Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Tasmania’s best-known national park is the peerless 168, 000-hectare World Heritage area of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair. Mountain peaks, dank gorges, pristine lakes, tarns and wild moorlands extend triumphantly from the Great Western Tiers in the north to Derwent Bridge on the Lyell Hwy in the south.
The Lyell Hwy winds down into Queenstown through a surreal, denuded moonscape – deep, eroded gullies and hillsides scalded by acid rain – the legacy of environmentally destructive mining. Mining activities and sulphur emissions are now controlled, and greenery is springing up on the slopes.
Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
Saved from hydroelectric immersion in the 1980s, this World Heritage–listed national park embraces the catchment areas of the Franklin and Olga Rivers and part of the Gordon River – all exceptional rafting, bushwalking and climbing areas. The park’s snow-capped summit is Frenchmans Cap (1443m; a challenging three- to five-day walk).
Southwest National Park
There are few places left on our lonely planet as isolated and untouched as the southwest wilderness. This is Tasmania’s largest national park, home to some of the world’s last tracts of virgin temperate rainforest; a place of ancient grandeur and extraordinary diversity.