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Southwest National Park facts for kids

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Southwest National Park
IUCN Category II (National Park)
Tasmania location map S-W-Wilderness.png
Nearest town/city Strathgordon
Coordinates 42°50′01″S 146°08′58″E / 42.83361°S 146.14944°E / -42.83361; 146.14944
Area 618,267 ha (1,527,770 acres)
Established 1955 (as Lake Pedder NP)
Managing authorities Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service
Official site Southwest National Park

The Southwest National Park is a 618,267-hectare (1,527,770-acre) national park in the south-west of Tasmania, Australia. The park is the largest in Tasmania and is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The eastern side of the park is 93 kilometres (58 mi) west of Hobart and the park stretches to the west and south coasts. This park covers most of the wilderness areas in Tasmania's south west. The park is well known for its untouched wilderness and remoteness. Weather in the park is can change quickly, and can be severe. The area has not been changed by humans. Evidence shows that Tasmanian Aborigines have visited the area for at least 25,000 years. European settlers have made a few trips into the park, but there has been very few long lasting settlements and little change to the natural environment. Within the area there is only one road, to the hydroelectricity township of Strathgordon. The southern and western parts the park can only be reached by foot, boat, or light aircraft.

The tiny town of Melaleuca in the extreme south-west has a runway for airplanes to land, and basic facilities for the National Parks Service.


Most of the park was created in 1955 and was first called Lake Pedder National Park. Over the following 35 years the park was made bigger and was renamed, reaching its present size in 1990. The original small Lake Pedder was flooded with the building of a dam on the Gordon River for hydroelectricity. The man made lake is also called Lake Pedder

Lake Pedder From Mt Eliza
Lake Pedder from Mount Eliza, Southwest National Park, Australia
Melaleuca Airstrip SW Tas
A tourist plane prepares for take-off from the Melaleuca Airstrip


The Melaleuca area is the summer breeding grounds of the highly endangered orange-bellied parrot .


There are two ways to reach the park by land: the Gordon River Road to the hydroelectricity township of Strathgordon and the Huon Highway to Cockle Creek. The southern and western areas of the park can only be reached by foot, boat, or light aircraft. There are two main walking tracks cross the park. The Port Davey Track and the South Coast Track. The walks are generally for more experienced walkers, and take about ten to fourteen days to complete. A flight to or from Melaleuca may be arranged to split the walk, or for tourist access for day trips. Several more difficult walks also exist, including the Eastern and Western Arthur Ranges, Precipitous Bluff, the South West Cape, and Federation Peak. These are not suitable for inexperienced walkers, or for people traveling alone. Sea access to the park is from Port Davey and Bathurst Harbour.

Bathurst Harbour SW Tas5
The spectacular and isolated Bathurst Harbour, South West Wilderness, Tasmania, Australia
South Cape Bay
South Cape Bay, Southwest National Park, Tasmania

Other pages

Other National Parks and reserves in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area are:

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Parque nacional del Suroeste para niños

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