The scenery changed just after Zeehan. Approaching Corinna, lush forests popped out of the roadsides. I applied the brakes as the pavement gave way to gravel and the van jolted, spitting rocks up at the floorboards.
At the ferry, I came to a slow stop. I had made it to the edge of the Pieman River, leading into the heart of the Tarkine Wilderness. I watched in anticipation as the ferry captain made his way back to my side of the river, loading my campervan up and over the still flowing Pieman River. The day was grey and rainy, clouds keeping in the mist. The air was cold and crisp. I was crossing over into Corinna, the beginning of the Tarkine, the world’s second largest temperate rainforest.
I was a solitary figure on the Whyte River track, following a forest walk which wanders along the Pieman and Whyte rivers. Through the ancient rainforest, the path revealed mossy trunks intertwined with ground shoots . Everything was covered in rain. The forest was silent but for the crunching of my footsteps. Occasionally, I’d hear the sweetest birdsong, and another bird answering back. I wondered what they were singing about, sitting so high on the weathered leaves.
Several times, I heard a snap of twigs breaking on the forest floor. I paused and listened to the hasty retreat of a wallaby- or perhaps a wombat? I moved on, following the river until I veered away into thick, tall grasses. Giant trees towered overhead, with the large steps of moss attached on its massive sides, making it seem as a ladder of sorts. I imagined myself climbing onto the moss, making my way to the top of the trees to claim my bird’s eye view of the ancient rainforest.