CORINNA is a very isolated, old gold mining settlement on the west coast of Tasmania. At Corinna you are surrounded by a dense forest, next to a beautiful river and the effect is quite out of this world. From Corinna there are great walks into the Tarkine Forest and there is a great cruise up the Pieman River. The walks vary in difficulty and some can be done by most people. You can even kayak up the mysterious Pieman River. The area is replete with animals, who literally come to your door. There is only one hotel and this hotel runs all the accommodation and facilities. The electricity is all from solar power and the water is rain water. Note too that the Pieman River can only be crossed on a punt.
Corinna is a very isolated place. ZEEHAN is 60 minutes to the south, WARATAH is 60 minutes via a gravel road to the north east, while ARTHUR RIVER is 150 minutes via a torturous route to the north. You are 90 minutes from QUEENSTOWN and STRAHAN. Nearby places are described in the WEST COAST REGION page.
View West Coast in a larger map
FACILITIES at the Tarkine Hotel in Corinna include a general store, bar and restaurant. Accommodation is in cabins. There is also camping facilities and kayak hire. Critically, there is no mobile phone coverage and no petrol station at Corinna. Electric power is provided by solar panels and the water is captured rain water. The Pieman river punt operates only between 9 am and 7 pm or 5 pm. For all bookings contact the CORINNA WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE on (03) 6446 1170 or www.corinna.com.au
SIGHTS: The settlement of Corinna is the tiny survivor of a large gold rush. From 1893 to 1896 it was full of gold miners. The largest nugget found in Tasmania, weighing 6.6 kilograms, was found here. However by 1919 gold mining had virtually ceased, except for a brief revival in the 1930s. Today it is an Eco tourist settlement.
I have been told that the Pieman River was named after the convict Thomas Kent. He escaped a work party on this river and survived for some time by eating his mates.
Huon piners harvested trees on the Pieman River from the early 19th Century, until 1936. Since then the natural vegetation has been allowed to regenerate, so that today you can walk in lush, temperate, regenerating rain forests.
From 1936 Corinna was inhabited by only a very small number of fishermen. However, in 1970 cruises of the Pieman River began and Corinna gradually revived as an exotic tourist destination.
Warning: Driving to Corinna involves fully appreciating that this is a remote settlement. The road from Arthur River in the north C249 the Western Explorer Road is strictly for 4WD vehicles. You must also ensure that the Pieman River punt is operating by telephoning (03) 6446 1170 There is no mobile phone coverage or internet and no petrol station at Corinna. Remember too that the west coast is cold, wet and rainy in every season. Approaching Corinna from the south via ZEEHAN is the safer road.
However, the wilderness experience more than makes up for these inconveniences. There is a lot to see and do. The attractions include:
PIEMAN RIVER CRUISE is from Corinna to the Southern Ocean at Pieman Heads. It is on an ancient huon pine boat, the Arcadia. From the Pieman Heads you can walk around a unique seaside wilderness. The telephone is (03) 6446 1170 or contact www.corinna.com.au
HUON PINE TRACK is a very easy, wheel chair access, 20 minute walk from the Corinna settlement that gives you an experience of a regenerating Huon pine forest.
WHYTE RIVER TRACK is a very interesting 2 hour walk along the Whyte and Pieman rivers from Corinna.
SAVAGE RIVER TRACK is a 5 hour walk along the Pieman from Corinna to the wilderness of the Savage River.
KAYAKS can also be hired to explore the Pieman and other rivers and creeks in the Corinna area.
Mt DONALDSON TRACK is a 4 hour walk from near Corinna into the wilderness. A spectacular view from Mt Donaldson is the final goal. For more information contact www.tarkine.org
ANIMALS around Corinna include wallabies, pademelons (tiny wallabies), devils and echidnas. You are warned not to leave your shoes out, as the devils like to eat them.
ROUTE: To reach Corinna from ZEEHAN drive north on C249. This is sealed most of the way to Corinna. North of Corinna C249 becomes the Western Explorer Road and is strictly for 4WD vehicles.
