Trekking Tassie

Trekking Tassie
By admin


The history of the national parks and wilderness that Tasmania is famous for can be witnessed in a two hour drive between Queenstown and the Franklin River. Queenstown is a town that bears the blemishes of extensive mining at the turn of the 20th century. A spectrum of brown, olive green, orange and red rocks rise either side of roads that seem inspired by a pinball machine.

After Queenstown the road enters the Great Lakes National Park, another testament to man’s manipulation of the natural landscape. Hydro-electric power tubes run along the roadside, resembling rows of theme park water slides. It was that hydro-electric power that divided the nation in the early 1980s when the Franklin River was set to be dammed. In one of the country’s greatest environmental campaigns, greenies blockaded the area and its success was the making of Bob Brown, who even recorded a song to fight the dam proposal.

During the protests, UNESCO granted a World Heritage Listing to the Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. This national park marks the end of a road journey that takes you from a scarred landscape to the untamed Franklin River and underscores why protesters were so vigilant about defending it. These days 40% of Tasmania is protected wilderness.

NATURE LOVERS: FRANKLIN RIVER NATURE TRAIL

Makeshift waterfalls, bracken and ferns line the path of this easy walk that introduces you to an icon of the green
movement. Twitchers should take their binoculars as endemic birdlife is likely to be seen on this one hour return
walk. On my visit a yellow tailed black cockatoo glides above while a flame robin, very similar to the English red robin, reveals a crimson underbelly when it spreads its grey wings.

A rare pink robin also flutters from branches, eluding my camera each time I get close. You never know what you will find in this rugged park, so stay focused.

PICNICKERS: WINEGLASS BAY LOOKOUT

A photo of Wineglass Bay is enough to make you want to visit. And there is no better way to take in the postcard view than with a glass of wine and a picnic lunch. Fortunately the east coast has the mildest temperature on the island and rainfall is low, ideal for open air eating. The curved bay has sand so pale it could be transparent, like a wine glass and the ocean resembles a turquoise paint chart. While you would think the bay is named after its shape, legend has it that whaling is responsible for the moniker because the water would flush red with blood.

Nowadays the area is soundly protected and Freycinet is the state’s second oldest national park. A one and a half hour round trip walk from the car park, the path to the view is uphill and perfect for working up an appetite.

PHOTOGRAPHERS: RUSSELL FALLS

Water is inescapable on the trail to Russell Falls, starting with the stream that gushes alongside the path to reach the waterfall. Water acoustics increase as you near the much photographed falls, culminating in the pounding of water as it thrashes over three 50 metre rock faces. There are seven tiers that comprise these falls, upping the drama quotient with competing spray and making for a stunning photograph.

You will still get wet on a sunny day here as super fine mist flies from the falls and creates rainbows that you can walk through. The air is thick with water vapour and the smell of lemon myrtle, so you finish the track breathing easier than when you started.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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