mount field national park
mount field national park
Featuring a landscape composed of varying geological substrates including Jurassic dolerite, limestone, sandstone and quartzite, the grand mountain peaks, valleys and tarns all reveal actions of glacial carving from over 12 000 years ago. This incredible diversity of landscape translates to an incredible variety of flora, with the park being recognised as a hot spot of botanical diversity in Tasmania.
Mt Field's vegetation is incredibly dynamic: ranging from lush temperate rainforests and stands of massive eucalyptus to alpine moorlands scattered with the most majestic of miniature plants.
Mt Field also contains habitat for the Deciduous Beech or the Fagus (Nothofagus gunnii) - Tasmania's only native deciduous plant and is regarded a relic from many millions of years ago that helps to tie together the theory of the super continent Gondwana. Mt Field is one of the premier locations for viewing 'the turning of the Fagus' - the annual phenomenon, whereby the transition of the Fagus' foliage from brilliant greens through golden yellow into the most magnificent shades of red, that blankets the surrounding landscape - a truly awesome spectacle that occurs late every Autumn.
The last Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was captured in the region back in 1933, by the cunning bushman Elias Churchill. Sir Edmund Hillary was snowed in here for a week in the sixties, along with Tenzing Norgay, and they were said to have moved quite rapidly across Mt Field's renown boulder fields, showing the great athleticism of the world's best mountaineers.
Mt Field's proximity to Hobart, along with its topographic ability to hold deep snow for long periods, is one of the reasons the park has been and still is a skiing institution for Hobartians over generations. The snow laden beauty of this winter wonderland can be seen most readily between the months of June - October, however snowy weather events are a possibility all year round, with the occasional white Christmas always a chance.
southwest national park
southwest national park
To be included within the UNESCO World Heritage List a site needs to have Outstanding Universal Value and must satisfy at least one of ten selection criteria. A mighty fine example of a World Heritage Site - the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area meets some seven of ten criteria.
The Southwest National park contains some of the most challenging and stunning bushwalking in Australia. The Western Arthur Range, is considered to be one of the most arresting ridge line walks in the world, its backbone sticks up, fracturing the buttongrass plains like a scene akin to somewhere in Patagonia. The fang of Federation Peak, providing the pinnacle of hiking destinations for those intrepid enough to scour up moss ridge or the Eastern Arthur Range. The Frankland Range, The Spires, Lake Rhona, The Prince of Wales Range, a mention of any of these is enough to send a shiver down the spine of anyone who has felt the luscious tickle of Richea scoparia on their bare flesh.
The Southwest contains Tasmania's most remote places with limited access into the fringes by foot, boat or airplane, with the exception being the Gordon River road which was forged into the heart of the Southwest wilderness back in 1970 's to facilitate the construction of the Gordon Power Scheme. This gateway acted as a double-edged sword: the roads helped inundate the inimitable gem that was Lake Pedder, yet the same roads enable society to witness and experience some of the most inspiring wilderness in the world.
Home to many characters over the years, people survived here in the midst of a world no one would dream of forging a life, let alone a family! One of these incredible humans was named Charles Denison (Deny) King, who raised a family at Melaleuca in the depths of the Southwest on the shores of Port Davey. An avid naturalist, environmentalist, painter, ornithologest and tin miner, Deny was renown for his incredible hospitality towards bushwalkers, deep knowledge of his surroundings and incredible strength.
Then in the late 18th century at the beckon of the government of the time surveyors and their hands were sent westward in search of pasture & minerals. In 1835 on a grand expedition for the Survey Department to identify the sources of the Derwent, Gordon and Huon rivers, and to define western areas for settlement, it is said that on March 11 John Wedge and his team cast their gaze upon "one of the finest gems of the Western country" - Lake Pedder.
Envisage a landscape: verdure as far as one can see. Serrated mountain peaks cut into the sky beyond the brooding cloud. Upon a mountain the cloud condenses and a brook trickles slowly, ruffled by the prevailing breeze into a meandering stream. The stream falls through pool after pool, over billion year old quartzite rock, breaking the smallest fragment free and sending it down, ever downward. The stream joins the creek and the quartzite sand travels among the tea tree steeped flow awash with a humus of natures litter. The creek finds its finale in the Lake later named Pedder, depositing the fragment in its final resting place. The seasonal shift of water levels reveal it alongside millions of others just like it that form a beach of perfect pink quartzite sands extending into the tannin stained waters.
It was not until the 1950s that Lake Pedder became the well known spectacle that was visited by hundreds of people every summer. In 1955 at the call of bush walkers the Lake Pedder National Park was created to protect the area containing and surrounding Lake Pedder. Wilderness campaigners including photographer Olegas Truchanas and artist Max Angus have there names etched into the imagery of Pedder and provide for generations of those unable to gaze upon its mirrored surface.
In 1967 the Tasmanian government revoked the National Park status of Lake Pedder for the purpose of opening up the area for the development of the Gordon Hydro Electric Scheme. Protests ensued against the intentions to inundate Lake Pedder. Alternate options were available with minimal impact on the economical value of the scheme. The Federal government under Gough Whitlam even offered a blank cheque to the then premier Eric Reece to allow for further independent research into the feasibility and impacts of the project, yet the offer was refused by Reece stating that he would 'not have the federal Government interfering with the sovereign rights of Tasmania'.
By 1972 the dams were built and Pedder slowly receded under the tannin stained waters of the new impoundment, the latter bestowed the same name as the original lake, even though it vastly differed in ecological, physical and social value. For the purpose of Wild Pedder, we refer to the new impoundment as Lake Pedder to avoid confusion, however recognise and realise the vast difference between it and the real Lake Pedder that resonated within the hearts and minds of many.
Lake Pedder - a story that cannot be merely read, but a story to be heard, to be felt and to be seen.