Tasmanian wilderness

Date published: 16 Apr 2018 - Written by - Filed under tasmania


Suddenly teleported to Norway - that’s how it feels as you drive around the corner leaving behind Gormanston and Mt Owen, and arrive at Lake Burbury.

The lake is a man-made reservoir with a camp site at its shores. It’s an amazing prelude to what’s to come further on – in the Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

During the early 1980s, the now Franklin Gordon world heritage area became one of Australia’s hottest conservation battle grounds. On one side the Tassie government, which wanted to dam the Franklin river and use it to generate hydro-electricity and jobs. On the other, those fighting to protect its unique wilderness. The only protection this area had previously had, was as Frenchman’s Cap National Park. Fortunately, the greenies won the fight for conservation; and one can hope that the same will happen to the Tarkine wilderness in the not so distant future.

The view of Franklin-Gordon Rivers national park from Donaghy's hill lookout

The view of Franklin-Gordon Rivers national park from Donaghy’s hill lookout

On your way through the Franklin Gordon rivers area, stop at Frenchman’s Cap carpark and either undertake the 3-5 day trek up to the summit, or a shorter half-day hike up to Mt Mullens, where you’re rewarded with a breathtaking view of the capped peak. We undertook two short hikes: one through the wet fern rainforest to Nelson Falls and the other up to Donaghys Hill hoping to see the Frenchman, but his cap was under cloud.

On the way to Nelson Falls

On the way to Nelson Falls

The Franklin nature trail also takes you through stunning rainforest and down to the Franklin river. Along the way, one of the info boards on the trail poses the question: What is wilderness? How can we define it, especially when every person has a different idea or feeling about what it is. For some it’s a place to conquer or explore; for others it’s home and a spiritual reflection. How integrated or detached we are from it, certainly indicates our speed to either protect or exploit it.

The Franklin nature trail boardwalk

The Franklin nature trail boardwalk

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