The Green Hell of the Tarkine

I decided that I’d get away from the house over the long weekend and do a bit of a “recco-mission” ahead of the upcoming AGM at Luina.
So Saturday I drove up the Midland Hwy and via Burnie down the B18 to Waratah, then to Luina.
Naturally, rain set in just before I arrived. I camped at Luina and spent a fitful night, kept awake by the dripping of rain on the roof and the whining mosquitoes that somehow got inside.
Sunday, after an early breakfast I set off to try to find a place betwen Luina and Savage River.
I found the place, but what seemed like almost bare ground on aerial photography turned out to be grass-bushes (we call them “yacca” in SA) almost head high and so dense I did not try to push through. As the rain continued, I turned back and went on to my next planned place, which was closer to Corinna.
I parked close to the main road and decided I’d do a brief “scout about” to check what the area was like and what best to take with me. So I walked down a very, very overgrown track into the forest. After maybe 100 metres, the track seemed to end in a small clearing, so I ventured off a short way until that became impassable, so turned back to the clearing. Except that I couldn’t find it! So I tried another way. No luck there either. After repeating this a few times, I was starting to sweat. After an hour or so, and much wandering, I had to admit I was lost! I had no food, no water, no insect repellent and, by now, all my clothes were soaked. I was resigned I might have to spend a night or 2 before anyone came looking for me. I felt really silly!
To cut a long story short, after 2 hours of methodical trying, I realised I was standing on the very faint remains of an old track, so I decided to follow it and not leave it for love or money. After about 200 metres of hard slog, it was completely blocked, so I reversed direction and, after about 300 metres, I found the track I came in on and came to my car! I was soaked, my mouth was very dry and I was picking leeches off my hands and legs.
The forest there is so overgrown and green, (hence the title) that, despite me leaving “signs” on my way in by breaking branches, leaving sticks crossed, etc I could not find my way back. Although my misadventure was unlikely to prove fatal, I could have been in for a couple of very uncomfortable nights.
It was a valuable lesson for me. Next time I will be extra-well prepared…chain saw and marker paint (and maybe a GPS?) LOL.

Cheers to all,

PS: And on top of it all I found nothing!


Lucky you made it out mate . A GPS with the car plotted as the home position is a good fallback but signal can sometimes be dodgy . Might have to put a fence around the AGM site ! :grinning:


That was a good story and it’s why most of us hold the ‘old timers’ in great respect. Some people use ribbons on trees. The West Coast is an extreme environment. Today we were in an iron mineralised area where my pinpointer went off anywhere on the ground I touched. That made it useless. Also a pick axe was lost and there was no way of finding it again.


I do take your point about those guys who went out there 120-150 years ago…they were young, strong (I’m early 60’s) and had much less in the way of aid and comfort than we have. However, to balance that, we don’t know how many never came out (ie; died in there and were never found.) Also, some of them went in pairs and some had a dog, which could help catching game for food. They also went in knowing they were going for some time, so presumably they took what they needed with them (flour, salt, gun etc). God knows how they put up with the leeches and mosquitoes, though!
It gave me a shock, though. I thought I had a really good sense of direction but it didn’t help in there.
Oh and I lost my pick, too! I had developed a habit of laying on the rear step of my Hilux and I think I drove off with it still on there and it probably dropped off on the road. :frowning:

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Oh wow ! What a time! Let’s hope the weather improves

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I’m glad you got out OK and that you also saved yourself the embarassment of having to get rescued and being the night’s news story!

Yes, it’s easy to underestimate the terrain in that area, and a lot of the west coast is similar, which is probably one of the reasons the gold is still there.

I’ve had a few times myself when I’ve walked for hours only to get defeated by impenetrable scrub close to my destination.

Also, the old timers had no qualms setting fire to the vegetation, including ancient rainforests. One good thing about the area having been so wet recently is that we won’t have so much risk of bushfires.

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Oh gosh yes Miguel; it would be hugely embarrassing to be the subject of a search! I cringe to think of it.
I certainly hope there is still some gold out there…my wife is starting to make jokes about me returning empty-handed…LOL.
I forgot to mention that, on the way back I tried the Linda Creek near Gormanston. Has anyone else tried that? It looked really “goldy” (is that a word?) but my finds totaled an old knob off a cupboard, a piece of lead sheet and an old copper cable (which I bought back with me).
Back to the planning board…


From all reports Linda gold was very fine with a few exceptions. Even the discoverers of the Iron Blow, which eventually turned into the Mt Lyell Mine, lost 25% or more of the gold because it was too fine to get caught in the sluice.

Corinna Gold was generally coarser and more easily detectable.


G’Day Tom
Never underestimate the West Coast scrub!
Good effort & it reminds me of my first prospecting venture in 1969!
Take a EPIRB & a mate as well!



Thanks Miguel; that would explain it.

Hi Ron,
Thanks for your reply. I bet you have some good stories!

Yes I would like to put out an inquiry to see if anyone would like to “join forces” with me for a future foray into the bush. Safety in numbers!
As a recent “migrant” from the mainland I don’t have any prospecting mates here. The AGM might be an opportunity to talk about it if anyone is interested.


Hi tom great story yes i know a party of blokes who have been trying to push in to a area on west coast the lucy spur workings they averaged 400 mtrs a day thats with 3 of em cutting track the west coast scrub is soul destroying people just dont believe how thick it is


Amen to that, AJ.
My legs are still itching from those damn leech bites!
People worry about fires (with good reason) but that place…you could hit it with napalm and it still wouldn’t burn! LOL


Hi Tom, I have sluiced very fine gold in Linda creek right near the highway just up the road a bit from the old hotel ruin. Im not in a hurry to go back there but it’s certainly got fine gold in the gravel.

Hi Ratters,
Yeah I was just reading about that in an old Govt report (on MRT) this very morning.
As I don’t have a sluice and am not really interested in sluicing I probably won’t try there.
I tried further downstream by walking in along Cemetery Creek.