Each and every region of Tasmania offers a history and landscape entirely different from the next, but they all have something in common: a beauty that is raw, wild and dark. Tasmania is a place in which to switch off from the world and truly appreciate your surrounds.
Broadsheet sent five of the nation’s best travel photographers across the Strait to uncover five unique regions of Tasmania and document the bold, brutal beauty of our southernmost state.
Running from Tasmania’s west coast and bordered by the Arthur and Pieman Rivers, Tasmania’s wild Tarkine is the world’s second-largest temperate rainforest. Scattered with ancient Aboriginal artefacts and stone carvings, the area has been labelled one of the world’s greatest archaeological sites.
Nearby is Corinna – one of the few remote mining towns to survive the opportunistic settlement and hasty exodus of the 1800s gold rush. Gracing the edge of the Pieman River and surrounded by ancient forests, Corinna is the perfect jumping-off point for some of Tasmania’s most famous treks, including the Overland Track.
While it’s a given that you won’t encounter many people in the depth of the Tarkine, photographer Melissa Findley found that when you do, there’s always a story to tell.
“It’s part of the Tasmanian charm,” she says.
The chalk-white sands and turquoise waters of Flinders Island off Tasmania’s north-east tip feels like paradise, but the island has a darker history.
Its pristine coastline is now the wrecking ground of 69 recorded ships passing through the Bass Strait along what was, in the 1800s, a newly discovered trade route. While many are no longer visible today, some have been there for more than 100 years.
With its ghostly isolation, photographer Luke Byrne feels Flinders Island is a deliberately secluded location you were never meant to stumble upon.
“There is no reception,” Byrne tells us, “And there really aren’t any people around.”
In the midst of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, at the end of a solitary, 900-foot pier over Australia’s deepest lake, an old pumphouse has been transformed into a luxurious hotel.
Originally used to house the water turbines of Tasmania’s Hydro Electricity Scheme, it has been given a new lease on life as five-storey Pumphouse Point.
As photographer Brooke Holm discovered, the hotel is a warm place to meet other nature-enthusiasts in this otherwise strangely still town. Lake St Clair, the centrepiece of the area, has a split personality. In the morning it’s calm and serene – perfect for a bike ride or kayaking. As stormy afternoons pick up the dark undercurrent, it’s best enjoyed from the warmth of the hotel’s interior.
“The current looked as if it could pull you under,” Holm explains. “It makes you wonder what could be down there.”
Located in mainland Tasmania, The Trail of the Tin Dragon has a tainted past filled with mining, floods and racial unrest.
Decades after the decline of the mining industry that once ran the area, the trail now winds through dense forest, rolling fields and old, run-down mines before finishing at the coastal fishing town of St Helens, just south of the Bay of Fires.
Sydney photographer Mark Clinton uncovered the trail after navigating through a thick, unforgiving fog.
“The history behind the trail left me speechless,” says Clinton.
Now full of disused dams and historic landmarks, the Trail of the Tin Dragon provides a beautiful landscape with a history of hardships waiting to be uncovered.
“It doesn’t feel like somewhere humans should be walking around,” says Perth photographer Jarrad Seng on his return from Mole Creek.
This ancient wonder in Tasmania’s north-west features 400-million-year-old limestone caverns and intricately designed caves created by stream systems dating as far back as the ancient super continent of Gondwana.
Lit by the iridescent light of Australia’s largest glowworm colony, the most famous cave in the system, Marakoopa, is a wonder in itself. A local tip also sent Seng to explore the lesser-known Honeycomb Caves, completely unguided.
It’s bold, brave experiences like these that Seng found confronting but incomparable. They remind us of just how small we are in the grand scheme of things.
From the cool, quiet trails of the Tarkine to the stormy waters of Lake St. Clair, each journey gave our photographers a deeper understanding of Tasmania – its beauty, its history and its darkness.
You can find all of the guides here.