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Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

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Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park - Cities, Towns and Localities
In 1977, moves by the Hydro Electric Commission to build a dam across the lower Gordon River led to a national confrontation between politicians, conservationists and the general public that lead to a polarisation in the community rarely seen in Australia and the fall of governments.

The summer of 1982-83 became the focal point for the biggest conservation battle in Australian history. After six years of confrontation, many hundreds of arrests, huge international media attention, and a battle in the Supreme Court of Australia, the winner was the pristine temperate wilderness region and the Franklin River, was granted World Heritage Status. The death of the project led to the end of dam building in Tasmania.

The Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park links the great Southwest National Park to the Cradle Mountain Lake St. Clair National Parks forming a huge wilderness area that just about covers the south western area of Tasmania. It is home to the Franklin, Gordon and Olga Rivers. A region that contains wonders yet discovered, the last stands of Huon Pine, regarded as one of the worlds great timbers for it’s incredible durability, and scenery that existed before mankind’s arrival.

A trip to Tasmania is not complete until you have been to the Gordon River, with it’s broad expanse reflecting the dense rainforests from it’s shores and providing access into the park via Heritage Landing.

The Lyell Highway runs through the spectacular rainforest of the park, and there are several bushwalks that you can take as you drive through, including Donaghys Hill and Nelson Falls. Just 20 kms from the Lyell Highway is Frenchmans Cap offering some great bushwalks. Also check out the Kutikina Cave, an Aboriginal site situated south of Frenchmans Cap.

In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information. Enquiries can also be made at the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Information Centre

National Parks & Wildlife Ranger Station
(located in Customs House on The Esplanade near the Post Office)
PO Box 62, STRAHAN TAS 7468
Ph: 03 6471 7122
Fax: 03 6471 7326

Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park Attractions

• You should include a trip out to Ocean Beach and Macquarie Heads. Ocean Beach can change dramatically depending on the weather. This area is pounded by the huge seas of the Roaring Forties, that causes the beach level to change by several metres. During summer a walk along this beach provide spectacular sunsets. Macquarie Heads offer fantastic views of the harbour and surrounding country side.
Kutikina Cave
• During the height of the campaign to stop the damming of the rivers (1981), an archaeological team went to the area to investigate reports of a cave containing aboriginal artifacts. They discovered deposits over 20,000 years old that marked the most southerly migration of humans during the last ice-age. The significance of the discovery was one of the reasons that led to the demise of the plan to dam the rivers.
Tours • There are a number of commercial operators that offer tours into the park include rafting trips on the Franklin River, jet boats up the King River, sea plane trips over the region, river cruises around Macquarie Harbour and into the Gordon River. Others offer trips to the convict ruins on Sarah Island, a remote and brutal penal settlement and the mouth of Macquarie Harbour to Hells Gates.
• There are many walks that have been developed including the favourite such as the bush walk to Frenchmans Cap. Access is gained via the Lyell highway 54 kms from Queenstown where a signposted car park indicates the start of the track. There are several huts on this track for the use of walkers, but these should not be relied on as walkers should be fully equipped with their own fuel stoves and tents.
Water rafting
• Your adventure holiday could include water rafting along the wild and ferocious Franklin River. It can be done independently or with a tour operator, with trips taking up to 14 days to complete. Before starting your journey it is important to register your trip at the Franklin River booth, 50 km west of Derwent Bridge. For information about safety aspects and permits contact the Queenstown Parks and Wildlife Service.

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Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers Tours

TAS Tours • Outback  • Eco • Adventure • National Tours
Rafting Tasmania
• Ph: 6239 1080
Tasmanian Expeditions
• Freecall: 1800 030 230
Tasmanian Wild River Adventures
• Mobile: 0409 977 506

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