To reach Corinna from Tullah drive south west on C252 This road is sealed, but it is a long route and the last part is unsealed.
To reach Corinna from ARTHUR RIVER drive south on C249 the "Western Explorer Road" , which is also called the "Road to Nowhere". This is a rough gravel road and is for 4WD vehicles only. Remember to telephone the Pieman punt on (03) 6446 1170
- Pieman River
- Western Explorer Road
1/ Corinna is an isolated settlement in western Tasmania from where you can explore the famous Tarkine forest and the beautiful Pieman River. The Tarkine Hotel in Corinna is the place from where all things happen.
2/ Accommodation at Corinna is either in modern cabins or refurbished old cottages. There is also camping facilities near the Pieman River.
3/ This is the old butcher's shop. It is now a refurbished cottage used by visitors.
4/ This is the Arcadia 2, which plies the beautiful Pieman River from Corinna to the Pieman Heads. The cruise is a very beautiful experience, as you can see in the photo essay in the next "Pieman" tab.
5/ This is the view south from Corinna to the punt loading point. If you are lucky, you get to see very beautiful reflections in the Pieman River.
6/ This is the barge the "Fatman", which takes cars across the Pieman, so that they can go on to Zeehan in the south.
7/ This sarcastic sign tells patrons how to access and how not to access the Pieman punt. I watched an amusing incident of a frustrated driver waiting on the south side only to depart just before the barge started its voyage across. It really is worth while reading the signs first.
8/ This is the Pieman River at Corinna showing its most beautiful reflective colors. See the next Pieman tab for more photos of the river.
9/ Corinna is replete with wildlife. I was very fortunate to catch this wallaby bathing in the Pieman River.
1/ This photo shows the cruise boat Arcadia leaving Corinna for a cruise down the Pieman River to the Pieman Heads. The Pieman is a near pristine river with beautiful sights around every bend.
2/ The voyage down the Pieman is a truly enchanting experience. On both sides you see a huge variety of trees looking down on you. I was impressed to discover that there are few birds in this area, because this forest goes back to a time before birds existed.
3/ This is the stair way at Lovers Landing. It leads to one of the trails that can only be accessed by kayaks.
4/ At this point the boat briefly sailed down the Savage River. The large river to the right is the Pieman.
5/ Where the river is calm, you see beautiful reflections.
6/ There were many water birds on the Pieman River. They showed little fear of humans. We were able to approach this bird quite closely, before if flew away.
7/ This photo of the south bank shows the large variety of trees that you see all along the Pieman River.
8/ This rock marks a narrow point in the river where engineers once considered making a dam. Fortunately, they put up the dam 30 kilometres to the east, which largely saved the river.
9/ The Pieman wends and weaves its way to the sea.
10/ This photo shows the huge mixture of huon pines, sassafras, myrtle and blackwood trees that make up the Tarkine forest.
11/ This photo shows Mt Donaldson, which looks down on the Pieman River near the Pieman Heads.
12/ The stillness of the Pieman River abruptly ends when you see and hear the roar of the crashing waves of the Pieman Heads. Many ships were lost crossing these Heads in the 19th Century.
13/ This photo shows the small settlement of fishermen, who live at the Pieman Heads.
14/ This is the jetty at Pieman Heads. The river becomes unsafe beyond this point.
15/ The colorful fishermen of the Pieman Heads live in a exotic variety of shacks.
16/ This photo looks south down the beach at the Pieman Heads. We were warned to never bath in these dangerous waters. The beach was replete with drift wood. Note the rocks on the distant sky line.
17/ This is a telephoto view of the same rocks. They were about 2 kilometres away and the large rock is about 10 metres high. I saw waves breaking high above this rock. The power of the crashing waves emphasized how dangerous are the waters of the Great Southern Ocean.
18/ This view was taken near the Pieman Heads. The Southern Ocean you see here extends all the way to south America. The rocks in the middle ground were about 5 metres high.
19/ This is a telephoto view of the same rocks. The roar of the waves crashing against them was very impressive.
20/ This is the view from the dunes near the coast looking towards the south east. The black vegetation was caused by a recent bush fire.
