Huon Pine Walk
Directions - Starting in the small hamlet of Corinna, located three and a half hours west of Launceston, there is only one unsealed road in and out. Once you're in Corinna then head towards the river from the Tarkine Hotel and to the car park on your right where you'll find an information board right before the track heads into the forest.
The Hike - With our time in Strahan at an end, we left the West Coast town and headed off to Queenstown for a railway experience before finally making our way towards the wilds of the Tarkine. It was a cold and wet drive along the Zeehan Highway where we stopped off at Zeehan for a warm drink and a look around the shops (great crystal and rock place for all you geology lovers). Reaching the unsealed Corinna Road, we were a little surprised at the width and quality of the road considering there aren't many options if you are wanting to drive to the north west corner of Tasmania from here. We eventually arrived at the river crossing to find Candy and Hal waiting for the cable operated ferry. It was funny seeing the bulk of Hal's Mercedes loaded up with kayaks get on the ferry and it made travelling across with our rental Qashqai a little less nerve-racking.
Booked in for three nights at the Corinna Wilderness Experience, we checked in to our accommodation and decided a short walk was a nice use of time for the last remaining hour or so of sunlight. I suggested the Huon Pine Walk and everyone obliged so we made our way from the cabin and through Corinna to the banks of the Pieman River. This quaint little settlement houses the Tarkine Hotel that is a bar and restaurant, along with the holiday accommodation ranging from camping sites to cabins. It really is an escape from civilisation in the best sense of that phrase as it's in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by magnificent forest. It is not so far away from civilisation that the effects of logging didn't reach here and the much sought after Huon Pine was harvested extensively through the area from early settlement times. This short walk to one of the older surviving examples is one of many walks in the area to enjoy and I was lucky enough to take most of them in during our visit. Not being very long at 600m return, I slowed down a lot as we entered the forest and started along the boardwalk. The forest through here is fantastic with a great variety of species coexisting including Myrtle Beech, Sassafras, Leatherwood, Celerytop Pines and many more.
Walking along the Pieman River you get occasional glimpses of the calm waters and cross plenty of little streams that flow down the hill. While the others raced ahead, I lingered on the boardwalk, taking in the tiny details that caught my eye. Different fungi, water droplets on the needles of plants and reflections off the river were some that I really enjoyed through this first part. Knowing it was a short experience, I wanted to savour it but it wasn't long before I caught the others at the end of the boardwalk where you'll find an old and bent Huon Pine that wasn't deemed good enough quality for the loggers. These fascinating trees are extremely slow growing and live for incredibly long times (upward of 3000 years plus) so saving them in the wild is of upmost importance. They are now relatively protected from logging and mining but do not recover from fire so in a world of increased climate change, it is imperative that we look after what is left. While not very long, the Huon Pine Walk gives you an up close look at these ancient trees and also a voice so people will continue to care and look out for them. With the walk over we headed back to the cabin to prepare for dinner but not before I stood on the jetty and marvelled at the reflections off the water of the afternoon sky. My love for the Tarkine was starting to grow very quickly.
Final Thoughts - As an introduction to the Tarkine, this was a pleasant albeit brief encounter but one I enjoyed nonetheless.
The Huon Pine has a sad history in Tasmania with it being logged heavily until protections were placed upon it. While extremely valuable timber with many great properties, it is nice that it has been saved from the axe and can continue to grow in these wilderness areas.
If you're staying in Corinna or thinking about it, this is one walk that is a must-do for all visitors (although you can say that about all of them).
Get out there and experience it!
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