Australia // Tasmania //

Franklin Lower Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

The Franklin Lower Gordon Wild Rivers National Park was declared in June 1980 and by 1982 had been included with the adjoining parks on the World Heritage List. The park exists for its own sake more than anything, most of it being virtually inaccessible. You can cruise up the Gordon, or fly over it, but the really adventurous can explore by rafting the Franklin and walking the Frenchmans Cap Track, both accessible from the Lyell Highway, which extends from Strahan to Hobart and runs through the park between Queenstown and Derwent Bridge. Plenty of short walks also lead from the highway to rainforest, rivers and lookouts.

The Franklin River is one of the great rivers of Australia, and the only major wild-river system in Tasmania that remains undammed. It flows for 120km from the Cheyne Range to the majestic Gordon River, from an altitude of 1400m down to almost sea level. Swollen by the storms of the Roaring Forties and fed by many other rivers, it can become a raging torrent as it passes through ancient heaths, deep gorges and rainforests. The discovery in 1981 of stone tools in the Kutikina Cave on the Lower Franklin proved that southwest Tasmania was the most southerly point of human occupation on Earth during the last Ice Age.