There are few extensive areas of true wilderness left in the temperate zones of Earth; Tasmania is one of them. The island has a global significance, for its western regions harbour one of the last great territories where only little has changed since the Prehistoric Ages.

The finest part lies south of Strathgordon and Scotts Peak – a place where the road has no exit, and Mother Nature`s keeps its best secrets. For instance, Prion Beach, Ironbound Range, Surprise Bay, Lake Rhona, Mount Anne, Lost World Plateau and Bathurst Harbour are places where not many travellers pay a visit, and one can truly reconnect with nature.

"Serene Prion Beach in Southwest National Park, showcasing Tasmania's pristine natural beauty."
Prion Beach, Southwest National Park


The Aborigines – the native people, once knew this world like no others ever could. Today, adventure seekers, passionate mountaineers, sailors and fishermen make the majority of guests.

Visiting Western Tasmania is an ultimate off-the-beaten-path experience, a challenge not for a beginner. To explore the area, every traveller needs to be well-equipped and fit.  There is only one way you can admire some parts of this secret world without having to make efforts – boat or wings.

"Aerial view of Southwest Tasmania's rugged terrain, accessible only by plane or boat."
Most of the South-West Tasmanian territories can only be visited via a plane or a boat


The Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area offers magnificent natural beauty as well as the important Macquarie Harbour Historic Site and Sarah Island – an old penal station established in 1822 by the British government. These attractions can be best explored by boat.

"Historic Sarah Island, established in 1822 as a penal station in Tasmania."
Sarah Island is an old penal station established in 1822 by the British government

There is wild scenery, a pioneering spirit, an invigorating climate and superb rivers that offer cruises down the iconic Gordon River, running from the charming Port of Strahan.

The nearby Henty Dunes, stretching along Tasmanian longest ‘Ocean Beach’, are famous giant sand formations perfect for sand tobogganing.

"The expansive Henty Dunes near Strahan, a popular spot for sand tobogganing."
The Henty Dunes near Strahan


The township of Strathgordon is a breathtaking place for its setting right between the Gordon and Pedder Lakes.  It is one of the very few places in the area that are accessible by a vehicle.

While the lakes are ideal for recreation the engineering marvel Gordon Dam Wall is well-known for being the highest abseiling spot in the world, attracting adventurers from every corner of the world.

"The towering Gordon Dam Wall, a world-renowned spot for high abseiling."
The Gordon Dam Wall is the highest abseiling spot in the world

The landscapes around Strathgordon truly are jaw-dropping: expanses of water, rain-forested islands, immaculate lakes fringed by leatherwood trees and distant snowy peaks in the horizon. Nature here frames almost a magical atmosphere.

For splendid scenery right at the heart of the western wilderness and a secret history to share, Strathgordon makes the most attractive tourist destination in the region.

 "Picturesque view of Lake Pedder, surrounded by Tasmania's wilderness."
Lake Pedder is ideal for recreation and water sports


Tasmania World Heritage Area leads to one more wilderness destination – Franklin River and the majestic Frenchmans Cap (1446 m). The quartzite peak and its towering neighbours are the tourist highlights. The mountain can be seen from Macquarie Harbour, and its summit conquered in as many as four days.

The national park is so remote that there are just three ways to reach the wilderness – on foot, via boat or a plane. Franklin and Gordon River Cruise is the easiest and so is the most popular way, and for those who like to spend some more money a scenic flight over the reserve is a perfect option.

"Breathtaking scenery in Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park."
Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

Walking requires a good level of fitness, and it is not for everyone. Passionate hikers and nature lovers get the opportunity to get closer to the natural treasures of the area. The best walks are Franklin River Nature Trail, Surprise River Walkway, Nelson Falls Nature Trail and Donaghy`s Lookout.

Besides, the Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park provides good conditions for water activities such as canoeing, kayaking, rafting, fishing, and swimming.

"A suspension bridge on Nelson Falls Nature Trail in Tasmania."
Suspension Bridge on Nelson Falls Nature Trail


One the most impressive series of mountains in Australia is the Western Arthur Range, and it is easy to see why; along its serrated length are dozens of peaks and precipices and numerous alpine lakes. However, this is a challenging hiking zone. Wet and windy climate, combined with the difficulty of access and egress make it a dangerous environment only suitable for experienced mountaineers.

