Cryptotourism: Tassie Hunting

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 22nd, 2007

Thylacine Old

The last documented thylacine – Tasmanian tiger – died at Hobart Zoo in September 1936, and the species was declared “presumed extinct” in 1986. But is it? Travel anywhere on Tasmania’s west coast and you will meet locals who tell tales of some of the 4000 claimed sightings of the mystifying marsupials over the past 70 years.

Corinna was the Aboriginal name for young thylacines. So if you’re keen to try your luck at tiger-spotting, the old gold-mining town of the same name, surrounded by vast tracts of rainforest on the southern end of Tasmania’s Tarkine wilderness, may be a good place to start.

Bounded by the Arthur River in the north and the Pieman River to the south, the Tarkine sprawls across about 350,000 hectares in the state’s remote north-west.

Spectacular vistas of the Tarkine are one of the highlights of a visit to Corinna, a tiny settlement nestled on the banks of the slow-flowing Pieman River.

Although a river punt for cars resumed and a river cruise began operating in the 1980s, Corinna remained largely neglected until late last year, when it was transformed into an outstanding wilderness getaway.

Corinna’s six remaining cabins and old guesthouse have been restored and a further 14 rustic cabins – thankfully sympathetic in design with this pristine location – built, allowing an close-up glimpse of the Tarkine’s glorious rainforest and incredible plant life.

Tranquil oases in the bush, the four-star cottages have comfy beds, gas log fires and cooking facilities. Our cosy cabin backs on to a dense forest of myrtle, blackwood, sassafras and wattle trees, huge tree ferns and mosses. Sipping wine on the veranda in the evening, we hear the rustle of wildlife – possibly the wallabies, echidna, possums and pademelons that thrive here, and hear what we think is the growl of a Tasmanian devil in the undergrowth. Then again, maybe it’s a tiger? Leaning across the veranda, we listen again: A crunch, a scary yowl. Whatever it is, we head back inside for another glass of wine.

At 7.30am we’re rugged up for a cruise on the Arcadia II, a 70-year-old cruiser built of precious Huon pine. The river is like a millpond on our upriver journey: ethereal mists are draped across the trees and the dense forest is reflected in the glassy calmness of the waters.

The 108-kilometre-long Pieman is home to a mass of birds, including sea eagles, black swans, owls, kingfishers and honeyeaters, and platypus make their homes in the river’s many tributaries. Crew member Derek Purdon cooks a hearty breakfast while his grandfather Tony, who captains the cruiser, points out a white-crested sea eagle sitting like a sentinel on an ancient huon pine: some pines in this region are thought to be up to 3000 years old.

Later we join Derek and Tony for a downstream journey to the mouth of the river at Pieman Heads, which spills into the Southern Ocean.

Wandering along the breathtaking beach at the Heads, we are as bewitched by the force of the ocean as we are by the awe-inspiring beauty of this place; by its ancient forests, prolific wildlife and wonderfully serene rivers. We haven’t spotted a thylacine, but who cares?

* Cabins at Corinna Wilderness Experience are priced from $150, with double rooms at the old pub $70 (off-season discounts of 15 per cent from May 1 to October 31). Pieman River breakfast cruise is $50 adults, $25 children, $125 family, while Pieman Heads cruise is $70 adults, $35 children, $175 family. For further information phone (03) 6446 1170, visit

“The elusive Tassie tiger,”

by Sandy Guy
August 18, 2007.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

4 Responses to “Cryptotourism: Tassie Hunting”

  1. Darla KnD responds:

    I hope they are still out there, somewhere.

  2. YourPTR! responds:

    So do I and I hope the proof is found soon.

  3. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Yes – irrefutable proof as opposed to the plethora of circumstantial evidence.

  4. youcantryreachingme responds:

    The thylacine needs your help – the Australian Government is about to approve construction of a pulp mill in Tasmania’s north. The mill will use chemical techniques not used anywhere else in the world and will pump thousands of tonnes of effluent into Bass Strait *daily*.

    This will affect numerous endangered species which refuge on the Strait’s islands, as well as the fishing industries of Tasmania and southern Australia.

    Further, the mill will need trees to produce pulp. That’s right – in addition to forest plantations, old growth forests in Tasmania will be cut down to produce pulp.

    There are two ways you can help prevent the destruction of habitat which may well be protecting the last thylacines – in addition to the endangered Tasmanian devil, spotted-tailed quolls, Eastern quolls and the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle (of which there are only 95 breeding pairs left):

    1) Send a message to Minister Turnbill via Australia’s Wilderness Society

    2) Comment directly to Minister Turnbill’s office during the final public comment period which expires 31 August (AEST – ie 30 August in the Americas)

    There may well be no thylacine tours if Tasmania’s forests are not further protected. I won’t even comment on how the mill seems to have circumvented the environmental impact assessment…

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