Australia's largest expanse of cool-temperate rainforest blankets Tasmania’s north-west.
It’s a mossy, magical place; an enchanted forest framed by buttongrass moorlands and a rugged, rarely seen coastline.
The wilderness spans a huge area, about half the size of Lebanon. From the south, takayna / Tarkine is entered by riding the Fatman Barge, a vehicle ferry that crosses the dark, mirrored waters of the Pieman River. From the north, the approach skirts the wild north-west coastline, passing the Edge of the World, where the Southern Ocean charges ashore. It’s all as evocative as it sounds.
The forest is filled with myrtle beech, celery top pine and blackwood, with the area’s wild rivers lined with Huon pines, one of the world’s oldest trees. The waterways can be explored in kayaks or on river cruises, and walking trails head deep into the fairytale forest or climb to low mountain peaks.
This one-time gold-mining town turned eco resort sits in the rainforest on the bank of the Pieman River, making for easy access to a river cruise, kayaks, accommodation and an array of walks.
Edge of the World
As the road hits the west coast at Arthur River, take the short detour to Gardiner Point to find yourself at the Edge of the World, staring across the longest uninterrupted stretch of ocean on the planet. Driftwood litters the shores, and waves hurtle onto the coast in wild scenes along a frayed and furious coast.
Loop through northern takayna / Tarkine on this 60km drive from either Stanley or Smithton. The drive includes more than 20 stops, with highlights including the rainforest around Julius River, views into the forest from the Milkshake Hills, and the fern-filled natural archway and sinkholes at Trowutta Arch.
Huon Pine Walk
A 600m return walk follows the forested bank of the Pieman River to an ancient Huon pine overhanging the river. The 20-minute stroll is on boardwalk, and is one of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks.
Get perspective on takayna / Tarkine, setting out through thick forest and then rising through buttongrass moorland to a sweeping view over the area from the summit of this 437m peak (3hr return, 7km).
An easy trail follows an old mining water race through the forest to this multi-tiered waterfall, with a viewing platform reached at the base of a long set of steps (1hr return, 3km).
Multi-day guided walks range from rainforest experiences to more challenging and remote coastal expeditions.
Pieman River cruise
Set sail from Corinna on the historic Arcadia II, heading downstream on the Pieman River to the coast at Pieman Heads.
Arthur River cruise
Explore the northern edge of takayna / Tarkine on a 14km cruise along the Arthur River, disappearing deep into rainforest, with Arthur River Cruises.
Kayak on the Pieman River
Hire kayaks from Corinna and paddle downstream, often through flawless reflections, to beautiful Lovers Falls or over the furthest inland shipwreck in Australia.
Need to know
Stay in takayna / Tarkine at converted miners’ cottages at Corinna and at Arthur River. Nearby towns with accommodation include Smithton, Stanley, Waratah, Tullah and Zeehan.
Through-roads in takayna / Tarkine are the unsealed Western Explorer between Smithton and Zeehan and the B23 from Corinna to Waratah. The Fatman barge over the Pieman River operates daily 9am-7pm during daylight saving time (October-April), and 9am-5pm at other times.
Corinna, at the southern end of takayna / Tarkine, is a 5hr drive (350km) north-west of Hobart, and a 3hr 30min drive (250km) west of Launceston. Arthur River, at the northern end, is a 3hr 30min drive (290km) west of Launceston.