It’s early morning. With a nudge, my kayak floats out onto the dark waters of the Pieman River. Ancient takayna/Tarkine rainforest hugs the banks with impenetrable deep greens. Mist blankets the tannin-stained waters ahead. The silence – it’s otherworldly.
We’re on our way to Lovers Falls. We’d been told the mirrored reflections of the takayna/Tarkine, Australia’s largest temperate rainforest, would be well worth our early rise. It feels like we’re the only humans on earth as our paddles dip into the Pieman, gently pushing us further from the historic mining town of Corinna. But many have lived and explored these parts before us. For some 40,000 years the region was home to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Tarkiner people. Corinna itself is the Aboriginal name for a young Tasmanian tiger and you could be forgiven for thinking you might find one out here.
Fast forward to 1881 and Corinna became popular among white settlers in the hunt for gold. When the biggest nugget of gold ever discovered in Tasmania (at a whopping 7.5 kilos) was discovered in 1883 not far from Corinna, folk flocked here and the population swelled to 2500.
As our chatter fills the crisp morning air, we spot it. A staircase in the wilderness. The wooden stairs, wrapped in rainforest, look like they lead to some heavenly wild secret. As the story goes, two lovers on their honeymoon found gold here. They found a nugget so mighty that they took it back to Hobart Town and turned it into a bustling hotel.
We berth our kayaks at the stairs and ascend into cool wilderness. takayna/Tarkine is a living and breathing connection to the ancient supercontinent Gondwana, and we can feel every bit of this. As Lovers Falls cascade down, I close my eyes and hear its rush with greater power. I breathe. Nature is in charge here. The present moment has arrived in all its simplicity and untouched goodness. It’s magical.
Back in our kayaks we paddle up Savage River, home to Australia’s furthest inland shipwreck. We paddle around the SS Croydon’s ruin, still holding its precious Huon pine cargo from 1919. Rumour has it this ship was purposefully sunk by the sailors, who then took off to the pub. It’s here we leave our kayaks for the trusty Corinna staff to collect later. We then set out on foot in the takayna/Tarkine back to the comfort of our miner-style Corinna cabins.
This return wander is where we get up close to the micro-beauty of the rainforest. Bright-green moss clings to Huon pines that have lived here thousands of years. Species of fungi, moss and liverworts abound. We later read that 92 moss species and 151 liverwort varieties have been recorded.
With our souls nourished, we arrive back at Corinna. Huddled in a rustic open-air dining hut, we get the fire roaring. This is what Corinna does so well. It’s basic, it’s raw and it ensures you remain connected to the wilderness (though you can enjoy exceptional fare at the Tannin Restaurant mid September to mid May). Tucked up in my cosy cottage in the rainforest, I drift off to dreams of the Tasmanian tigers who might still roam about Corinna …
1 Corinna Road, Corinna
(03) 6446 1170