The Tarkine refers to the raw coast south of Arthur River and the plains of the Arthur Pieman Reserve as much as the fabled forests that spread east to the A10. The name was coined by conservationists after the local Tarkiner Aboriginal people in an effort to highlight Tasmania’s largest unprotected wilderness; “greenies” had been pushing for a Tarkine National Park since the 1960s. Of its 593,000 acres of forest, seventy percent constitutes Australia’s largest tract of temperate rainforest, second only in global significance to tracts in British Columbia: a “forgotten wilderness” of giant myrtle forests, wild rivers and bare granite mountains.

So environmentalists were horrified when a road was proposed through its heart from Arthur River to Corinna then Zeehan. Dubbed “the Road to Nowhere”, the Western Explorer was constructed hastily and finished in 1996. During the run up to the Australian federal election in 2004, 180,000 acres received protection from forestry, and awareness of the area grew as a moratorium on logging of ancient native forest was declared in 2011. The conservationists’ push for a national park seemed unstoppable.

As it turns out, logging was the least of their worries. In February 2013, as Australia rode an Asian minerals boom, the government gave a green light to open-cut mining in the Tarkine – the area had been fabled for rich iron, tin and bauxite deposits since the early 1900s. The Save the Tarkine coalition brought about a legal challenge, which cited apocalyptic predictions for the Tasmanian devil in this, one of its last redoubts. But by August 2013, work on two of at least six mines had begun. Mass protests on a scale not seen since the Gordon River dam campaign have been proposed. For updates about campaigns and ways to help, visit the website of pressure group Save the Tarkine (w

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Australia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

A Rough Guide to: visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef

A Rough Guide to: visiting Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders – it’s the largest structure ever built by living things and is even visib…

25 Oct 2017 • Penny Walker insert_drive_file Article
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Undiscovered Australia: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Undiscovered Australia: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Australia is a vast country, though most visitors stay on the same tried and tested track, ticking off well-touristed pitstops along the way. But, of course, …

07 Aug 2017 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook