Wednesday, 26 Feb 2020

Mount Donaldson to Corinna. Amazing Tasmania

How to grow Dick
Mount Donaldson
- A man with a seven-inch (18 cm) penis may proudly compare his organ to the average man’s five to six inches (12-15 cm) but be intimidated when learning another wields an eight-inch (20 cm) rod.

Mount Donaldson – walk from exposed mountain summit with uninterrupted Tarkine views to a historic mining town through verdant riparian rainforest. A rough, tough, boom town in the late 19th century, when gold mining swelled the regional population to 2500, Royenrine, as Corinna was once called, is enjoying a quieter second life as a wilderness retreat, deep in Tasmania’s Tarkine. (Corinna is an Aboriginal word for a young Tasmanian tiger.)

Mount Donaldson to Corinna. Amazing Tasmania - photo 1

Mount Donaldson. The Savage River snakes through the Tarkine.

Walk:

14.5km, A to B with car shuffle

Time required:

4.5–6 hours

Best time:

Clear, mild weather (there’s no protection on Mt Donaldson)

Grade:

Moderate

Environment:

Cool temperate rainforest, river, exposed hill, historic mining village

Best map:

This one

Toilets:

Flush toilets at Corinna

Food:

Delicious meals are available from the Tarkine Hotel in Corinna and a few staples from the adjoining General Store, which also sells recreational fishing licenses.

There’s tank rainwater for drinking behind the hotel.

Tips:

You need to car shuffle to do the described walk. Alternatively, make it a two-day return walk, tenting in the tiny parking/camping area below Mount Donaldson or on the mountain; or do two return walks: Corinna to Savage River and back, and up and down Mount Donaldson.

Mount Donaldson to Corinna. Amazing Tasmania - photo 2

Mount Donaldson

With accommodation in restored miners’ cottages and custom-made units, a camping area, and a hotel–restaurant–general store, Corinna is a base for exploring the Pieman River and its enfolding forest by boat and boot. It’s also a popular stopover for travellers crossing the Pieman on the Fatman Ferry to continue journeying north or south.

Mount Donaldson. ‘The Pieman’ was Thomas Kent of Southampton, a baker transported to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in 1816 and sent to the infamous Macquarie Harbour Penal Station in 1822. Kent escaped but was caught near the mouth of the river that now bears his nickname.

Corinna walks range from short and easy to overnight. Combining the Mount Donaldson climb and a one-way walk to Corinna down a Pieman tributary, this one begins about six gravelly kilometres north of the settlement. Take Corinna Road out of the village for roughly 3km then Norfolk Road north-west for the same distance to a one-lane bridge over the Savage River. Mount Donaldson.

Mount Donaldson to Corinna. Amazing Tasmania - photo 3

Mount Donaldson

Starting on the left, over the bridge and opposite a pocket handkerchief-sized parking and camping area (with no facilities), the Mount Donaldson track plunges into shadowy forest. Cross a footbridge guarded by a splendid old tree and start uphill, through tree ferns and mixed eucalypts, the fallen ones cloaked in moss. On warm days it can be stuffy here and the steady climb seems steeper than the later pitch up the mountain.

Mount Donaldson. About 1.4km up, you emerge into open forest (see point 1 on map) and swing right. Descending unexpectedly, you pass through dead eucalypts that appear like ships’ masts, victims of a 2008 bushfire that burnt much of Mount Donaldson. Climbing again, you’ve a great view over the skeletal timbers and leafy new growth to the Norfolk Range. Then you’re above the tree line on a hillside bristling with button grass, dwarf banksias and stunted tea tree.

Here feet have compacted Mount Donaldson’s peaty covering. The track is still fairly soft but loose rocks can make the going slippery higher up. More loops of the Savage River come into view as you climb and the plants become shorter and stumpier, as if keeping their heads down. Mount Donaldson.

Mount Donaldson to Corinna. Amazing Tasmania - photo 4

Mount Donaldson

Mount Donaldson feels the brunt of west-coast weather and while the summit breeze is welcome on warm days it can be full-force in colder weather so take a jacket. Up top, about 444m above sea level, are an upended trig point and a knockout 360° vista of the Norfolk Range, forest-clad Tarkine, serpentine Savage, and Southern Ocean coast. It is worth setting out early on this walk to catch sunrise from the top.

Mount Donaldson. Back down the mountain, cross the bridge and step right into mossy riparian rainforest. Initially vehicle-wide, the track can be churned by wheels but it’s flat and easy going. The route is marked with pink ribbons but essentially you keep the Savage River on your right.

Among predominantly walking-stick thin immature trees are some giants with branches thrusting out from mossy bases piled with years of leaf litter; plate fungi project from their trunks. One old-timer (see point 2 on map) has lost its top and its wide, undercut base is hollowed and drilled with holes yet its surviving branches are thick with epiphytes. Mount Donaldson.

Mount Donaldson to Corinna. Amazing Tasmania - photo 5

 

Mount Donaldson

About 1km from the road a creek runs into the river. Depending on water level, you may be able to walk across or shuffle along a fallen log; look for ribbons marking the best places. A footbridge fords another creek 100m further on. Now look for pink ribbons marking a steep, roped 10m climb up and over a bluff about 1.25km from the road. It’s far from mountaineering but the ropes provide welcome help for those not related to mountain goats. Back on the riverbank, follow the Savage 100m or so downstream to another roped clamber.

Mount Donaldson. Continue downriver, noting the multiple mosses growing on the logs you step over. There are numerous marker ribbons, too, some of which would be more helpful beyond the next creek, where it’s easy to lose the track (see point 3 on map). If you do, keep to the river, with the creek on your left.

Two more creek crossings (work your way upstream to find a spot) bring you to a jetty, to which kayaks are often tied. Paddling on the Savage and the Pieman River, visible 150m downriver, is s popular activity (Corinna hires boats). One attraction is the hull of steamship Croydon, which rests in 10m of water here, having sunk early on 13 May 1919 while loading logs. Mount Donaldson.

Mount Donaldson to Corinna. Amazing Tasmania - photo 6

Mount Donaldson

Now for the Savage River Walk, which starts steeply up Ahrberg Hill from the jetty on boardwalk and timber steps. The walk is officially rated moderate–hard and marked with white metal squares (yellow ones coming out of Corinna).

Mount Donaldson. Up top are some big beech and Huon pines, the prized timber that brought ‘piners’ to this remote region before gold miners, and saw boats wrecked at Pieman Heads. Their branches creak against each other in wind. Fungi grow on the forest floor and fallen logs. Trackside holes ringed with dirt doughnuts are the handiwork of burrowing crayfish.

Watch for tripping roots in the track as you walk over the hill and start down the other side, in open forest through which you can see the Pieman’s hilly opposite bank but not the river itself. Mount Donaldson.

Mount Donaldson to Corinna. Amazing Tasmania - photo 7

Mount Donaldson

Mount Donaldson. Back at water level, cross a creek, step up and duck under a toppled tree (see point 4 on map) (tall people might have to limbo), and then walk on with the Pieman lapping at roots and moss-covered rocks to your right. The unimpressive trees leaning over the water here are Huon pines. They are centurions but escaped the piners because the water made them grow in strange shapes that wouldn’t yield usable timber. The Pieman River and tributaries mark the northernmost distribution of Huon pine in Tasmania.

The boarded Huon Pine Walk gives you an easy 300m warm-down into Corinna to finish.

“Top Walks in Tasmania”

Melanie Ball 

 
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