Tasmanian Wilderness Area.
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area protects one of the last true wilderness regions on Earth and encompasses a greater range of natural and cultural values than any other region on Earth.
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area covers approximately 1,584,000 hectares and represents about 1/5 of the area of the island state of Tasmania. It protects vast tracts of high quality wilderness, which harbours a wealth of outstanding natural and cultural heritage.
The area is formally recognised through World Heritage listing as being part of the natural and cultural heritage of the world community. The core area was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1982 on the basis of all four natural criteria and three cultural criteria, at the time satisfying more criteria than any other World Heritage property on Earth.
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities ranging from extended walks through to half hour strolls. Arguably the best wild river rafting in Australia occurs on the Franklin River, while the many lakes in the WHA provide world-class angling.
Want to go bushwalking? There are over 1,000 kilometres of bushwalking tracks and routes in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (WHA). Increasing numbers of bushwalkers visit the WHA every year. The area includes some of Australia’s best known long distance walking tracks, like the Overland (five days),Frenchmans Cap (three days) and the South Coast (seven days) tracks. These are particularly popular over summer. Less used tracks are also becoming more popular.
When walking, please remember to follow the Leave No Trace guidelines – a set of guiding principles that help minimise our impact on the places we visit
A number of campsites in and around the WHA allow camping for modest overnight fees. On some popular walks such as the Overland Track, huts are available to the public. However, it always wise to carry a tent when walking in the WHA in case of mishap or if a hut is full. Details of camping and costs are available at our Camping and Cabin Fee Information pages.
After walking, fishing is the second biggest recreational use of the WHA. The Central Plateau area has been a famous trout fishery for over 100 years. The area is known as the land of a thousand lakes and has many alpine tarns formed by glacial action some 8,000 – 20,000 years ago. Major lakes in the area are stocked with trout by the Inland Fisheries Service – see their web site for details of the permits needed to fish in inland waters. Lake Pedder in theSouthwest National Park, Lake St Clair, Macquarie Harbour and the Gordon River are also popular trout fishing areas.
Cruises on Macquarie Harbour and the Lower Gordon River are very popular. These trips form the mainstay of the economy of the small port of Strahan, an idyllic village which is known as the western gateway to the WHA. The wild and remote natural harbours of Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour in Southwest National Park are popular with sailors and the occasional intrepid sea kayaker. See ourboating notes for further details.
Climbing & abseiling
Relatively few people undertake climbing in the WHA, primarily due to its remoteness from vehicle access. Despite being several days’ bushwalk from the nearest road, the towering vertical cliffs of Frenchmans Cap are a major climbing destination in the WHA.
Rafting and kayaking
Rafting and kayaking in the WHA mainly occurs on the Franklin river. The full trip down the river is a magnificent 12 day wilderness rafting experience through some of the most spectacular scenery in Australia.
The proposal to dam the river for hydro electric power was a pivotal conservation issue for Australia in the early 1980s. In 1981 the area was protected in the Franklin–Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and was given World Heritage status in 1982.
See our Franklin River rafting notes for further details.