Have you been longing for the ultimate digital detox?
Perhaps a journey back in time to one of the oldest and wildest natural playgrounds in Australia is on the cards.
July 20th I was invited down to stay at the stunning Corinna Wilderness Eco Lodge and experience some of the untouched beauties of the area and surrounding Tarkine wilderness.
The dates were open, but I was adamant that winter would be the best option for me, both in regards to fewer people but also wild weather. Something Tasmania is well known for.
Flying into Launceston my friend Matt and I hopped in our hire SUV and made our way to the lodge.
As any photographer knows, estimated travel times and actual travel times rarely match up when you are faced with amazing views out of every window.
The lodge features 20 self-contained eco-cabins that rely purely on solar power and are heated by natural gas. During the summer months, the lodge is teeming with weekend escapees and outdoor enthusiasts, keen to make the most of the beautiful weather.
During the heart of winter, however, you could end up being the only guests in the entire area. Which as luck had it, we were 2 of 6 for the first 2 nights.
Winter also means the restaurant is closed, which is a shame as it looked damn cozy. The bar however, runs on a need to serve basis. So, there is always a cold brew waiting for you after a long day on the trails.
Dylan from the lodge contacted us before our arrival with a winter menu that featured a great selection of meals that would be frozen and left in our kitchen for us to reheat over the stove. All meals were catered for as were our dietary requirements. The caramel sauce is epic!
For anyone worried about cold nights in the cabin, the gas heater produces enough heat to dry out a small lake. And definitely enough to dry those wet boots and jackets each night.
The road into Corinna is stunning. We found every bend produced a new opportunity to stop and take photos.
Philosophers Falls was a necessary stop and our first introduction to the beautiful rainforests of the area. The walk itself was a comfortable 2-hour round trip down to the lookout and back. I would have liked to explore the base of the falls, but we were already running out of light.
Driving along the ridgeline of the area produces some fantastic views. If the sky lights up, you get a tremendous view of the surrounding valleys.
The area is prone to snow, so if you are keen on seeing the rainforest dusted white, then always be prepared.
Pieman River Cruise
During winter the cruise runs depending on guest numbers, so it's best to call ahead or check with the front desk about which day(s) might work best. Luckily for us, and them, 4 other guests were staying at the lodge. The weather was gloomy, but I knew it would make for incredible shots.
Les was a wealth of knowledge, and it was clear he had a passion for the boat and the river it sailed down. The Arcadia II is the only Huon Pine vessel in the world and has all the charm and class of an 1800's boat.
Around 2.5 hours into the trip, we neared the Pieman Heads. The water was calm enough for us to dock and we set off up to the driftwood laden beach.
I managed to capture a few of these drone shots before the heavens opened up and we were absolutely drenched.
Back on board, we passed some ferns that were recently thought to be extinct. We were also fortunate enough to see two amazing white sea eagles.
During the summer months, it's definitely wise to book ahead as the cruise can often see up to 40 guests pile aboard.
We had read online about the Tarkine Drive that winds its way through the heart of the Tarkine and can be made into a circuit that is roughly 60km long. The drive to get there, however, takes some time. Around 1.5-2.5 hours, depending on your vehicle and any trees that have fallen over the road. A 2WD vehicle could make it if going slowly. I recommend a mid-sized SUV or any AWD vehicle.
There are several short and medium distance hikes and leisurely walks around the truly stunning area. Even in the heavy intermittent rain, the canopy was thick enough to shield us from the brunt of the water.
I highly recommend exploring the Trowutta Arch, the walk-in is quite unique, and the arch at the end is even better.
If you work your way around the drive in an anti-clockwise direction you can end your day at on the wild western coastline. Bluff Hill Point is the western most tip of Tasmania and features some incredible swells.
No visit to Corinna would be complete without the stunning 360-degree views afforded by Mt Donaldson. The 420m exposed 'peak' is by no means a strenuous climb with a gradual incline that's doable in 1.5 hours at a steady pace. It is, however, incredibly exposed to some of Tasmania's harshest conditions.
The entrance to the hike is located 10-minutes along the Western Explorer (C249). Just near the Savage River bridge, you will find a small carpark.
We had hoped to arrive well before sunset to make the most of the varying conditions. But, like every hike in the area, mandatory photo stops soon double the hiking time.
The weather came in hard with belting hail and gale-force winds that made Matt question what the hell we were actually doing up there. We could see in the distance that the rain was coming in quickly but also passing within 5-10 minutes.
100m from the summit and we decided to make the push before the last fleeting light of the evening. The view from the top was really something else. To the west, we could see the ocean, to the north cloud-filled valleys and lush rolling hills to the east.
I highly recommend you take a reliable head torch/flashlight for the descent as most of the path is literally a narrow slushy stream. Ankle roll haven.
We decided to explore some of the short walks that leave straight from the lodge itself. The Huon Pine Walk is a short 15-20 minute, wheelchair-accessible boardwalk which follows the shores of the Pieman River and is an excellent option if you have small children.
Kayaking is one of the main activities the lodge provides and is not one to be missed. The amount of water being released from the dam upriver can play a significant role in whether they allow kayaks on the water.
I sent Matt out for a quick paddle during a sunny period. It took all of 5 minutes for the most torrential rainfall yet to bucket down on him. I had a great laugh.
While we packed as much as we possibly could into three full days, we both left feeling that three full weeks would have been a far better length of time to truly explore the area.
It's great to know that there are little escapes like this tucked away in hidden parts of Australia where the true sense of the great outdoors can be experienced without sacrificing some of the creature comforts we all know and love.
For more information check out the links below.
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