Savage River 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 - Corinna is a small hamlet on the edge of the Tarkine buried within an abundance of natural beauty. This was the main reason that Candy and Hal chose to spend a few days here, along with the excellent kayaking opportunities, and I'm very happy they did. With a multitude of hiking trails in the area, we had just enough time to get them all in during our stay. After a morning spent exploring the amazing Philosopher Falls, an hours drive away, I had my eyes set on the Savage River Walk that takes you from the Tarkine Hotel along the Pieman River, up a hill and over to the Savage River before returning on the same path.
Caris was not quite as keen on another hike so was content to potter around the cabin reading her book (which was about fictional hikers getting murdered in Tasmania). Grabbing a new battery and filling up my water bottles, I left the cabin and walked down the hill to the edge of the Pieman River where the cable ferry operates. Passing the characterful Tarkine Hotel, I was soon at the trail head servicing the much smaller Huon Pine Walk we did the previous afternoon and the Savage River Walk I was just about to do. As the Huon Pine Walk is wheelchair accessible, the first 300m of trail that they share is all boardwalk and coincidently, I ended up taking many of the same shots as the previous afternoon. This probably isn't much of a coincident as what I'm looking for angle wise on a hike wouldn't change from one day to the next. The boardwalk section is pleasant with a mix of forest, river views and bracket fungi everywhere. With much better lighting at the end of the Huon Pine Walk to view a surviving Huon Pine hanging out over the water, it still wasn't good enough to get a decent shot of these ancient trees.
Stepping off the boardwalk, you start along the Savage River Walk with a single track taking you further into the forest but still running parallel with the Pieman River. Little yellow markers on trees and fallen logs guide your passage but it's fairly easy to figure out where to go given the well trodden pad. With no boardwalk around it started to feel like a proper hike but the infrastructure pieces continued on this trail with a series of wooden stairs taking you and down a small hill. Not overly engineered, they don't take away from the natural look of the place and are only in place when the track would get too muddy or eroded. This damp river section was a delight thanks to the large ferns everywhere and thick trunked trees taking root on the side of the hill. This would not be unique to the river section with this part of the world mostly being untouched and the trees allowed to grow as long as conditions are right and widespread fire doesn't devastate the area.
Reaching a little creek feeding into the Pieman River, it was a cool spot to slow down and enjoy. The water like most streams, creeks and rivers in Tasmania was anything but clear thanks to the tannins that flow from the decaying matter all around. This was another haven for the large ferns that dominate the wetter parts lining the river and was one of the sunnier spots on the whole walk thanks to the creek opening up a little gap in the forest canopy. This marks the end of the Pieman River section and the start of the climbing up to the highest point on the hike. I didn't expect such a big hill when I looked at one of the maps located in the centre of Corinna as it looked to mostly follow the edge of the water but between the Pieman and Savage Rivers is a small bump that means a 150m climb in elevation and then descent back down (twice if you are doing a return walk like I did). Initially the ascent is a little steep with gradients in the late teens in percentage terms but this is helped out with more wooden steps but in a slightly different style (stoppers instead of full stairs).
This felt much more like I was heading into the wilder parts of the forest with the scenery changing all around to be much more overgrown but in a good way. When there was no steps to contend with, the walking pad looked very natural with a bed of dead leaves snaking through the mossy ground. Around almost every corner was a lovely example of an centuries old tree also covered in moss and fungi just loving life in this part of the world. I was also loving life because how often do you get a couple of weeks to just hike amazing trails, especially in places like Western Tasmania. I've said this many times before about my Tassie posts but this whole stretch just felt like a fairy tale forest. Enclosed within the shroud of the thick canopy, the mossy ground looked soft and inviting with the tree trucks providing a wealth of life to grow off them. The gnarly shapes of distant branches and the visible root systems of the bigger trees added to the magic and I had a great time wandering slowly through this dream scene. With the wide views providing a pretty façade, there was more to discover when you looked closer with a lot of different fungi to find along with some delicate and vibrant plants.