Day visitor facilities
Along the Gordon River Road
Picnic facilities, toilets and rubbish recycling centres are located at The Needles (managed by Forestry Tasmania), Wedge River (managed by Forestry Tasmania), Teds Beach (managed by Parks and Wildlife), Edgar Campground (managed by Hydro) and Huon Campground (managed by Parks and Wildlife). Shelters are also provided at these sites. Fireplaces are provided at all but Teds Beach (which has electric barbecues.) No fires are permitted at Teds Beach.
Firewood is difficult to supply and visitors are asked to use fuel stoves for cooking. Firewood, when available, is provided in the barbecue areas. Please don't collect wood from the bush. Fallen wood is part of nature's cycle.
At Cockle Creek
Pit toilets are available at Recherche Bay Nature Recreation Area before the Cockle Creek bridge, and at the camping ground at Cockle Creek.
Once over the Cockle Creek bridge, you enter the Southwest National Park and park entry fees apply. During business hours, park passes are available at Hobart, the Parks District Office at 22 Main St, Huonville, Geeveston Heritage Centre or Hastings Caves. Day Passes available from self-registration booth at Cockle Creek.
There is a small shelter at the airstrip at Melaleuca. Composting toilets and two walkers huts are also available.
From the airstrip, a short path leads to the Deny King Memorial Hide, which offers visitors the opportunity to see the highly endangered orange-bellied parrot during the summer months. The hide has plenty of information on this and other birds in the area.
A unique Aboriginal interpretive experience, the Needwonnee Walk, has been created at Melaleuca. The 1.2 kilometre boardwalk weaves through the moorland, forest and edge of the lagoon. The Needwonnee Walk is a living, changing interpretive experience, with sculptural installations interpreting some of the story of the Needwonnee people.
Along the Gordon River Road
Campsites are located along both the Gordon River Road and Scotts Peak Road. These vary from very basic sites with no facilities to sites with toilets and tank water. Teds Beach (managed by Parks and Wildlife) has toilets and electric barbeques (open fires are not allowed). Edgar Campground (managed by Hydro) has toilets and fireplaces and firewood is provided. The Huon Campground (managed by Parks and Wildlife) has a shelter, composting toilets and fireplaces - firewood is provided. There are no charges and bookings are not taken.
See Camping and Cabin Fees for further details.
Mt Field National Park, which you pass as you drive along the Gordon River Road, has the most developed campground facilities, including showers and powered sites.
Around Cockle Creek
Recherche Bay State Recreation Area has campsites with toilets but without firewood or water at Gilhams Beach, Finns Beach and Catamaran River. Water is available nearby at Fords Green or from the D'Entrecastreaux River. Dogs and generators are permitted in the Recherche bay State Recreation Area.
Cockle Creek has a large camping area around Rocky Bay. Past the Cockle Creek bridge, you are in the national park and, of course, dogs, and generators, are not allowed. There is no rubbish collection. The nearest waste transfer station is at Dover. Firewood is not provided so you must bring your own. However the use of fuel and gas stoves is recommended. Composting toilets are available. Tank water is usually available but should not be relied upon in summer, and must be boiled or treated before drinking. There are no charges and bookings are not taken. See Camping and Cabin Fees for further details.
The closest shops are Hastings Caves Cafe and Southport Tavern about 20km north. Food, accommodation, petrol and postal services are available at Dover 35 km to the north.
There are two walkers huts at Melaleuca, as well as pit toilets and water. There are no other huts along either the Port Davey or the South Coast tracks.
The mountains of the south-west
Southwest National Park is unlike any other in Australia, offering everything from quick picnics and brief strolls, to extended wilderness walks, all in an area of outstanding beauty.
High rainfall, ice and wind often lash this area, yet even in cloudy weather there are often unexpected views in a light ideal for sightseeing and photography. The south-west is truely one of Australia's wildest places. The wild weather that shapes the land is just as much a part of experiencing the south-west as is the landscape. People venturing into this area must be prepared for extremes of weather.
The popular Creepy Crawly Trail --
solve a murder mystery in the
Creepy Crawly Nature Trail - 20 minutes return
Highly recommended! Take a walk through a lovely section of cool temperate rainforest. Signs along the way help you discover the world of rainforest plants and invertebrates. The fully-boarded track gently weaves its way around moss-covered trees and over giant logs. The 165 steps on the track are gently graded and in short sections. However the track is not recommended for people who cannot climb a lot of stairs or who are unable to bend down and duck under branches. The walk is located 2.5 km after Frodshams Pass along the Scotts Peak Road. (If you're heading for Strathgordon, it's well worth the slight detour.)
Huon Campground/Start of Port Davey Track - 1 to 2 hours return
A walk through beautiful forest on a new section of track. Follow the Port Davey Track sign from the Huon Campground. The track winds through an interesting mixture of moorland, scrub and rainforest. The end of the forest, about 1 km along the track, makes a suitable return point, as the track continues on into a wilderness section that soon becomes rough and muddy.
Eliza Plateau - 5 to 6 hours return
Standing alongside the towering Mt Anne, Eliza Plateau offers spectacular views over nearby ranges and lakes. Start from Condominium Creek car-park about 21 km south along the Scotts Peak Road. A long steep climb up an exposed ridge follows a well-defined, sometimes muddy track. A small shelter and toilet are found just before the plateau. Mt Eliza is reached after a steep scramble over large boulders. This walk should only be attempted by those with a reasonable degree of fitness.
