To me the rugged coastline, rainforest and arid planes were the essence of the Tarkine, Tasmania. Huon pine, button grass, thick seaweed upon lapping shores, myrtle and sassafras define the smells and sounds.
And yet, no one has really ever heard of this beautiful place in the small state of Tasmania. It’s true, Tassie is on the map, so to speak. But when I’d previously heard about Tasmania, I’d have thought of vineyards, seafood and isolated beaches on the eastern coastline. When in fact, the west truly has just as much to offer, they’re just not getting the same tourism dollar. Well, not yet anyway. Enter, you. I’m hear to tell you, there is an abundance of things to do on the west and north regions to satisfy every traveller – and you don’t just have to be an overland trekker to know that. Nature lover’s combine, this is the place for you! Alas, this blog isn’t about to start a crusade for Tasmania to open more café’s on the west coast. I’d like to share with you some day treks I recently checked out, all in the name of ‘bleasure’ (combine business and pleasure and… you got it!)
Read on for my top five short walks within the region well known to locals as the Tarkine.
Mt Donaldson (near Corrina)
This was probably the most challenging of the five, so I’ll start here. Starting by the Savage River the walk begins in a tall forest. The fallen leaves carpet the path as the branches allow for only a few beams of sunlight to dart through. Within an hour you’ve left the forest long behind and you’re making the ascent along the surface of the mountain. You are mostly exposed to the elements from here on in, don’t say I didn’t warn you. The narrow gravel path winds and loops along the face of the mountain and a wide-open, button grass plateau is largely what’s on offer. The view gets more and more breathtaking as you keep on and slowly the Pieman and Whyte rivers come into view (see below). Anyone craving connection will be very happy upon summiting this mountain as even Vodaphone had reception on the top (a great feat mind.) The walk should take you anywhere from four – five hours with a decent break on the top. This walk wasn’t too challenging and fine for anyone who is capable of walking that long. The walk wasn’t too steep, however trekking poles are always a great idea to alleviate pressure on the joints.
Montezuma Falls (near Tullah)
How on earth could one visit Tasmania and not see Tassie’s tallest waterfall? It had to be done. Full disclosure – it’s not that impressive, it’s one hundred and four meters tall and I’ve honestly seen better, but it IS a lovely walk and the waterfall is a nice prize for making it to the end. The return walk should take you roughly three hours return depending on how many selfie’s you want to take at the bottom of the falls or how dare devilish you feel on the (narrow) suspension bridge. What makes this walk so interesting is that the track follows the historic route of the former North East Dundas Tramway right to the base of Montezuma Falls. The walk is choc-a-block full of moss-covered heath with a scenic rainforest backdrop.
Pieman Heads, South Coastal Tarkine (near Corrina)
This walk will be liked by all, firstly because it involves a one and half hour river cruise down the Pieman river. It’s not only relaxed and tranquil, it’s educational and scenic (I mean, have you seen the feature image??) Your MV Arcadia captain will be able to point out the difference between a male and female Huon pine, multiple birds and points of interest along the way. Once you arrive at the river mouth, you’re spat out and left to your own devices (with a guide of course) which was a spectacular experience knowing and feeling just how remote one can actually feel after living in a major city for 10 years. The rugged, jigsaw like and almost daunting coastline stretch for as far as the eye can see (especially if you’re comfortable scrambling to the top of a few rocks.) You really can walk as little or as far as you like, with your guides assistance through the terrain. Expect pebbles, uneven surfaces and a generally pleasurable walk. The most fascinating insight on this walk was stumbling upon Aboriginal midden sites. Shell midden sites are where Aboriginal people have left debris after finishing their meal. Substantial deposits have grown over time as generations have used the same area time and time again. Some middens are apparently meters deep. Wow!
Arthur River Coastal Tarkine (near Smithton)
Another coastal walk, you wane. Yes! Of course! Take a walk (or two) from Arthur river to Couta Rocks. The best surprise I found on this trip was arriving to find a plaque with “End of the World” inscribed, with the following poem below:
The Edge of the World
North West Coast Tasmania
“I cast my pebble onto the shore of Eternity.
To be washed by the Ocean of Time.
It has shape, form and substance.
It is me.
One day I will be no more.
But my pebble will remain here.
On the shore of Eternity.
Mute witness for the aeons.
That today I came and stood.
At the edge of the world.”
Which, I may just be in love with every single time I read it, over and over again. The coastal walk today is again, as close or as far as you please without a guide required. We walked to Couta Rocks and stopped for a lunch break and swim in between. The crystal clear waters were enough to tempt me, although to be honest, it doesn’t take much these days. We would have walked around seven kilometres in total as we shuttled along the coast. To any ocean lover, this place was an absolute haven.
Trowutta Arch (near Edith Creek)
How short is too short to mention a short walk in this blog? You’re about to find out. Fifteen minutes is all it takes to reach Trowutta Arch and oh my, how worth it to make the effort to see what’s on the other side of this one. The ‘Arch’ in Trowutta Arch is a natural occurrence created by the collapse of a cave and the creation of two sinkholes either side of it – one dry and one water-filled. The walk through here felt like where pixies might migrate to for the summer, or where Alice from Wonderland might frolic. It was simply magical.
So there you have it, it might sound too whimsical, maybe not intense enough or maybe a little boring in text. But seriously I must persuade you, this is a special little place on this earth and I have for certain, left a little piece of my heart on the coast, at the edge of the world, in Tasmania.