Hi just a few photos had a great time
The Tarkine is an incredibly wild and remote corner of Tasmania that remains largely unknown to most people. I count myself lucky having walked the region twice with Tarkine Trails in a professional capacity as a photojournalist.
I was first introduced to the Tarkine rainforest accompanying The Australian’s Matthew Denholm in 2009 as he sought to discover what was special about the Tarkine in the wake of a controversial road proposal for the area by the Tasmanian Government.
Joining a group of Tarkine first-timers and Tarkine Trails guides we spent six days immersed in what must be some of the most beautiful and unspoilt temperate rainforest on the planet. Individually and as a group we were amazed at the diversity of the rainforest and the variety of landscapes that we passed through. The rainforest was so different in many areas that the six days was like walking through different rainforest ‘rooms’.
I feel I can speak for the group we travelled with in commenting on the fantastic wilderness experience provided by our guides and Tarkine Trails. Chris and Asako were professional, knowledgeable, patient, always helpful and good-humoured.
We were taken on a wilderness journey that was authentic, rejuvenating and transformative without being preached to or told what to think. Tarkine Trails have developed an admirable approach to group walking in that it is kept as closely to a genuine bushwalking experience as possible – everybody stays in tents, everybody carries their share of food and everybody looks out for each other.
We were never rushed and I always had plenty of time to gather photographs and connect with the wilderness. We fired many questions at our guides about the plants, animals, history and landscapes around us and were amazed at their breadth of knowledge and neutrality on prickly issues such as forestry, mining and the proposed road. During the evening we would often enjoy animated conversations about the area and our experiences, all accompanied by beautifully prepared and healthy meals.
Having grown up in Tasmania and bushwalked in many parts of it I had some trepidation about spending six days walking through rainforest – normally there’d be a mountain top or the coast as the target. I needn’t have worried however, as the Tarkine rainforest proved to be an incredible walking experience made even more enjoyable and enriching by Tarkine Trails, the route they’ve developed and their approach to providing rich wilderness experiences.
My personal experience of the Tarkine was enriched even further when in 2010 I joined Tarkine Trails on a six-day walk along the incredible Tarkine coast from the Pieman River heads to Sandy Cape. Walking again with a group of Tarkine newcomers and guides Darvis and Trevor my primary motivation was to put together an article and build up a bank of images on this little known part of Australia.
From the moment we left the Arcadia, after cruising the sublime Pieman River, to the very end of our journey we got to experience some of the most isolated, wildest and dramatic coastline in the world.
With relatively short daily walking distances we really had a lot of time to explore the beaches, rocky coastline, dune systems and aboriginal history of the area, enjoying time for solitude, swimming, beach cricket and photography.
The experience we had with Darvis and Trevor was totally memorable with plenty of laughs, the odd beach campfire and great food, but what really struck me about the coastal trip was the incredibly rich history we were exposed to, both Aboriginal and European.
Darvis was a magnificent storyteller enriching our walking experience with stories of the Tarkineer Aboriginals who occupied the Tarkine coast for thousands of years, their inevitable first contact with Europeans and the efforts of George Augustus Robinson in coaxing them out of the area in the early days of the Van Dieman’s Land colony.
These stories were woven for us often while looking over remanents of their civilization – middens, stone tool quarries and remains of shelters – allowing us to imagine what life must have been like on this wild and raw part of the world.
The walk was coloured by these stories building an atmosphere where many of us could transport ourselves back, in our minds at least, to a pre-European Tasmania.
This was made easier, of course, by the dramatic, unspoilt coastline wilderness along which we were walking.
As we approached Sandy Cape we came into increasing contact with recreational 4WDers. Under different circumstances there may have been potential for tension between the two groups, but our guides explained to us the long history of recreational use of the area and the rights of the 4WD users under current Tasmanian law. They also engaged the 4WDers in conversation, building a repore and diffusing any potential for tension or conflict.
Before our drive out from Sandy Cape in 4WDs ourselves Darvis took us to a small cove, complete with whale skeletons, sat us down and told us the story of the last Tarkineer chief. The whole group was mesmerised and silent as Darvis built a story of the demise of a once proud people. You could literally feel the heaviness in the hearts of all present.
With sensitivity such as this Tarkine Trails have built a walking company that is a fitting partner for the Tarkine. It is a very special part of the world and I believe it needs people like those at Tarkine Trails who can introduce other people to this remarkable landscape in a sensitive, intelligent and respectful way.
We had a wonderful time at Tiger Ridge. Our guide Trevor was fantastic. We are an older couple, relatively unfit, but we were very keen to see the rainforest. Trevor allowed us to do the rainforest walk at our own pace allowing us to enjoy the rainforest experience in a relaxed and comfortable way. We really appreciated his beautiful cooking and the interesting insights he provided along the way. The evenings in the long hut were terrific and our accommodation most comfortable. Our time in the Tarkine is one that we will treasure and always remember.
The photos show the beautiful fungi, Marg & Trevor, a typically huge fallen tree and the wonderful tree ferns.
Peter & Margaret
To everyone at Tarkine Trails, just wanted you to know that I found the Tarkine rainforest hike a profoundly wonderful experience and I’d like to thank you so much for having me along. If generating an individual’s connection with and emotional response to the rainforest is what the tours hope to achieve, it certainly worked on me. The fabulous guides, the structure of the walk, the amount of information, the daily distances, the food, the camps… all hit the right note. And I’d like to especially acknowledge Colin’s natural talent for leadership. Can’t wait to go on another hike with you soon!
It was the summer of 2005 and I was asked if I would like to join some of my collegues on the new Tarkine Rainforest Track so we could familiarise ourselves with it and put up some signs. The trip was amazing, like walking through natures own cathedral. The ground was soft and perfect for walking, almost as though mother nature was saying, thanks for visiting, allow me to put a spring in your step. A swim at heaven (see photo) was one of the trips highlights, however it was not until I left the forest and travelled back towards Hobart that the full effect of the walk was felt. My heart was so open that the centre of my chest actually hurt, as though I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms. It was a beautiful experience, one that will stay with me til the end of my days, and has been repeated on numerous trips to the Tarkine since
Simon Townsend – Owner/Manger of Tarkine Trails
here is a video of the Tarkine that we made a few years ago