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Most visitors to Tasmania are searching for an escape from the congestion and stress of large cities. They come in search of wild landscapes, ancient rain-forests, and Australia’s cleanest, freshest air.

For those who fly into Hobart, they find a hub of history, arts, festivals, food, and modern culture. But for those seeking nature; truly untouched, untamed, and unexplored style nature; Tasmania’s west is one of Australia’s last true wilderness frontiers.

Secretly tucked away along the southern fringes of the Tarkine Wilderness Area, the Corinna Wilderness Experience is a wilderness retreat which offers an escape from places that are increasingly falling victim to overtourism.

Corinna is one of the most beautiful remote parts of the world yet surprisingly still easily accessible. While set within Australia’s largest area of Gondwanan cool-temperate rainforest, Corinna was once a historic gold mining town.

Positioned just steps from the pristine rainforest and beautiful silent Pieman River, there are a number of adventurous activities available to those modern day explorers looking for an epic holiday.

This article will dive into how you can escape to Corinna, and spend time exploring the pristine wilds of Western Tasmania yourself.

Catching Your Breath in the Pristine Wilds of Tasmania: Corinna Wilderness Experience

Megan Jerrard Tarkine Tasmania

Getting to Corinna

Corinna can be reached from Hobart with a scenic 5-hour drive, though you can get there in half the time if catching the Spirit of Tasmania from the mainland, and driving off the ship in Devonport.

A visit to this incredible slice of heaven can easily be combined with a stopover at the iconic Cradle Mountain, or Strahan with its access to the Gordon River and West Coast Wilderness Railway. However, be warned that upon reaching Corinna, you may not want to leave in favour of anywhere else.

The journey to Corinna does involve gravel roads in some parts, but is accessible to standard 2WD vehicles. In coming from the south, you get to enjoy taking the exciting 10-minute ride across the Pieman River via the “Fatman” barge.

As you make your way closer and closer to the small settlement of Corinna, you can feel the access to cell coverage and internet being stripped away. It is a welcomed sense of freedom which forces you to log off and relax.

Note that no petrol stations are found at Corinna so be sure to fully fill up in nearby towns.

Gold Mining & The Tasmanian Tiger

A Brief History of Corinna

Corinna Wilderness Experience Tasmania (2)

In February 2018, two Western Australian tourists travelling through Corinna reported they came across a legendary creature, when it walked in front of their hire car on to the road before them.

Corinna was home to aboriginal communities for tens of thousands of years before European Settlement of the island. At that time it is believed the area went by the name Royenrine, which may have been an Aboriginal name for a young Tasmanian tiger.

It makes sense that Corinna would be associated with the legendary Tasmanian tiger (officially extinct, though many still believe in its existence), as the marsupial now thought to be extinct once roamed the surrounding forests.

While there are no confirmed sightings or evidence of a thylacine to prove its continued existence, a recent report from the Tasmanian government tells of a tiger being sighted as recently as last year near Corinna; the Western Australian tourists were 100% certain the dog-like creature with stripes was in fact a Tasmanian tiger.

A Gold Mining Town

White settlers arrived in Corinna during the late 19th century in search of gold. The population reached several thousand, many making their way here by boat up the Pieman River.

The introduction of railways saw the town’s population quickly dwindle and while many of the original buildings have been lost, many of them still remain standing, having been refurbished into accommodation today.

At the turn of the 20th century, Corinna was inhabited by just a single ferryman and it would not be until the 21st century that the Corinna Wilderness Experience would be born.

Today, Corinna’s new cosy wilderness cottage retreats welcome adventurous souls looking to see the real Tasmania.

Our Wilderness Retreat Cottage

Corinna Wilderness Experience Tasmania (2)

There are around a dozen one and two bedroom cottages available to guests at Corinna that back onto the rainforest.

There is also the option of staying in the 100-year-old “Old Pub” with multiple rooms that would be ideal for larger families, as well as non-powered campsites available for those wanting an even more natural experience.

