Part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Southwest National Park is unlike any other in Australia. Over six hundred thousand hectares of inspiring, wild and remote countryside make this the largest national park in the state. This region has wild rivers and jagged mountain ranges, rolling buttongrass plains and silent green rainforest. High rainfall, ice and wind often lash this area, yet even in cloudy weather there are often unexpected views with light suitable for sightseeing and photography.
Southwest National Park encompasses some of the finest wilderness country in Australia and offers everything from scenic drives, quick picnics and brief strolls, to fishing and extended wilderness walks. Because of the enormous area covered by the park and the two different ways it can be accessed by road, details of both the northern and southern sections are included.
|Southwest National Park|
The southern part of the park is accessed via Cockle Creek, the south-eastern entrance to the park 148 km (2 hours) south of Hobart. Take the Southern Outlet (A6) to the Huon Highway (A6) following signs to Huonville. Pass through Huonville, Geeveston and Dover. About 15 km after Dover, take the C635 direction Hastings Caves. After 4 km take the gravel road (C636) through Lune River to Cockle Creek. Bushwalker transport is available in summer, contact Tassie Link on 1300 300 520 for details. Remember when driving you are sharing the road with wildlife.
An information booth at Cockle Creek will help you make the most of your visit. Water activities such as swimming, fishing and boating are popular near Cockle Creek, where the tranquil coves and sandy beaches of Recherche Bay, contrast with the rugged often snow-capped peaks of the distant mountains. You will need a Recreational Fishing Licence to obtain rock lobster, abalone or to use a gill net. These are available throughout the state at Service Tasmania Shops and also from the Department of Primary Industries, Water & Environment in Hobart. This area of the park is great for bird watching and picnics.
|Southwest National Park|
Walks - There are a variety of walks in this area ranging from short nature rambles to challenging treks into the Southwest wilderness. Always carry warm and water proof clothing.
Bronze Whale Sculpture - 10 minutes return. This easy walk starts at the very end of the road about 800m past Cockle Creek Bridge. This life size sculpture of a three-month-old southern right whale is a reminder that whales come to sheltered bays like this to calve over winter.
Fishers Point - 2 - 3 hours return. On this fascinating and easy walk discover whalebones, rock pools full of creatures and much more. The track begins at the whale sculpture and continues to Fisher Point Light and the remains of the old pilot station. Please do not remove any items you may find as they are protected by law.
South Cape Bay - 4 - 5 hours return. This well constructed track takes you across buttongrass plains to spectacular views on the coast. Starting from Cockle Creek Bridge follow the vehicle track along the southern bank of the creek. After 400 m you will reach the walking track. You will need to take food and water on this trip.
Overnight walks - Longer walks also start from the Cockle Creek Bridge. Refer to South Coast Walks Map and Notes for detail. Remember walkers should NOT venture into this wilderness without careful preparation and suitable equipment.
In the Recherche Bay Nature Recreation Area dogs and generators are permitted, and campsites with toilets are located at Gilhams Beach, Finns Beach and Catamaran River. No water is provided. Within the Southwest National Park basic camping facilities including pit toilets are provided at Boltons Green, Cockle Creek. There are no camping fees. Past the bridge park entry fees apply and dogs and generators are NOT permitted. There is no rubbish collection. The nearest waste transfer station is at Dover. Fires are not permitted at Boltons Green. Tank water is usually available but should not be relied upon in summer, and must be boiled or treated before drinking.
The closest shops are Hastings Caves Cafe and Southport Tavern, about 20 km north. Food, accommodation, petrol and postal services are available at Dover, 35 km to the north.
The weather in the Southwest National Park can change very suddenly so be prepared for sun, rain, wind and snow at all times of the year. Check the current weather forecast before venturing on any activities within the park. Up to date weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology on 1196