Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
Directions - Located about three 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. Nelson Falls is located just under an hour west along the highway with ample parking available.
The Hike - With our journey today taking us from Lake St Clair to Strahan, I'd lined up a series of stops along the way to experience what this World Heritage Area had to offer. In my previous post for Donaghys Hill I had referred to the series of trails along the Lyell Highway as a bit of a degustation and we were about to get a taste of the waterfall course for the day. Unfortunately when we arrived the car park was already overflowing and this seemed to be a popular school holiday spot compared to the other stops we'd made this morning.
Finding a relatively safe spot on the edge of the highway, we gathered up our things and being a waterfall, I grabbed out the tripod to get some long exposure shots. As with most of these hikes that start along the edge of a road, the entrance spot into the forest doesn't look very appealing with a small grassed area and a toilet block carved into the landscape. Once you cross the bridge and pass the information board then it all changes and you enter a world of temperate rainforest, babbling brooks and fabulous fungi. With so many cars in the car park, I was slightly worried about having people in every shot and then having no space at the end for my tripod but for the most part I was lucky to have the trail relatively free from oddly clothed humans and could just concentrate on the scenery. It's a gentle uphill all the way to the main falls but it just feels like a flat path as you make your way along the edge of the Nelson River. To the right I was interested in the shapes and look of some mallee style vegetation that provided a mess of thin trunks against a bright backdrop.
Not far into the hike there is a side quest down some stairs and along a boardwalk where you get some of the best views looking up and down the river. With cloudy conditions continuing into the middle of the day, the rainforest lining the edge of the river was looking stunning thanks to a mix of deep brown, tannin stained water, giant green ferns and the mossy rocks scattered around. It was one of those breathe it all in moments where you just stand still and appreciate where you are and how lucky you are to be there. Although the main spectacle further along is what most people come here to see, it's the small things like these views that I really like on these hikes. Moving on from the picture perfect river scenes, I caught up with Caris and Candy as they were reading one of the many information boards strewn throughout the walk that tell you of the forces that shaped this area and also the flora that thrives here. Reaching another bridge, you cross over to the western side of the river (ignore the map above, it is wrong with regards to the position of the track and the river) and it allows you to stop and admire the gentle flow that is in stark contrast to what you'll see shortly.