Franklin Nature Trail
Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
Directions - Located over two and a half hours north west of Hobart, take the Brooker Hwy north and follow the signs for New Norfolk. Cross the River Derwent at New Norfolk and then follow the Lyell Highway north west all the way to Derwent Bridge. The Franklin Nature Trail is located a further 20 minutes along the highway with ample parking available.
The Hike - With our time at Lake St Clair over, the next destination on our road trip was the west coast town of Strahan located a two hour drive away. Over the course of our stay at Lake St Clair, the weather had been on the cold, wet and snowy side of the spectrum so it was nice to wake up to light clouds and relatively clear conditions on our final morning. After a lovely breakfast at the lodge, we packed up our things and as Caris was finishing, I took one last stroll along the lake where I was delighted to see Mount Ida for the first time.
Leaving Lake St Clair in convoy, the drive to Strahan on the Lyell Highway is one of the more scenic roads in Australia and contains plenty of jaw-dropping views and short trails to stop at along the way. The short 20 minute drive from Derwent Bridge contains a couple of Buttongrass plains with snow capped peaks in the distance and at the first large one we passed through Hal had the same idea as me by choosing to stop on the side of the road for pictures. In the distance was Mount Hugel that I had seen on the previous day's hike on the Shadow Lake Circuit. About halfway between Derwent Bridge and the Franklin Nature Trail is an official viewing spot with stunning vistas looking across to King William I, Milligans Peak and Mount Pitt. Naturally we stopped here and marvelled at the beauty of these mountains before getting back in the car and driving the short distance to the start of our first hike. Leaving the plains behind, you drop about 400m of elevation and start to head into the stunning temperate rainforests of this World Heritage Area. The car park for the Franklin Nature Trail is well signed and we were lucky to have only a couple of cars here given it was school holidays.
As it is only a short walk, I left the pack in the car and only brought my camera and trusty fungi hunting sidekick, Caris. By this point of the trip we had a good system down pat where Caris would go at her own pace up ahead of me and stop to point out anything interesting she saw along the way. As usual, Hal was way ahead of everyone so I was happy to be tail end Charlie, taking my time to photograph everything that peaked my interest, which was quite a lot on this trail. Being deep within the rainforest and right next to two rivers, this area has the perfect conditions for fungi to thrive. From the car park things don't look too out of the ordinary but once you cross that threshold then everything changes and you enter an inviting world of ferns, fungi, moss, tall timber and raging rivers. I love the shroud of a good forest and this gentle meander through this characterful place was very relaxing. Early on there were plenty of great finds with almost every mossy log and tree trunk containing a plethora of different varieties of fungi, which Caris was happily pointing out for me.