The eco-friendly cottages exhibit a rustic exterior but comfortable modern interior. What it lacks in cell service and Wi-Fi it makes up for with stunning views of giant ferns and surrounding forest.

Our cottage was equipped with a small kitchen which offers a dining table, refrigerator, and cook top. As Corinna is quite isolated, it was nice to be able to self-cater meals, however there is a lovely restaurant available during the summer months for those not coming with food supplies of their own.

A lovely private verandah offers the perfect place to sit outside with a coffee or tea, possibly watching the cute pademelons roam just below your feet. The only sound present was that of the many wild birds that call Corrina home.

Photos of Our Cabin (McGinty)

Corinna Wilderness Experience Cabin Accommodation (1)

Eco Tourism Status

Corinna Wilderness Experience has achieved both EarthCheck Assessed and Advanced Accreditation under the Eco Tourism Australia rating system.

They allow you to minimize your carbon footprint during your stay through the use of rain water, eco certified products, recycling programs, chemical free sewage treatment, non plastic packaging, and solar power.

While you may be off-grid, you’ll still enjoy hot water showers, and backup generators are on site.

Each cottage is named after local early-day pioneers. Our Cabin was named McGinty, honouring the gold prospector who discovered Tasmania’s largest gold nugget ever.

The gold nugget was discovered near Corinna in a small tributary of the Whyte River named Rocky River. Even after cashing in on his find, James McGinty returned to the beautiful wilds of Western Tasmaniato live out his years.

The various other buildings you see on site include the old Butcher’s Shop and General Store, which house the permanent staff of the eco-resort.

Food and Drink at Corinna

Corinna Restaurant Tasmania

Corinna is home to the Tannin restaurant, named for the tannin stained waters of the Pieman River. Open during the summer months, the chef prepares lunch and dinner using local Tasmanian ingredients whenever possible.

Enjoy local Tasmanian salmon, leatherwood honey, local beer and wine, homemade soups, and hearty scotch fillets. Meal sizes are positively huge, so be aware of this when ordering.

After an entree and a main, you might find you don’t have adequate room in your stomach for dessert, but trust me when I say that the sticky date pudding (served with butterscotch sauce, strawberries and icecream), and rich chocolate mousse (served with doughnut balls, candied almonds and orange) will mean you’ll find room!

Although the restaurant closes down during the rainy winter months, you can still purchase quality chef prepared frozen meals you can reheat in your cottage’s own kitchen. You will also find a small offering of snacks and beverages for purchase at reception.

The nearest grocery stores are a distance away in Zeehan, Sheffield, and Burnie. Guests looking to cater their own meals should therefore stock up before arrival and pack coolers.

Activities Offered at Corinna

Corinna hike hiking western Tasmania (1)

Pieman River Cruise

Pieman River Cruise Corinna Tasmania

One of the main highlights of staying at Corinna is booking a Pieman River Cruise. The cruise takes place on the 80-year-old vessel Arcadia II which is listed on the Australian register of Historic Vessels, crafted from gorgeous Huon pine.

Once used as a WWII supply ship, scallop fishing boat, and Gordon River cruise boat, it finally found its potential forever home in the 1970s taking guests up the Pieman River towards Pieman Heads and the wild waves of the West Coast.

The roughly 4 hour cruise on Arcadia II takes passengers up the river where spotting giant white-bellied sea eagles is common. You’ll get to see a giant eagle’s nest along the way as well as some rare plants such as the slender tree fern.

After a scenic hour and a half cruise, the journey stops at Pieman Heads where you are given a bagged lunch and an hour of free time to explore the rugged coastline at your leisure. Make your way past the village of small shacks to gain access to the windswept beaches and dunes of the wild, wild west!

Beer and wine are available for purchase onboard, and complimentary coffee/tea and snacks are provided along the way. A bathroom is available on board, and there is also a toilet block available at Pieman Heads.

Fun fact for history lovers: The Pieman may have been named after an early Irish convict named Alexander Pearce. Pearce spent time in Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour but managed to escape several prisons whereupon he became a cannibal due to the lack of food.

