Heritage amid tranquil beauty

In the cool-climate rain forest, PATRICIA MAUNDER finds the wild river has a quieter side

Until this moment, I had only associated Tasmania’s Gordon River with the sound and fury of extreme white-water rafting and anti-dam protests of four decades ago. Now, as we glide up its lower reaches and enter the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, my mind flips.

The river is as placid as a lake, with mirror-perfect reflections of dense, green rainforest and big blue sky stretching into eternity along its surface. This double vision of reality and its exact replica is initially disorienting but I soon embrace the surreal.

Gordon River Cruises’ custom-built, hybrid-engine catamaran has switched to quiet electric mode, so the absence of bird sounds seems odd given the uninterrupted sweep of trees from riverbanks to distant mountains. Perhaps, like us suddenly silent passengers, birds feel reverence in this place.

Tassie’s wild west tends to inspire awe. Much of it is national parks and other conservation areas forming a significant part of the State’s 1.4 million hectare UNESCO World Heritage Wilderness Area. There’s no land west of the rugged coastline until Argentina. That’s west of here ... think about it.

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