A very large area in the south western part of the island of Tasmania has been designated a national park. The climate is considered too inhospitable for human settlement, but offers instead a near pristine natural setting.
Historically inhabited by the Needwonnee people, this area was never settled by Europeans.
Created in 1955 and as Lake Pedder National Park, it was expanded over the subsequent 35 years to the large area seen today. It was declared by the United Nations Biosphere Program in 1977 as a Biosphere Reserve.
The rugged landscape is covered by Buttongrass moorland and wet Eucalypt forest.
Flora and fauna
It is home to 20 percent of Tasmania’s flora, of which around 118 are endemic to Tasmania. The King’s lomatia (Lomatia tasmanica) is listed as endangered while others such as the blown grass (Agrostis aequata), Spring peppercress (Lepidium flexicaule) and Dune buttercup (Ranunculus acaulis) are considered rare.
The wilderness is uniquely rich in biodiversity in terms of the variety of fauna species of mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs species, freshwater fish and marine fish that are endemic here. The park is an important habitat to the Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema Chrysogaster) and freshwater fish Pedder Galaxia (Galaxias pedderensis), that are listed as critically endangered.
The park is renowned for its adverse, often inhospitable conditions across all seasons of the year. It has a high annual rainfall of over 2000mm with very strong to cyclonic westerly or south westerly winds, low temperatures, frosts and frequent cloud cover.
3 Maydena is a small town just outside the park, and represents a good base to start exploring.
Fees and permits
Fees for park entry are (as of July 2016) $24 per vehicle and $12 per person.
There are no fees for using the camping facilities.
There are roads through the park, but fuel is not available in the park itself.
- 1 The Gordon River Road to Strathgordon. Spectacular views driving to the centre of the park.
There is almost nothing to buy in the park itself. Make sure you come prepared.
Camp fires are banned within the park (except in designated camp sites), and only Fuel Stoves are allowed.
- 1 Lake Pedder lodge, Gordon River Rd, Strathgordon TAS 7139, ☎ . Provides excellent accommodation for travellers wishing to explore the area.
There are a few camp sites around the park, with varying levels of facities.
- 2 Ted's Beach Campsite (Near Strathgordon). Has toilets and electric barbecues.