21/ This photo looks east across a debris field of drift wood towards the Pieman Heads settlement.
1/ Corinna offers some enchanting walks, where you can really experience the wonders of the ancient Tarkine forest. This sign at the Corinna settlement shows you the walks and their return times. Note that some walks require you to drive a few kilometres from the Corinna settlement. You can also kayak on the Pieman and nearby rivers. The photo essay below was taken on the Whyte River, Savage River and Mount Donaldson tracks.
2/ This photo was taken on the Savage River Trail. It shows the extremely large variety of colors, textures and shapes that you see on the trails. I stopped trying to count the number of shades of green and blue that I could see.
3/ This is a young wallaby. Wildlife is prolific in the Corinna area. Best of all the animals show little fear of humans, which makes them easy to photograph.
4/ A large variety of fungus types are native to the Tarkine. These fungus are about the size of dinner plates.
5/ This lovely orange colored fungus was also about the size of dinner plates. I photographed it in an open area on the Savage River Trail.
6/ I was surprised to find that fungus can also be black. These fungus were also the size of dinner plates. This photo was taken on the Savage River Trail.
7/ The Tarkine exudes an air of ancient mystery. I was enchanted by the extreme varieties of colors, textures and shapes that I could see in all directions.
8/ This photo shows the gentle Savage River. It was photographed from the Savage River bridge. There are numerous rivers and creeks in the Tarkine.
9/ These two trees were very large and very old. There were many such trees on the Whyte River Trail.
10/ This photo shows a relatively open area on the Mount Donaldson Trail. The area was probably logged in recent times. The vegetation patterns on the trails varied considerably.
11/ Despite the extensive logging that was inflicted on this area in the 19th Century, there were still many ancient trees. This trunk was about two metres wide.
12/ Large areas of the Tarkine are covered in man ferns. They were the plants that were once grazed on by dinosaurs. The Tarkine forest is a living remnant of Gondwanaland, the ancient super continent.
13/ This is the view towards a distant Mount Donaldson. It shows the varieties of vegetation that you see in the Tarkine; button grass, forest and mountain peaks.
14/ This closer view shows Mount Donaldson, which is 440 metres high. It is totally button grass covered and gives wonderful views of the local area.
15/ I was impressed by these dead trees standing amidst a large variety of living plants. They emphasized to me the cyclic nature of all life.
16/ These dead white trees looked like pieces of sculpture. For some reason the dead trees came in distinct sections.
17/ This young Huon pine contrasted very well with the distant Mount Donaldson.
1/ The most challenging way to reach Corinna is via C249 the Western Explorer Road. This road is only for rough terrain vehicles. The road is 78 kilometres long, has no fuel points, no settlements, no mobile phone coverage and some very steep hills. However, the views of the mountains and button grass plains of the Tarkine are really spectacular. This gallery will take you on our journey from near Corinna in the south to the northern exit of the road. The Western Explorer Road is one of the great unknown and unexploited assets of Tasmanian tourism. It is easy to imagine it being a major tourist drive, if the the road was upgraded. This photo shows the view looking south east towards Corinna. The road is white, because it is covered in crushed quartz, taken from nearby mines.
2/ This view also looks east towards the Meredith Range. In the foreground are fields of button grass, beyond are the vast pristine forests of the Tarkine. This grass supports a large population of native animals. Unfortunately, recent human intervention in this area has caused a large number of trees to catch a disease and die. This is what has caused the dead group of trees in the middle. This tree disease was totally unexpected and proves that human intervention has to be strictly controlled.
3/ This view looks south towards Mount Donaldson. Beyond it is Corinna the only settlement in this area. The peak was covered in button grass. It shows the classic colours and shapes of the Tarkine.
4/ This is a close up view of button grass. It grows to almost a metre high and contains a wide variety of plants. Button grass supports a large population of native animals.
5/ This photo looks towards the south across fields of button grass and forests. In lots of places I felt like Dorothy travelling down the Yellow Brick Road to the wonderful Kingdom of Oz. The Western Explorer Road is mostly quartz covered, but it is bitumen on the steeper hills to prevent the damage of water erosion.
