Liffey Falls, on the Liffey River near Westbury.

The Western Wilderness


The South West Wilderness of Tasmania is a remote and inaccessible region containing unspoilt scenery, rugged peaks, wild rivers, unique flora and fauna, and a long and rugged coastline.

The South West Wilderness is one of the most remote and inaccessible areas in Australia, parts of the wilderness are more than 50 km from the nearest road. No vehicular roads penetrate beyond the edges of the wilderness, so the only access to the south-west of the area is by foot, air or sea.

Two walking tracks (for very experienced walkers only) cross the wilderness. The 54 km Port Davey Track runs from Lake Pedder to Melaleuca and typically takes four to five days to walk. Lake Pedder itself is 75 km from Hobart via the Gordon River Road. From Melaleuca the 66km South Coast Track runs along the southern coast of Tasmania back to Cockle Creek. This section of the walk typically takes between 5 & 9 days. There are also some shorter walks that enter the edges of the wilderness from the road access points.

Although air travel into the area is highly dependent upon the rapidly changeable weather, an aircraft drop-off and/or pick-up at Melaleuca can be arranged. Light aircraft fly on regular tourist flights from Cambridge Aerodrome near Hobart and offer a stunning way to view the South West Wilderness.

You can access the wilderness area by boat. There are no regular tourist operations to the area by sea, but a water trip can be organised through the tourist flight operator. They can also offer overnight accommodation in a standing camp. A sea kayak touring outfitter leads extended wilderness tours of Bathurst Harbour, using folding kayaks and departing from Melaleuca.

The area is subject to snow, ice, strong winds, heavy fog and cloud cover at any time of year, but especially in the mid-year months, which means any trip into the wilderness should be taken with caution. The superb views are regularly obscured by low level cloud and potentially dangerous weather occurs because the wilderness fronts the wild Southern Ocean.

The Southwest National Park is part of a continuous chain of five National Parks which cover almost a quarter of Tasmania’s land mass, including the Hartz Mountains National Park, the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, and the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. Together with a few other smaller parks and areas, form the World Heritage Area.

"Liffey Falls State Reserve is nestled within cool temperate rainforest on the slopes of the Great Western Tiers. Framed by the dominant species of Tasmania's cool temperate rainforests - myrtle, sassafrass and leatherwood. The Liffey Falls State Reserve was included within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area in 1989, a tribute to the globally significant value of the region."


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