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Parks of the Tasmanian Wilderness
Cradle Mountain-Lake St ClairFranklin-Gordon Wild RiversHartz MountainsMole Creek KarstMount FieldSouthwestWalls of Jerusalem
Nelson Falls

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 park pass to enter the park, which can be found on the Parks Tasmania website. There are numerous passes available, depending on your needs. The fees are up-to-date as of February 2024.

A Daily 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 outside a vehicle.

  • Per vehicle: $44.75.
  • Per person (≥5 years): $22.35.

If you stay in Tasmania for a few weeks and want to visit several national parks, the Holiday Pass is valid for up to two months. This also includes Cradle Mountain.

  • Per vehicle: $89.50.
  • Per person (≥5 years): $44.75.

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

  • $95.30 in general.
  • $76.25 for concession holders.
  • $38.10 for seniors.

If you only plan to frequently revisit one park for 12 months, it costs $48.70 for a regular adult and $38.95 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.


  • 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. Nelson Falls (Q17053320) on Wikidata Nelson Falls on Wikipedia
  • 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. Kutikina Cave (Q19875044) on Wikidata Kutikina Cave on Wikipedia



  • 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.





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



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.