20 (£8) per average sized vehicle and operates year-round.