 "The challenging and scenic Arthur Range Traverse in Southwest National Park."
Arthur Range Traverse, Southwest National Park


Visitors who like to travel in comfort can easily arrange a cruise to the fabulous Bathurst Harbour, where tin-miners still operate their small leases at Melaleuca.  There are various scenic flights and boat tour packages, ranging from 1-day tours to multiple-day expeditions to the Southwest National Park that can be booked in Hobart.

The cruises usually include the utterly man-untouched areas like Davey River, Old River, Celery Top Islands, Breaksea Islands and Stephens Bay, and where the main features are blowholes, caves, rock arches, secluded bays, pristine beaches and coastal waters teeming with marine life.

There are scenic flights and cruises departing from Hobart unless you have your own boat


Camping in the Southwest Conservation Area is only permitted in designated areas. The most popular ones are the end of Scotts Peak Road and the Huon Camp Ground where you can find a wide variety of short and multi-day long walking tracks.

If you like what you are reading, you might want to check out our article about the final Tasmanian road trip here


  • Creepy Crawly Trail – 20 min easy walk
  • Port Davey – 2 hours return easy walk
  • Cockle Creek to South Cape Bay – 5 hours return
  • Eliza Plateau – 6 hours return, medium grade
  • Lake Judd – 8 hours return, medium grade
  • Arthur Range Traverse – iconic 72 km long trail to be completed within six days (campsites on the way, good facilities – but hikers need to bring their tent and food)
  • South Coast Track – extensive 85 km long trail that can be completed in 6-8 days (campsites on the way, good facilities – but hikers need to bring their tent and food)


Most of the trails are only open in summer (Nov-Mar).

South Coast Track, Southwest National Park


  • Strahan – join a boat tour on the Pieman River that makes your jaw drop. Remember to try sand tobogganing down the Henty Dunes!
  • Macquarie Harbour – every visitor should take a cruise around the Macquarie Harbour and its historic sites: Heritage Landing, Sarah Island, Liberty Point and the staggering Hells Gate – a narrow channel and entrance to the Southern Ocean.
  • Strathgordon – kayak on Lake Gordon and search around the secluded pink-quartz beaches of Lake Pedder
  • Aardvark Adventures – try the world`s highest abseiling at the Gordon Dam Wall if you dare!
  • Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park – hiking in reserve is the major activity, and the Frenchmans Cap Summit  is a strenuous hike, but the reward is exceptional
  • River Cruise – join one of the celebrated Franklin/Gordon River Cruises across the isolated reserve, to which the only access is by boat (various packages available at Strahan)
  • Southwest Conservation Area – hiking in the Western Arthur Ranges is an essential experience in Western Tasmania (Arthur Range Traverse is the favourite 72km/6 day trail or the popular South Coast Track 80km/8 days)
  • Bathurst Harbour – take a boat tour to the most outlying territory of Tasmania and unlock the secrets of Davey River, Old River, Celery Top Islands, Breaksea Islands and Stephens Bay
Bathurst Harbour is a place where many boat tours to the real wilderness depart from


You will need to purchase a pass to enter some of the national parks of Tasmania (whether driving or hiking). More information about the passes are to get at any local information centre/visitors centre in Tasmania or online at


The best way to explore Western Tasmania is to have a base in Strahan or Strathgordon (there is a good variety of accommodation, ranging from luxurious hotels to basic campgrounds) and undertake day trips to the surrounding points of interest.


Par Avion is Tasmanian largest scenic flight operator that offers a wide range of tours and a scenic flight across the island. Especially, Western Tasmania is highly recommended to see from a bird`s eye view. Also, the company runs the luxurious Southwest  Wilderness Camp near the Bathurst Harbour where you can stay if your budget allows (package tours can be booked online at or in Hobart. The highlight is the Southern Lights that can be spotted

Southwest Wilderness Camp offers fabulous ‘glamping’


Generally, the best time to visit Tasmania is summer when the temperatures tend to be more pleasant (Dec-Feb). However, this is a very busy time due to school holidays and peak season, and accommodation often gets fully booked.


Fly to Hobart (directly or via Melbourne)

For all international flights check out or


Hire a vehicle (4WD recommended) and self-drive. The most popular way to travel around Tasmania is to rent a campervan (that saves you money for accommodation and allows more flexibility). There are wonderful campgrounds and holiday parks with good facilities all over the island.

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Eva Bodova

Friday 8 November 2019

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