Lake Judd - 8 hours return
Lake Judd is a deep, ice-carved lake surrounded by precipitous mountains. Start at Red Tape Creek 29 km south along the Scotts Peak Road. Follow the foot track to the Anne River cable crossing, then across very muddy buttongrass plains for another 2-3 km to an unmarked junction. Take the left fork, wading across the river on the way to the lake. This walk should only be attempted by those with some bushwalking experience.
This area contains some of the finest overnight and extended walks anywhere in Australia. Walkers should NOT venture into this wilderness without careful preparation and suitable equipment, including tent, sleeping bag, fuel stove, map, compass and waterproof and cold weather clothing. Contact the park office at Mt Field for advice about track conditions and any special equipment that may be needed. The South Coast Walks map and notes is an excellent guide for walking the Port Davey and South Coast tracks.
It is advisable to carry either a Personal Locator Beacon (EPIRB) or a SATPHONE.
Scenic drives (Please note that fuel is not available past Maydena.)
The Gordon River and Scotts Peak roads
These roads take you through part of Tasmania's World Heritage Area. The roads were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of the controversial Middle Gordon hydro-electric power scheme which flooded the original Lake Pedder. Sections of the road pass through areas that are managed by Forestry Tasmania and the Hydro Electric Commission as well as by Parks and Wildlife.
The routes are lined with native vegetation including rainforest species such as myrtle, sassafras and celery top pine. In season you will also see wildflowers and berries including silver wattle, leatherwood, Tasmanian waratah and snow berries. Bird life that is readily seen includes green rosellas, yellow-throated honeyeaters and black currawongs (with their scavenging habits and loud carolling call). A stop at the picnic areas might allow you to see some smaller birds such as scarlet and flame robins, thornbills, scrubwrens and crescent honeyeaters (with their distinctive call of "egypt".) Lookouts and viewing bays are located along both roads and are indicated by signs. Take the time to absorb the grandeur of the mountains.
Gordon River Road
From Maydena it is 70 km (1 to 1/2 hours) to the township of Strathgordon, which was the main construction village for the development of the Middle Gordon power scheme. From Strathgordon it is a further 12 km to the Hydro-electric Commission visitor reception centre and Gordon power station. The road is sealed for its entire length. However it is often steep and winding, is subject to ice and snow, and in places passes quite close to deep water. For these reasons a speed limit of 60 km per hour is recommended, except where signs or road conditions indicate otherwise.
The wild mountains of the
(Photo by Steve Johnson)
Scotts Peak Road
Turn off the Gordon River Road at Frodshams Pass, 28 km from Maydena. On a fine day the views from this road are superb. These include the dark dolerite mass of Mt Anne - the highest peak in the southwest - which contrasts with the grey quartzite of the surrounding ranges and the sombre green of the forested slopes. The road winds about 36 km to the Huon Campground and is unsealed for its entire length. Maydena to the Huon Campground takes 1 to 1 1/2 hours. At times it is steep, rough and corrugated, and can be subject to snow and ice. Drive with care.
There are numerous picnic spots. Refer to the map for their locations. Two of the best are:
Located at the end of the Scotts Peak Road, this is an attractive site with secluded picnic and camping alcoves set amongst the forest. Walking tracks towards the Arthur Plains and Port Davey begin here. An easy walk from near the campground will give the flavour of these longer trips, as well as offering fine views towards the Western Arthur Range.
About 49 km beyond Maydena and tucked beneath the dramatic Sentinel Range. Picnic facilities are located near the river. The picnic area is managed by Forestry Tasmania.
Some of the best fishing in Tasmania is found within the Southwest National Park. Trout fishing, using artificial lures only, is permitted in Lakes Gordon and Pedder all year but a current Inland Fisheries Commission angling licence is required. Fishing is not permitted in any river or stream leading into Lakes Pedder or Gordon.
One popular fishing site is Teds Beach, about 4 km before Strathgordon. It has a boat launching area. Another open site popular with anglers is the Edgar Dam area, 30 km along the Scotts Peak Road, just before Scotts Peak.
Please ensure that all your gear is cleaned prior to use on and in the
lakes. This is especially important if the gear has been used
interstate or overseas, to help prevent the spread of waterborn
diseases such as Didymo into Tasmania
(see www.ifs.tas.gov.au/ifs/newsitems/didymo). Good hygiene
practices will ensure that the Lakes and the fish remain healthy and
continue to be there to enjoy!
For full details of the regulations applying to inland fisheries, see the Inland Fisheries Service web site, at www.ifc.tas.gov.au
Both of the lakes provide good opportunities for boating. Boating registration booths are located at most launching sites. As a safety precaution, please use them to register the areas in which you intend to use a boat. All boating must comply with Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) regulations. N.B. Always check the weather before you set out. Conditions here can change rapidly.
Kayaking is become increasingly popular on the Lakes, with people from Tasmania, interstate and overseas taking advantage of the up close and personal experience that it offers. Due to the location and surrounding countryside it can become hazardous on the Lakes, which have been known to have up to 1.5m swells in the right wind conditions. Conditions can change rapidly and without warning - which can be extremely dangerous, especially when in a kayak.
In order to prevent the spread of diseases, especially those such as Didymo that are not currently in Tasmania
), we ask that you ensure that your kayak is cleaned thoroughly prior to paddling on the lakes. See also our information on Minimal Impact Sea Kayaking
(which is also relevant to inland lakes).
Please ensure that you are adequately prepared and have advised someone of your plans. We ask that you also enter you trip details into the boating registration log as this can be used in the event of an emergency, but this log is not regularly checked!