Julius River Walks
Directions - Located just under an hours drive east of Arthur River on the Tarkine Drive, take Temma Road south until you reach Rebecca Road, then turn left. Head inland as Rebecca Road becomes Blackwater Road and take the right turn at Kununnah Bridge to keep going along Sumac Road. Drive for 9km until you see the signs for the Julius River Walks. There is a paved car park and information boards for the two walks in the area.
The Hike - After a couple of weeks exploring the south and west of Tasmania, Arthur River and the Tarkine would be our final stop before driving back to Hobart for our return flight. With Arthur River located on the wild western coast of Tassie, it was nice to be on the coast for the last leg of the trip. With walking options limited to a couple of short trails centred around lookouts, I set my sights on the inland region known as the Tarkine. This collection of state reserves and patchy forests is under threat from logging, mining and every harmful process we love to do to the environment.
Joining Caris and I on the day's adventure to explore the Tarkine was Caris' Aunt Candy, with Uncle Hal busy trying to get a replacement tyre for his Mercedes SUV in Smithton after popping a boot on the rocky drive from Corinna. There was hope he would have the tyre replaced and would join us at one of the later walks but for now it was just the three of us. The hour long drive from Arthur River was pretty with the coastal scenery soon replaced with open plains and then the forests/plantations of the inland region. After a while it became apparent that the excellent road surfaces weren't there for the tourists but for all the logging trucks that use the dirt tracks leading into the greenery. While it is nice there are some walks in the area that at least highlight people to the plight of this amazing place, it certainly does put a downer on proceedings knowing that only a small area around each of the walks is protected (for now). Arriving at the car park, we saw a couple of work utes parked up with timber planks on top of one of them and as we were getting our things together, one of the workers popped out.
With two loop walks in the area, the Julius River Rainforest Walk and the Sinkhole Walk, unfortunately they let us know that part of the Rainforest Walk would be closed while they replaced some of the decking. We could still walk some of it so crossed over the titular Julius River and started the walk along the boardwalks. Immediately this seemed like it was going to be an enjoyable walk with the area around the Julius River being a lush paradise full of tree ferns, large trees, fungi and accompanied by the chorus of birds and babbling brooks. Unsure of when the walk would reach the closed section, we kept going at a gentle pace, admiring the various little river lookouts and searching for all the different kinds of fungi we could find. This had become something of a side quest for Caris and I on each hike with two sets of eyes being better than one when it came to finding all kinds of interesting shapes and colours. With the raised boardwalk providing a good viewpoint over the side of the hill and all the fallen trees, there was plenty to see along here plus the added benefit of the river below.
We made it about 400m before reaching the red tape stopping us completing the whole loop but given I'm writing this eight months after completing the walk, I'm sure the work has been finished by now. Even though this was just a short part of the walk, it was super pretty with plenty to see so it took a fair amount of time to navigate through. Eventually we reached the bridge over the Julius River and set about searching the car park for a large Mercedes. Hal was not there and with no mobile reception here, we decided to continue on and walk the second loop in the area, the Sinkhole Walk. Assured by the workers that we could complete the full loop, we set off into the forest again, ready to soak in another fantastical section of what is a magical part of the West Coast. I liked the opening path leading to the loop section with it feeling more like a Japanese forest thanks to the thin mossy trees and path leading into the unknown. The forest floor was full of fungi that were well camouflaged so it took a bit of spotting to see just how many were about. The open space narrows down as you reach the loop section with some giant trees complete with extensive root systems.
These mossy protrusions make the place look like Fangorn Forest and I was careful not to have a nap in-between the roots, just in case I was swallowed up (not that I would anyway because Leave No Trace). I instead settled on photographing these beautiful structures as the cloudy conditions provided some lovely lighting. Following the orange arrows that are sporadically placed along the trail, I stopped at a rotting piece of wood that caught my eye thanks to a bright green worm wriggling along the top. Having previously seen one of these funky worms near Walpole, this was my first Tassie sighting and it was happy to pose for a few photos. While I was slowing down quite a bit to photograph various details that caught my eye, Candy was enjoying not having Hal around to rush through the walk so was even further behind Caris and I. As you can probably tell by the scattered line on the map above, the GPS was pinging all over the place when we stopped so the 3.1km is probably much less than the actual length of the trail. Shuffling along the trial, the much slower pace allowed me to really scan the forest floor for all kinds of fungi but the low light levels meant I had to keep a steady hand to capture them.