Not too long after the road trip with my Mom, I joined three gals on a paddle down the Pieman River through Tasmania’s spectacular—and largely unprotected—Tarkine wilderness. We camped one night in the quaint town of Corinna in northwest Tassie and set off early the next morning for a leisurely 18km paddle to the coast.
From Corinna it's a relaxed hour's paddle to Lover's Falls, a 30-metre waterfall accessible by a couple hundred metres of timber boardwalk. You're surrounded by myrtle, scented sassafras, huon pine and manfern groves. We lingered there for a long while and even spotted an endangered wedge-tailed eagle.
Then we noticed a shift in the weather. We spent the next 8 hours or so battling rain and a headwind. It hurt.
Regular use by four-wheel-drives had left the track muddy and rutted.
We were absolutely knackered by the time we reached our camp site, so it was nice to be greeted with this.
This guy even came to say Hello.
The Tarkine is the largest expanse of temperate rain forest in the southern hemisphere, and the second largest in the world. It’s habitat for 60 rare, vulnerable and endangered species, including Tasmanian Devils that have managed to escape the plague of a contagious facial tumour that has wiped out 80% of their species.
But the Tarkine is also the site of ongoing disputes between conservationists and mining companies. A silica quarry and an open cut iron ore mine are already operating, and another magnetite mine has been approved. In February the federal Environment minister knocked back the Australian Heritage Commission’s recommendation to protect more than 430,000 hectares through heritage listing. Instead just a 2-kilometre 21,000 hectare area with Aboriginal significance will be preserved. A further 10 mines have been proposed for development by 2017. Last month Shree Minerals broke ground on an open cut iron ore mine at Nelson Bay River.
Luckily we had a couple days to potter about before we had to return.
Can you see why I love this place?