Gordon River, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, TAS
On the west coast of Tasmania, unlimited adventure is the natural way to vacation. Base yourself in the scenic, edge-of-the-world fishing town of Strahan. Then white-water raft the pristine and untamed Franklin River rapids or cruise or kayak down the tranquil Gordon River. Hike past thousand-year-old Huon pines in one of the world's last temperate rainforests. Soar over the wilderness in a helicopter, take an historic train from Queenstown or sail across Macquarie Harbour. This area also has a rich, layered human story - of convicts, pioneers, loggers, miners and more recently, environmental activists.
It's a 3 hour drive from Devonport and a 4.5 hour drive from Hobart to Strahan, on vast Macquarie Harbour. This is the main gateway to World Heritage-listed Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, where the fierce Collingwood and Franklin Rivers tumble over rocky rainforest and meet as the Gordon River.
For a truly memorable adventure, join a white-water rafting tour down the Franklin River. You'll surf over rapids and rock formations, deep valleys and glossy, moss-covered cliffs. The ride gets gentler at its southern reaches where the Franklin relaxes into the lower Picton and Huon River.
See the scenery at a calmer pace on a Gordon River cruise. From Strahan, glide into the remote reaches of Macquarie Harbour and explore the ruins of Sarah Island, Tasmania's oldest penal settlement. You'll see why convicts held in this barren, forbidding place christened the harbour's entrance ‘Hell's Gates'. Coast down the Gordon River past dense temperate rainforest, stopping to walk amongst the towering, ancient Huon pines once logged for shipbuilding. Your tour guide will share stories of the environmental protests of 1982 and 1983 that saved the wild Franklin River from being permanently dammed. Cruise back to Strahan or extend your tour with a kayaking trip from Heritage Landing. Paddle upstream on the dark, tranquil waters of the lower Gordon River, spotting platypus and water birds and pausing to picnic on a riverbank beach.