Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
The Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is wild by nature, wild by name, with dramatic mountain peaks, spectacular gorges and world-famous rivers running through the heart of the Tasmanian wilderness. Part of Tasmania's World Heritage Area, this national park is closely linked to the successful campaign to protect the beautiful Franklin river from being flooded as a result of the proposed damming of the Gordon River in the 1980s.
Much of the Wild Rivers landscape has been shaped by ancient glaciers and is remote and rugged. The area has a much longer natural history, with ancient Huon Pines that grow to an age of over 3000 years.
The park supports a diverse range of vegetation, dominated by cool temperate rainforest, drier eucalypt forests and picturesque button grass moorland. The park also contains Aboriginal and convict historic sites.
You can enjoy excellent views across world heritage wilderness at King William Saddle, including views to Mt Rufus to the north and Frenchmans Cap in the distant west. You can also see the dramatic change in vegetation and geology that separates Tasmania's east and west.
The park is traversed by the Lyell Hwy, with several picnic spots and short walks off the road. The Franklin River Nature Trail, 60km east of Queenstown has picnic tables, toilets and excellent walks through stunning rainforest to the Franklin and Surprise rivers, while further west, Donaghys Hill Lookout offers more stunning, panoramic wilderness views.
Just 4 km west of Victoria Pass is the Nelson Falls Nature Trail, an easy boardwalk through ancient rainforest to a spectacular 30-m waterfall.
The Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is also accessible by boat. Daily cruises depart Strahan on the West Coast for Heritage Landing on the densely forested banks of the lower Gordon River, downstream from where the Gordon and Franklin Rivers meet.
Reflections of the rainforest in the tannin-stained waters of the river are a highlight, as are the rough ocean swells beyond Hells Gates in Macquarie Harbour. Some cruises also call in at the historic World Heritage listed convict penal settlement of Sarah Island.
Rafting and canoeing are popular in summer, with day trip options as well as two-week adventures for more intrepid travellers. Scenic flights from Strahan also provide visitors with the opportunity to fly over the dramatic landscapes of the Wild Rivers.
A range of accommodation options are available in Strahan.
The Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is a 2.5-hr drive west of Hobart via the A10 Lyell Highway, and a similar distance from Launceston via the A5 Lakes Highway.