Introduction to Navigation Course Tasmania

4 Day Navigation Retreat

Learn to navigate

Escape the day-to-day and find yourself in takayna/Tarkine, on lutruwita/Tasmania’s stunning west coast for 4 days learning navigation and connecting with this remote and wild place.

Based at Corinna Wilderness Village, we will come together and learn to navigate by traditional map and compass, read and interpret topographic maps with confidence and importantly, learn to read the landscape and how to walk with it, not against it.

24 – 27 April 2024

Caro Ryan navigation course The Tarkine Tasmania
Come and join me here in wonderful takayna/The Tarkine

Why a navigation course retreat?

Based on my standard 2-day Introduction to Navigation Course in the Blue Mountains, this residential retreat allows more time to go deeper into the course material and build community around a shared experience in this special location.

If you’ve ever dreamt of finding your way in the bush, breaking through the invisible walls beside tracks and stepping off the well-formed trail, becoming an explorer and discovering your own adventure, read on.

You’ll learn the essentials for on and off-track navigation, build your confidence in finding your way in the bush and for making wise decisions in an outdoor environment.

Like a detective in a story, you’ll be equipped with skills and knowledge to find the clues to solve the mysteries of where am I? How do I get where I want to go? And how long will it take me?

navigation course tasmania
The Pieman River

Who is this navigation course for?

Designed for bushwalkers, hikers, canyoners, trail-runners, climbers or any outdoor adventurer, with little or no experience in map and compass navigation, who wants to cover the basics, through to intermediate skills associated with traditional navigation methods.

The location and residential nature of the retreat will help you focus on learning (there is no mobile phone reception or wifi at Corinna… ahhhhhh) and growing your skills.

Maximum group size is 10.

Caro Ryan teaching navigation in the field
Caro on a field day with students – putting the theory into action

What will I learn?

This intensive workshop will cover the basics of choosing the right equipment, map reading and interpretation, reading the land, compass use, timing and pace, taking bearings and loads of other tips and tricks to help you recognise, prevent and solve the most common navigation challenges.

navigation course tasmania
Caro teaching navigation on The Overland Track (Image: Andrew Ford)

What’s included

  • Instructor Caro and her Introduction to Navigation Course (+ assistant)
  • Return private minibus transfers ex Launceston to The Tarkine, west coast of Tasmania (approx 4 hrs each way)
  • Meals (3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners [including 2-course celebratory restaurant dinner on last night]), morning and afternoon tea, Caro’s scroggin/trail mix, pre-dinner nibbles, hot drinks
  • Twin-share accommodation with ensuite (single supplement available)
  • National Park entry fees
  • Pieman River Cruise on the Arcadia II
  • Topographic map and map protector (to keep)
  • Compass (to keep)
  • Copy of Caro’s book How to Navigate (to keep)
  • Emergency satellite communications
  • Group first aid kit (your instructor is qualified in Remote Area First Aid)

What do I need to provide?

  • Travel to Launceston, accommodation either side of the trip and any transfers necessary to meet the mini-bus transport
  • Travel Insurance*
  • Day backpack adequate to carry your lunch, water, snacks, hat, raincoat, sunscreen, own medications, etc
  • Your own bushwalking/hiking clothes, worn-in footwear, and knee-length gaiters. A full gear list will be provided upon booking.
  • Alcoholic or soft drinks

Our Accommodation

Our accommodation at Corinna is in their ‘contemporary inside/heritage outside’, newest cabins. In keeping with the history of the village, the rustic exterior reflects the mining past of the 1880’s, when white settlers first arrived.

Inside, the generous 46 square metres open plan or 81 square metres, 2 bedroom family cabins, provide a warm and comfy home as either twin share or queen (single supplement or couples), with a kitchenette, cosy lounge area with gas log heater, private ensuite (with toiletries) and verandahs for private moments to yourselves. All linen is provided.

Room allocation is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Accommodation at Corinna navigation course
Queen (single supplement) cabin. Twin Share splits the king bed in two


$3,100 inc GST (twin share cabin accommodation). A 25% deposit will secure your place.

Limited single supplements available + $500 inc GST for your own cabin. Rooms assigned on a first come, first served basis.

Traditional on the outside, contemporary on the inside
Cosy gas fire… and a 3D map on the wall


There are no prerequisites for this course, however, you will need adequate fitness to physically spend a day hiking (we don’t move fast) in moderate (grade 3), uneven terrain (including hills) and a sense of humour to appreciate Tassie’s changeable weather.

