Explore rugged wilderness in this western Tasmanian region. Its early conservation efforts led to the establishment of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Escape to the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park for a challenging venture into remote wilderness areas or a peaceful walk through scenic landscapes. Aborigines inhabited the area for thousands of years. Today the park provides opportunities for all visitors, from backpacking hikers to travellers in wheelchairs.
When a dam was proposed on the Franklin River in 1982, thousands of people staged a non-violent civil protest in rubber ducky boats, successfully blocking construction of the dam. See this site today with its natural beauty unblemished by development. Kutikina Cave and similar sites show evidence of Aboriginal inhabitation for more than 36,000 years.
Visit several rivers flowing through the region. Reach the Franklin River from the 56-kilometre (35-mile) Lyell Highway, which winds through the centre of the park. Follow the short Franklin River Nature Trail for views of gorges, rainforest and the Surprise River. This interpretive trail is suitable for wheelchair access. Nearby, the Frenchmans Cap Walking Track offers a challenging 4-day return bushwalking adventure. The Donaghys Hill Wilderness Lookout Walk offers an easier, 40-minute return walk with spectacular views.
The Collingwood River offers a starting point for rafting trips continuing down the Franklin. Reserve a spot for this 2-week trip through the wilderness. The Gordon River’s dark waters cut through a dense forest. Make a stop along its banks at Sarah Island, which served as a penal colony for 11 years in the early 1800s. Convicts harvested pine trees and built ships here, making the area Australia’s biggest shipyard for a time.
Purchase a single-day, holiday, annual or 2-year pass to enjoy this and other national parks. Check the Tasmanian National Parks website to learn about special days with free admission. Drive about 2.5 hours west from Hobart to reach Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. Alternatively, travel from Strahan on Tasmania’s western coast on a cruise boat along the lower Gordon River.