Location: Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
Length: 1-kilometre return
Grade: 1 (suitable for everyone)
Distance from: Hobart - 199 km, Launceston - 194 km, Devonport - 203 km
The world-famous Lyell Highway takes you to a great many beautiful locations on the Tasmanian island, and the Franklin River Nature Trail is certainly one of them. Winding its way through the remote reaches of the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, the highway offers up this easy 1-kilometre return walk around one of the aforementioned wild rivers. It's a breathtaking and educational way to stretch your legs during a long drive. And there's no better place on the Tasmanian island for a picnic.
Much of the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park is inaccessible, but this trailhead is right off one of Tasmania's legendary highways. The trailhead can be found 56 kilometres east of Queenstown if you're headed east on the Lyell Highway. If you're headed west, the trailhead sits 26 kilometers from Derwent Bridge. The trailhead is well signed and can be found on the south side of the highway. That means it'll be on your right when driving from Queenstown and on your left when coming from Derwent Bridge.
Oddly enough, this beautiful walk is nearly equidistant from all three of Tasmania's largest cities. Sitting 199 kilometers from Hobart, 194 kilometers from Launceston and 203 kilometers from Devonport, the drive from each of these cities should take you a little under two hours.
This trail is quick, flat and easy, but will take you by two thundering rivers -- the indomitable Franklin and the beautiful Surprise River. The forest is thick and fragrant on this one-kilometre return walk as you'll be surrounded by myrtle and sassafras trees. You'll find plenty of informational displays educating you on the flora and fauna of the area as well as boardwalks and lookout points over the rivers.
There is a well-signed carpark at the trailhead with barbecue and toilet facilities.It rains quite a bit in Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. No matter what time of year, always pack something to protect you from the rain.
Keep a close eye on children when at the viewing platforms. There is a moderate drop to running waters below.