Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area: A Precious Gift to Earth

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During the mid-1990’s I was honored to serve for a 3-year stint as National Campaign Director of the Wilderness Society, so naturally have a strong affinity with the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area for which the Wilderness Society played a big role in protecting over a long period of time. This extraordinary wild part of our precious planet deserves to be protected, respected and resourced to do so. If you get a chance to visit this lifetime, do so. Take your time. Walk. Sit. Contemplate. Blessing All. Ed: Kevin Parker

The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) is a stunning natural landscape located in southern and western Tasmania. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and covers nearly a quarter of the state. The TWWHA covers approximately 1.5 million hectares, which is more than 20% of Tasmania’s land area. It encompasses diverse ecosystems, including mountains, rainforests, rivers, and coastal areas.

The area, centrally located in Tasmania, is close to major cities and comprises several conservation zones, making it a large conservation area in Australia. It became a World Heritage Site in 1982 after efforts by environmentalists and local communities who recognized its unique values. There were threats from logging, mining, and hydro projects, notably the Franklin River dam, which led to protests and a court ruling in 1983 preserving the area.

Its biodiversity is vast, from different plant types to animals like wombats, wallabies, and quolls. The region has notable rivers like the Franklin and Gordon, as well as waterfalls and gorges showcasing its geological history. Visitors can engage in various activities, from photography and camping to hiking trails like the Overland Track and the Dove Lake Circuit. Boating, canoeing, and swimming are also popular in its water systems.

Outdoor Activities and Experiences

The TWWHA offers a wide range of outdoor activities and experiences for visitors to enjoy. Hiking and bushwalking, with numerous well-maintained trails that allow you to explore the wilderness and discover its hidden gems. Wildlife spotting for native animals such as Tasmanian devils, wombats, wallabies, and a variety of bird species.

Scenic drives: Take a scenic drive through the area to admire the stunning landscapes and enjoy breathtaking views.
Camping and picnicking: There are designated camping areas and picnic spots where you can relax and immerse yourself in nature.

National Parks in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

The national parks below are part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Each park offers unique landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, wildlife spotting, and scenic drives. Exploring these national parks allows visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and wilderness of this remarkable beauty.

Adamsfield Conservation Area
Central Plateau Conservation Area
Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park
Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park
Hartz Mountains National Park
Southwest National Park
Walls of Jerusalem National Park
Mount Field National Park

Natural Beauty and Biodiversity

The TWWHA is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and exceptional biodiversity. It is home to ancient rainforests, rugged mountain ranges, pristine rivers, and stunning coastal landscapes. The area is rich in unique flora and fauna, including endemic species found nowhere else on Earth.

Flora:

Huon Pine (Lagarostrobos franklinii) – A slow-growing, endemic tree species with highly valuable timber.
King Billy Pine (Athrotaxis selaginoides) – An ancient coniferous tree species found in alpine and subalpine regions.
Pencil Pine (Athrotaxis cupressoides) – Another coniferous tree species that grows in wet and cool areas.
Tasmanian Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus) – A tall eucalyptus tree species found in wet forests and coastal areas.
Myrtle Beech (Nothofagus cunninghamii) – A dominant rainforest tree species with distinctive buttressed roots.

Fauna:

Tasmanian Devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) – A carnivorous marsupial known for its stocky build and powerful jaws.
Eastern Quoll (Dasyurus viverrinus) – A small carnivorous marsupial with distinctive spots and a long tail.
Tasmanian Pademelon (Thylogale billardierii) – A small marsupial similar to a wallaby, found in forested areas.
Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacinus cynocephalus) – Although considered extinct, there have been unconfirmed sightings of this carnivorous marsupial in the TWWHA.
Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) – Australia’s largest bird of prey, known for its impressive wingspan and soaring flights

Three-Capes-Track-Cape-Hauy-Tasmania-Parks-and-Wildlife-Service
Three Capes Track-Cape Hauy Tasmania Parks and Wildlife-Service

Insights for Visitors

There are visitor centers and information points located throughout the TWWHA, providing maps, guides, and helpful advice.
Some areas within the TWWHA require permits for entry, so it’s important to check the regulations and obtain any necessary permits in advance.

It is recommended to be well-prepared for outdoor activities, including carrying appropriate gear, food, water, and clothing suitable for the changing weather conditions.

Visiting Tasmania’s World Heritage Area offers a unique opportunity to experience the beauty and wilderness of one of the last remaining temperate wilderness areas on Earth. Enjoy exploring the diverse landscapes, immersing yourself in nature, and discovering the rich cultural and historical heritage of this remarkable place.

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