Updated: May 2024
Published: Mar 2016

Tarkine Coast

The Tarkine is an area of outstanding natural beauty in north-west Tasmania. It contains areas of significant ecological importance but has little protection from industrial development and exploitation. Amongst other things, it's home to some of the last disease-free Tasmanian Devils left in the wild, as several of my companions on this walk can attest. You can find out more at the takayna / Tarkine campaign webpage.

These images are from a walk I did as part of Tarkine in Motion 2016, an awareness-raising event organised by the Bob Brown Foundation, and a subsequent trip in 2024 for Art for takayna   Many thanks to the organisers for all their efforts. The entire event involved more than one hundred artists, and was a resounding success as far as I can tell. See the Facebook page for more information and details of any exhibitions of work resulting from the event.

This walk follows a coastal track from the mouth of the Pieman River north to the Interview River. Most of the track is through heathland and vegetated sand dunes, and years of 4WD traffic has eroded it to more than a metre deep in many places. At the time of writing, this area of the coast is off-limits to vehicles and we didn't encounter any, but there is pressure to have the area reopened. Fresh water is available in several creeks along the way, but as always, they may dry up if there's been no recent rain, and be prepared to treat your drinking water.

There's no road access to the start of the walk. The best idea is to get to Corinna and then catch a boat down the river. You can get to Corinna by road fairly easily, but be aware that if you approach from the south there is a vehicle ferry across the river that only operates in daylight hours. There's accommodation at Corinna (cabins, camping, even a pub), and the operator runs boat trips up and down the river. They can drop you at the river mouth and pick you up again a few days later.

Rainforest on river bank

The northern bank of the Pieman River from the ferry to the coast from Corinna. This rainforest is typical of much of the wetter, undisturbed parts of the Tarkine.

Rainforest on river bank
Rainforest on river bank
Rainforest on river bank
A stream flowing to the coast
Stream flowing over a  beach into the ocean
Looking south from the campsite

It's a reasonably easy one-day walk to get to the Interview River campsite, where we made camp for two nights. This point marks the end of the defined track. Continuing north from here involves beach walking and traversing large sand dunes, with wind-blown sand covering any tracks within hours.

Interview River itself can be reached by walking a few hundred metres further north over some dunes. You can get fresh water from the river provided you go about 200m upstream from the beach, away from the tidal zone.

Waves on the beach

The Tarkine coast is constantly battered by the Roaring Forties. - if you head west from here it's ocean all the way to Argentina.

Rocky outcrop protruding from the sand beside the ocean
We had less than 48 hours at Interview River, and the light was pretty ordinary for most of it, with this one fleeting exception on the first afternoon. Clearly I need to go back and stay a bit longer...
Emerging from the dune
Like many large dune systems, the ones at Interview River move over time, revealing the remains of vegetation engulfed years before.
Rocks at Interview River
Rupert Point
After two nights at Interview River we headed back down the coast. In order to meet the boat at noon on the last day, we camped at Rupert Point, just a few hours from the mouth of the Pieman River. Once again, the Roaring Forties make their presence felt.
Sunny side of the Pieman River
The southern bank on the way back to Corinna. This is the sunny side of the river, with notably different vegetation to the rainforest on the northern bank.
Back to Corinna
Our river transport. In this boat the trip takes about 45 minutes. The tour operators also have a larger and more charming boat, the Arcadia, which takes longer. In order to get back to Hobart before nightfall, we opted for the faster option.