Scenes from the horror movie Dying Breed (based on Pearce) were shot along the Pieman River. But a more settling version how the Pieman River got its name comes from the pastry chef named Thomas Kent who was an early convict, captured at the mouth of the Pieman after escaping Tasmanian prison.

Sweetwater Cruise

Sweetwater cruise Corinna

Visitors short on time or simply wanting a shorter cruise option can take the Sweetwater Cruise which takes place on a smaller vessel.

Access the Savage River in addition to the Pieman and check out the wreck of the SS Croydon. You will also get the chance to hike to the scenic Lover’s Falls, which is one of the most ‘Insta-worthy’ spots in the region.

Kayaking

Those wanting to make their own journey along the Pieman or other nearby creeks and rivers can rent a kayak or canoe from Corinna’s available fleet.

Rentals come with life jackets. Enjoy a wide range of different kayak trails which range anywhere from 2-5 hours return. You can kayak the Pieman, Savage, and Whyte Rivers as well as a number of creeks.

Hiking at Corinna

Corinna hike hiking western Tasmania (1)

Corinna is a hikers paradise, and the vast number of trails here makes hiking one of the most popular things to do.

Those wanting to stretch their legs can enjoy a wide range of hiking trails, which can accommodate nearly any fitness level. Some walks can be completed in as little as 15 minutes while others can be half-day affairs.

Some of the most notable walks include the Huon Pine Walk & Whyte River Walk. Don’t miss the short boardwalk to see the burrowing crayfish mounds near the cottages or the trail that leads to early pioneer graves that can be found on the southern side of the Pieman River.

More experienced hikers looking to break a sweat can tackle the Savage River Walk or Mt. Donaldson Walk. Keep an eye out for pademelons, wallabies, echidnas, platypuses along the river, and plenty of fascinating plants.

There are also some great fishing spots to take advantage of. You will find maps of the available hikes spread throughout the resort and some are positioned along trails stating where you currently are to help you avoid getting lost.

Note to hikers: Note that, like everywhere in Tasmania, there are venomous snakes present in the warmer months which include the tiger snake.

Snakes are very timid and will most likely flee long before you see them, but it is always a good idea to pay them respect and wear heavy duty footwear along with snake gaiters if you plan on doing the more rugged backcountry hikes.

Corinna’s Unique Flora and Fauna

Corinna Western Tasmania

Human guests at Corinna will be far outnumbered by the wildlife that can be found here. You’re guaranteed to see pademelons and red-necked wallabies, and there’s is always the chance of spotting an endangered tiger quoll.

Many of Tasmania’s endemic birds can also be spotted at Corinna, such as the orange-bellied parrot, black currawong, and green rosella. We had the luck of spotting a white-phase grey goshawk during our stay.

Other wildlife found in the region include Tasmanian devils, wombats, and pygmy possums, but while the listing of animals is impressive, the true stars are the plants found here.

Over 400 plant species can be found here, many of which are quite rare. Corinna is the northernmost point where Huon pine can be seen growing in the wild and other notable plants include leatherwood, sassafras, king billy pine, myrtle beech, pencil pine, soft tree fern, slender tree fern, and the crazy cutting grass.

There are numerous plant identification guides spread throughout the resort and bird identification field guides can be found at reception along with other great books about Tasmania.

Book The Corinna Wilderness Experience

Corinna Tasmania

For full details on barge access times, restaurant open hours, accommodation options and prices (along with special package deals), and the full list of activities available along with their fees, head over to the Corinna Wilderness Experience website.

The best time to visit Tasmania is commonly thought to be December to February (summer), though this is peak season, so we recommend booking your trip well in advance if traveling during this time.

Spring is shoulder season in Tasmania (September to November), so if willing to travel in late October as we did, you’ll benefit from mild weather, and full access to all facilitates (like the restaurant), but with less other travelers.

Jump over to corinna.com.au to book your stay!

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.

    

    2 Comments

  1. Great post!
    And images are awesome..

    • Thanks Devesh! Hope you have the opportunity to spend time at Corinna too :)

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