Course Location

Corinna Wilderness Village is located within the Pieman River State Reserve, takayna/Tarkine on the west coast of lutruwita/Tasmania. It is Australia’s largest temperate rainforest and the second-largest temperate rainforest in the world. Our field activities may take us into the surrounding Donaldson River Nature Recreation Area and along the Pieman River.

If the images feel a bit familiar, season 1 of Alone Australia was filmed about 25 km away on the same waterway, Lake Pieman. I can assure you that our living conditions and diet will be far superior ;D.

What about the weather?

Courses go ahead in all but the most exceptional weather conditions. Heat, mist, drizzle, showers, rain and wind are common in Tasmania, and generally do not affect normal operation of our courses – sometimes they enhance them!

Check out the Bureau of Meteorology for details about average temps and rainfall for the area.

If BMCS chooses to delay, postpone, change or cancel an activity due to weather conditions, we will make every effort to inform participants as soon as possible. Participants who decide not to attend due to weather, against our policy or advice, will be charged the full course fee.

This course is run in collaboration with my partners, Blue Mountains Climbing School (BMCS) and is subject to their terms and conditions.

Hardwicke Bay – Nothing between here and South Africa


Day 1Our private minibus will pickup from both Launceston Airport and a central Launceston location. Heading out of ‘Launnie’, we’ll stop (within an hour) for coffee at one of Caro’s favourite local businesses. Fully caffeinated and briefed on the day, we’ll continue through the picturesque agricultural landscape, hitting the north coast near Devonport and winding along towards Burnie to collect our gourmet lunch boxes, before turning southwest for Waratah Falls and our lunch stop.

Onwards to takayna/The Tarkine and Corinna, we leave the bitumen and find ourselves in the Savage River Regional Reserve and begin winding our way down towards the west coast and the Pieman River.

After settling into our accommodation, we will set off on a short walk to familiarise ourselves with the lush rainforest of our home in takayna, before tucking into happy hour nibbles at our base followed by a home-cooked meal.
Day 2Navigation theory officially kicks off at 8.30 am, but participants can opt for some quiet time on their own with an early morning walk or stretch session on the boardwalk, to the sound of the Pieman River lapping below.

Tasty morning and afternoon tea, as well as a hearty lunch will break up the day, along with practical navigation exercises and demonstrations to keep us focussed inside our cosy classroom.

Navigation discussions will no doubt continue through happy hour and another home-cooked meal at our base.
Day3Here’s where we put our theory into practice! Popping a packed lunch into our daypacks, we head out into takayna/The Tarkine to be embraced by the forest, mosses and ferns, feeling Country and the landscape change and shift around us.

Moving through different vegetation types, we will find ourselves with a different perspective of the world around us, reading ‘map to ground’ and practising taking different types of compass bearings, for different purposes. This is where our classroom learning really gets into our souls and everything comes alive!

Invigorated by our connections to Country, our new skills and each other, we will return to Corinna for a celebratory dinner in Corinna’s Tannin Restaurant, before snuggling down into our comfortable beds once again for our last night of the trip.
Day 4Checking out of our rooms before 9.30 am, we will step aboard the historic Arcadia II river boat for a journey to the mouth of the river, the wild west coast… and our final navigation exercise for the trip, so don’t forget your maps and compasses!

Stretching our legs along the sands of Hardwicke Bay, we share a packed lunch as we reflect on our learnings and all that we’ve experienced on the retreat.

Returning to Corinna we step about our minibus once again for the journey back to Launceston, arriving no later than 8 pm for drop-off at your hotel.
nb: Itinerary is subject to change

*Travel and Cancellation Insurance

We strongly recommend obtaining suitable private travel insurance for your booking.

Writer, producer and content creator by trade, search and rescue volunteer by passion, Caro Ryan started to inspire, teach and encourage people to get into hiking and the outdoors safely.

It’s all about connecting people to wild places in meaningful ways, so they can look after themselves, their mates and these precious places we visit.

She teaches wilderness navigation, authored the book, ‘How to Navigate’ and hosts, ‘Rescued - an Outdoor Podcast for Hikers and Adventurers.

In the bottom of her pack you'll find coffee grounds, instant noodles past their used by date and an insatiable curiosity.

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