6/ This photo shows a large flat top hill covered in button grass. The grass is broken up by an area of dead and living trees. I was fascinated by the many shades of green that I saw in the Tarkine.
7/ This photo shows the wide variety of vegetation that you see in the Tarkine. The Western Explorer Road tends to stay in the grass covered areas, as this was the easiest area to build the road in.
8/ This photo was taken on Mt Longback and is looking towards the north. Just beyond this point the road had been closed by a landslide ending my first trip in May 2014. The road in this section was so steep that I had to climb it in my car's first gear. It is an ugly photo, but I decided to included it to show you the strange sights that you can see. The closer trees have a strange shape, because they are recovering from bush fire damage. Beyond them are the stark masts of the trees killed by the disease.
9/ This photo looks south towards Mt Longback. It is 518 metres high. I shot this photo in the late afternoon, as a cloud cast its shadow on the mountain. The road climbs Mt Longback just beyond this photo. The area of the avalanche that stopped my first trip was here on Mt Longback. I was fascinated by the strange shapes of the dead trees lining the road in this section. These vast areas of dead trees have a strange, almost surreal atmosphere about them. The other thing that really impressed me was the total silence of the place. Once I switched off the motor of my car, the only thing that I could hear was the slight whistle of the breeze. It is the combination of silence, shapes, textures and colours that make the Tarkine a very special place.
10/ This photo looks south towards Mt Bolton. This mountain is an impressive 485 metres high. The road comes quite close to this mountain. You can see how steep the road can be in this photo.
11/ This photo looks towards the south west at Mt Holloway, which is 585 metres high. It was part of a vast panorama of mountains in this direction. I love the way that the late afternoon sun light has brought our the rich colours of the button grass plains in this photo.
12/ This photo looks towards the west at Mounts Vero, Hadmar and Edith. Again you can see the vast plains of button grass punctuated by impressive mountains that make up the Tarkine.
13/ This photo looks to the west across forests and plains towards the distant mountains. It was taken from one of the few viewing points on the road. It shows you the many shades of green that you see in the Tarkine.
14/ When trees are separated out from a forest, you can begin to appreciate their individuality. In the afternoon light their canopies reflect the light in a very lovely way. This photo is looking towards the north. The pyramid hill in the centre is a distant Mt Balfour.
15/ This photo looks towards the south west towards the Norfolk Range. You can see the Western Explorer Road in the distance in the centre of the photo. In this area the dense forest had been broken up by vast fields of button grass. I loved watching the shadows of clouds slowly roll over the plains.
16/ This is another view of the mountains of the Norfolk Range. Again you can see the rolling plains and hills that make up the Tarkine.
17/ The Western Explorer Road tries to avoid the vast areas of forest, but in many sections it had to cross them. I included this photo to give you some idea of what it is like to drive through these ancient forests. The trees that you see in this photo are more than 60 metres high.
18/ This is another view of the Norfolk Range.
19/ This photo looks west towards Mt Hazelton. It shows you how the button grass areas are often quite hilly with copses of trees in the valleys in between.
20/ This is another view of Mt Hazelton. It was shot from about 10 kilometres north of the photo above. I love the way that colours here look almost like a painting.
21/ This view looks south at Mt Frankland on the left, a distant Mt Balfour in the centre and Mount Little Frankland on the right. It shows you what much of the road looked like in 2015. In this section the holes had been filled in, but in other sections they were quite large and could easily brake an axel. Signs warn you that there is no fuel and no mobile phone coverage on this road.
22/ A number of tracks diverge from the Western Explorer Road. These tracks are only for those drivers, who really know what they are doing. This one goes to the abandoned mining town of Balfour. Note how the sign urges drivers to have snorkels for wading through flooded roads, as well as winches to pull cars out of bogs. Note how it also advises you to travel in a convoy. My photo shows you why. If you get stuck on one of these tracks, you may have a long walk back to the Western Explorer Road and even then you won't be able to telephone for help.