Southwest National Park is vast, wild and spectacular. Rocky coastline, windswept beaches, dramatic mountain ranges, deep harbours and extensive buttongrass plains are home to unique plant and animal species.
You can explore this park, part of the Tasmania Wilderness World Heritage Area, on extended bushwalks, kayak or boat trips, short walks, scenic drives or flights - there is something here for everyone.
Walking opportunities in Southwest National Park abound and they range from a 20-minute stroll on the Creepy Crawly Walk to a 6-8 day walk along the South Coast Track – take your pick! As well as varying in length the walks also showcase a range of the Park’s environments including, rainforests, beaches, alpine areas and buttongrass plains. Watch southern ocean swells roll in at South Cape Bay or be rewarded with impressive views from the steep climb up to the Eliza Plateau.
There are also plenty of opportunities to experience the wonder of this National Park from the comfort of your car. West of Maydena the Gordon River and Scotts Peak roads wind past dramatic mountain ranges and deep lakes. These roads were built during the late 1960s and 1970s as part of the controversial Middle Gordon hydro-electric power scheme which flooded the original Lake Pedder. There are lookouts, picnic areas and short walks along the way so take time to stop, enjoy the views, stretch your legs and become part of this special landscape. From Maydena allow 1 to 1.5 hours to reach either Strathgordon or the Huon Campground.
Both these roads are lined with a variety of rainforest trees including myrtle, sassafras and celery-top pine. During the warmer months you will see flowers of the leatherwood tree, source of Tasmania’s famous honey, and the bright red waratah blooms. Birds are also common, especially green rosellas, black currawongs and various honeyeaters. In the picnic areas you may be lucky to see scarlet or pink robins and Tasmanian thornbills.
Lake Pedder and Lake Gordon within Southwest National Park are popular trout fishing waters. Both lakes were created in 1971 as part of hydro-electric developments. Lake Pedder is open to trout fishing all year and can be fished from the shore or by boat. Lake Gordon has a closed season and is more suited to boat-based fishing. Please ensure that all your gear is cleaned prior to use on and in the lakes to help prevent the spread of waterborne diseases such as Didymo into Tasmania This is especially important if your equipment has been used interstate or overseas. Find out more information about fishing in Tasmania's national parks and reserves on our Fishing page.
Both Lake Pedder and Lake Gordon provide great opportunities for boating. Please be aware that submerged timber is a significant hazard to navigation on Lake Gordon. Both lakes can experience extreme and sudden changes in weather at any time of the year and with little warning. Check the weather forecast before heading out.
For experienced paddlers, the coastline of Southwest National Park and inland areas like Lake Pedder provide a wealth of kayaking opportunities. Stunning scenery combined with the option of extended trips where you are likely to encounter very few other people make these appealing destinations. However, due to the remoteness, the extreme weather changes that this area can experience and the fact that strong gusty winds, heavy rain, sleet and snow are possible at any time of the year, kayakers need to be very skilled and well equipped.