It is the largest,
wildest and most remote national park in Tasmania.
It contains some scenic
drives and short bushwalks as well as some of the longest bushwalks in
It is recommended that you do the Overland Track in the Cradle
Mountain Lake St Clair
before you attempt those, as they are very remote and the help would be
far away if you needed it.
There is a brilliant
way to see the less accessible western coast of Tasmania!!!
Geology and Alpine Vegetation
One of the last temperate wilderness areas in the world, the park
contains many mountain ranges, some beautiful wild rivers, button grass
plains and cool temperate rainforests. Native vegetation includes some
rainforest species like myrtle, sassafras and celery top pine.
Wildflowers and berries are seasonal, and include leatherwood, silver
wattle and snowberries. Geology of the mountain ranges can be
different. The towering Mount Anne (the highest peak in this park) has
the typical dark dolerite
peak while the surrounding ranges consist of grey quartzite.
Geology, By AllPosters,
click on thumbnail to
buy Alpine Animals and Birds
This wilderness of course comes with many wild animals – you can see Tasmanian
sugar gliders and ringtail
here, and in different
parts of the park there are a few local highlights, such as the
orange-bellied parrot in Melaleuca and the sea pens of Bathurst
Harbour. Birds include currawongs, green rosellas, yellow throated
honeyeaters, Tasmanian native hens, masked lapwings, yellow and little
wattlebirds, common bonzewings, Tasmanian scrubwrens, thornbills and
yellow tailed black cockatoos.
Tasmanian Devil. By AllPosters,
click on thumbnail to
South West National Park: Gordon River Road
The main entrance to the park is along the Gordon River Road which
passes the Mt
National Park west of Hobart.
It is a great scenic drive,
with a few picnic spots and good lookouts where there are some views of
the surrounding Saw Back and Anne Mountains, and Western Arthur and
Frankland ranges. In the end of the Gordon River Road you come to
Strathgordon, the former constructuion village of the Middle Gordon
hydro-electric power scheme, built in 1960s and 70s. You can stay at
the Lake Peddler Motor Inn, on the Teds Beach just south of the town
where there is a boat launching area where you can also go fishing and
boating. Further west from Strathgordon you can visit the
Hydro-electric Commission visitor centre and Gordon Dam and Power
South West National Park: Creepy Crawly
Back towards east along the Gordon River Road, there is first the Wedge
River Camping Ground with picnic facilities, and then there is the
turnoff to Scotts Peak Road – another scenic drive that goes south and
takes you to many bushwalks. Not far from the turnoff is the Creepy
Crawly Trail – a short (20min return) bushwalk through some nice cool
temperate rainforest with some huge logs and trees covered in moss. The
track is fully boarded but there is a bit of stair climbing involved.
South West National Park: Scotts Peak Road
Further south, the scenic Scotts Peak Road. It’s unsealed and can be a
bit rough at times. It passes by a few lookouts of the Lake Peddler;
and there are also the starting points of two bushwalks to east towards
the beautiful Mt Anne. The Eliza Plateau Walk (5-6hrs return) starts
from Condominium Creek Car Park and climbs a ridge to the plateau. It
is a bit of a climb so you need some fitness. About 10km further south
along the Scotts Peak Road, there is the Red Tape Creek and the start
of Lake Judd Walking Track (8hrs return). Lake Judd is a beautiful
glacial lake well worth seeing but as the track is poorly marked, you
need some bushwalking experience. The track first goes to Anne River
Cable Crossing, and then crosses a muddy plain until it comes to a
junction, where you have to turn left to get to the lake.
South West National Park: Huon Campground
Further down along the Scotts Peak Road is Edgar Dam where you can go
fishing and boating, and finally, in the end of the road is the Scotts
Peak Dam. There is a lookout towards the Western Arthur Range; and the
Huon Campground. It’s a nice place for a picnic, and the start of the
long walking tracks towards the Arthur Plains and Port Davey. But you
can also do a short walk from the Huon Campground to the start of the
long Port Davey Walk (1-2hrs return) through some beautiful rainforest.
South West National Park: Port Davey Track
But if you came here to do some serious bushwalking, you can either
walk the long (50km) walk to the Arthur Plains in east, which takes you
to Tahune Forest Airwalk; or you can head south towards Port Davey and
Bathurst Harbour (70km). Both walks are great but you have to be very
well prepared and carry your tent, warm waterproof clothing, fuel stove
(no fires) and a compass and a map. The Port Davey Track takes 4-5 days
and there are no walkers’ huts along that track. There are some muddy
and steep sections along that track. It takes 3hrs to walk from Scotts
Peak to Junction Creek; 8hrs from Junction Creek to Watershed Camp;
5hrs from Watershed Camp to Spring River; and 10hrs from Spring River
to Melaleuca. There are camping sites at Junction Creek, Crossing
River, Spring River, Bathurst Narrows and Melaleuca. You can either fly
out from Melaleuca to Hobart, or you can continue walking along the
South Coast Track to Cockle Creek (6-8 days).
South West National Park: Port Davey and
North of Melaleuca on the Port Davey Track you have to cross the
Melaleuca Inlet by boat. The Bathurst Harbour east of it and the Port
Davey in the west are beautiful, and contain some interesting marine
animals like sea pens that usually live in much deeper waters. Watch
out for the rare and endangered Orange Bellied Parrot here. If you go
to Melaleuca, there is a bird hide where you can see them.
South West National Park: Melaleuca
Melaleuca is a very remote spot – there are no roads that would take
you there, the only way to get there is either by flying, sailing or
walking. There is no accommodation in Melaleuca other than two walkers’
huts that accommodate about 20 people, but you have to be self
sufficient. There is water available but you have to have your own food
and cooking gear. There are no more huts if you continue along the
South Coast Track. Remember to register yourself at the Walkers
Registration at the start of the track.
click on thumbnail to
South West National Park:
South Coast Track
From Melaleuca, the track crosses some plain country south towards the
Southern Ocean. At the Cox Bight there are two camping grounds. Then
the walk turns east and there is a bit of a climb to Red Point Hills,
after which the track descends again and crosses Louisa Plains. There
is a camping ground in the end of the plains, and make sure you have a
good sleep because the following day you have the steepest climb during
the whole walk, across the Ironboud Range. After the 1000m high range
the walk descends again, and there is another camping ground right
after it at Deadmans Bay.
South West National Park: South Coast Track
After the Deadmans Bay there is a long walk along the beach, which ends
with a boat crossing at New River Lagoon. There is a camping ground
there. The walk then follows the coast east across some plain country
until you come to Surprise Bay where there is a bit of a climb across
the Shoemaker Point where there is another camping ground; and then
descends again to the Granite Beach. There is another camping ground
just before the climb up to South Cape Range (the second steepest climb
during the track), after which you descend to South Cape Bay. There are
two camping grounds along the track in that bay, and then you cross the
Whale Head peninsula and come to Cockle Creek in Rechercher Bay.
Here's a map where I have tagged the
places that I mentioned on this web page. You can click on the tags to
see what places they are, and double-click anywhere on the map to zoom
it in and see the places closer. Drag the map to move around, and if
you want to see the satellite image with Google Earth, click on "Sat"
in the top right hand corner.
This site uses
British English, which is the English we use in Australia. You will
find words like "traveller", "harbour" and "realise", and they are all
correct in the language used in Australia.
best efforts have been made to ensure
that all the information on this site is correct,
gondwananet.com is not to be blamed should there be a mistake.
All contents of this website are strictly protected
by the Law of Copyright. What
does that mean?