The Tarkine Drive follows 125km of road but millions of years of natural history through takayna / Tarkine.
One of the Southern Hemisphere's great wildernesses, this is one of the last remnants of the cool-temperate rainforests of Gondwanaland.
Along the sealed drive, pull over to walk to beauty spots with sweeping views, stroll through mystical rainforests and picnic among giant ferns and intriguing fungi.
From Smithton, it’s a 50km drive to the beginning of the Tarkine Drive, just outside Marrawah in the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area. Ahead of you is 80km of coastal scenery and untamed forests along the Arthur River Road (C214) before connecting with the Rapid River Road (C218).
The route takes travellers to the dramatic views at the Edge of the World lookout, to see ancient Aboriginal rock carvings at the mouth of Sundown Creek and to stretch the legs at Rebecca Lagoon with its easy 20min amble through paperbarks and tea tree. For those up for more of a challenge, the 3hr Balfour Packhorse track is an adventurous walk in towering rainforests of myrtle, sassafras and eucalypts.
Heading inland, Kanunnah Bridge Picnic Area takes its name from the Tasmanian Aboriginal name for the thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger. These animals were last seen alive in the 1930s, though some believe they still might exist out here in wild takayna / Tarkine.
Pull over at Sumac Lookout, which looks over the Arthur River and a forest of tall eucalypts, while Julius River Forest Reserve is just the spot for a picnic before or after taking one of the short circular walks (30-40min). Keep an eye out for shy platypuses.
At Lake Chisholm Forest Reserve, see flooded limestone sinkholes and lichen-covered trees on a meandering walk through old myrtle beech forest and beside still lakes. Milkshakes Hills Forest Reserve has picnic spots and a 15min forest boardwalk, or take the 1hr loop walk to the summit lookout.
It’s just a 20min walk from the road to find Trowutta Arch, the prize of the Tarkine Drive. This is a rare geological formation with an accompanying sinkhole, or cenote. Quiet and green, the pool is shielded from the sun by the rainforest canopy, creating a magical otherworld.