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Tarkine, a new Tassie frontier

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Searching for and off-the-beaten-track adventure? Try the Tarkine.

Pieman Heads in the Tarkine Wilderness

Pieman Heads in the Tarkine Wilderness

Credit: Tourism Tasmania

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The Tarkine wilderness in Tasmania's north-west is another destination set to attract international attention.

The Tarkine contains the largest temperate rainforest in Australia and one of the most significant remaining tracts in the world. It is home to 54 threatened or endangered species of flora and fauna, including Tasmanian devils, wedge-tailed eagles, orange-bellied parrots and giant freshwater crayfish.

Tarkine Trails began taking bushwalkers into the region in 2002 when clear felling threatened the rainforest.

Owner Mark "Darvis" Davis wanted to connect people to the landscape. "We were inspired to prove its economic value as an eco-tourism destination, knowing that to do so would powerfully assist its transition to full protection status," he says.

The Tarkine is now up for National Heritage Listing, an essential ingredient for World Heritage status.

"Nothing is bigger than the Tarkine," Darvis says. "It really is the biggest unprotected wilderness of its kind in Australia. Its (tourism) potential is quite massive."

Ken Boundy, director of Tarkine Wilderness Pty Ltd, says the area is attracting a disproportionate number of international visitors for Tasmania. French, Dutch, Germans and Americans are going "off the beaten track" to experience authentic wilderness. "It's a real niche," he says.

In 2005, Ken and three partners secured a 50-year lease of the historic gold-mining town of Corinna at the Tarkine's southern end. The group has restored four miner's cottages and a guest house and has built 14 wilderness retreats.

They are working to make Corinna a plastic-free and carbon-neutral town. It has solar energy (despite 200 wet days a year!), rainwater tanks and self-composting toilets. Local food is sourced to reduce food miles and hard waste is removed.

"We want to minimise our footprint on a precious part of the world and provide responsible access," Ken says.