national park in Tasmania, Australia
Oceania > Australia > Tasmania > Western Tasmania > Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

Parks of the Tasmanian Wilderness
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Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is a national park in the West Coast of Tasmania. The park has an area of 4,463.42 km2 (1,723.34 sq mi), making it the second largest naitonal park in Tasmania. The main draw of the park is Nelson Falls, a picturesque waterfall about a 20-minute return walk from the Lyell Highway.

Nelson Falls

Understand edit

The Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. It was created as the Frenchmans Cap National Park, and was expanded to include a significant part of the Southwest Wilderness. It can be accessed from Lyell Highway in the northern part, and it can be entered in the mid region at Strathgordon.

History edit

The genesis of the Wild Rivers National Park was in the earlier Frenchmans Cap National Park which had the Franklin River as its boundary on the northern and western borders. Frenchmans Cap is a dominant feature in the region, and can be seen on the skyline from the west and north of the park.

The Gordon and Franklin Rivers were the subject of one of Australia's largest conservation efforts. The Franklin Dam was part of a proposed hydro-electric power scheme that had been in the plans of The Hydro for some time. The enthusiastic endorsement by Robin Gray's Liberal Government would have seen the river flooded. It became a national issue for the Tasmanian Wilderness Society, led by its director at the time, Bob Brown.

Landscape edit

The landscape is characterised by impressive mountain peaks, beautiful rainforests, deep river valleys and spectacular gorges.

Flora and fauna edit

Vegetation types within the park are varied, including cool temperate rainforest, drier eucalypt forests and button grass moorland.

Climate edit

Visitor information edit

Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park doesn't have any local visitor centres, so you will need to contact the office in Lake St Clair for anything. The visitor centre manages both.

Get in edit

By car edit

The Lyell Highway (Route A10) runs through the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park.

The park has no facilities within its boundary, so to the east is Derwent Bridge, and the west are Queenstown and further towards the coast, Strahan as the nearest places with facilities.

By boat edit

Cruise boats departing from Strahan visit the park.

Fees and permits edit

To enter any national park in Tasmania, you'll need to have a valid parks pass to enter the park, which can be found here at the Parks Tasmania website. There are numerous passes available, depending on your needs. The fees are up-to-date as of February 2023.

A daily parks pass is usually valid for 24 hours, and is usable in all parks although it does not include access to Cradle Mountain. This is particularly useful if you're going to numerous nearby parks. A pass for your vehicle covers up to 8 occupants, you only need the per person pass if you arrive without a vehicle.

  • Per vehicle: $41.20
  • Per person: $20.60

If you're staying in Tasmania for a few weeks and want to go numerous national parks, there's the Holiday Pass, which is valid for up to two months. This also includes Cradle Mountain.

  • Per vehicle: $82.40
  • Per person (≥5): $41.20

There is also the Annual Park Pass, which is valid in all parks, including Cradle Mountain.

  • $91.35 in general
  • $73.10 for concession holders
  • $36.55 for seniors

If you only plan to repeatedly visit one park again for 12 months, it's $46.70 in general, or $37.35 for concession holders. This excludes Cradle Mountain.

Passes can either be purchased through, in any national park visitor centre, some travel information centres, onboard Spirit of Tasmania vessels, and Service Tasmania centres.

Get around edit

Map of Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park

Most of the access is by foot. Unless you are on a rafting venture down the Franklin River.

See edit

  • 1 Nelson Falls. A roughly 30-metre fall that flows into the Nelson River. The falls are perhaps the highlight of the park, and is one of the more easily accessible sections of the park via a 1.4 km (0.87 mi) return trail taking about 20 minutes.    
  • 2 Kutikina Cave. The cave is archeogically rich, with over 30,000 stone artefacts and 200,000 bone fragments have been discovered with much of it still not excavated. The tools found include knives, scrapers and hammers and were made from quartz, quartzite and Darwin glass.    

Do edit


  • Donaghys Hill Wilderness Lookout Walk. 30–40 minute return walk
  • Franklin River Nature Trail, Franklin River, Lyell Highway, Derwent Bridge. An easy 1-km trail through cool temperate rainforest.
  • Frenchmans Cap Track. A challenging 3–5 day hike.
  • Lake Rhona Trail. 7–10 hours (14 km) one way, depending on conditions and fitness level.
  • Nelson Falls Nature Trail (4 km west of Victoria Pass). An easy boardwalk trail to Nelson Falls.



Buy edit

Eat edit

There are picnic tables and toilet facilities at the Franklin River Nature Trail.

Drink edit

Sleep edit

A range of accommodation options are available in Strahan but there are none in the park.

Stay safe edit

Go next edit

Routes via Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
Queenstown W A10 E  Lake St Clair (via C193) → Hobart

  • Going east
    • Derwent Bridge
    • Hobart is 2.5 hours drive via the A10 Lyell Highway
    • The Highland Lakes are a little over an hour away and are popular for boating and fishing
  • Going west
This park travel guide to Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is a usable article. It has information about the park, for getting in, about a few attractions, and about accommodations in the park. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.