Nelson Falls - Lyell Highway
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The short walk to Nelson Falls can be done all year. The 30 m high waterfall is at its peak in winter and spring, particularly after heavy rainfall. We visited Nelson Falls once in February and again in November. During summer in February, it was a trickle only, and in November it was a tremendous fall. It was great fun to watch these falls again although I became utterly wet from the spray. It was freezing cold below 10 °C. It's an unforgettable experience in winter and spring despite the cold temps.
The Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park has a wet oceanic climate and is the wettest area in Tasmania. The “driest” month is February followed by January and March. In summer the temps are about 20 °C, records are over 30 °C but can also drop below 10 °C. During winter, it can drop below zero. The wettest months are May to October. However, be prepared when traveling to the west; expect rain!
The waterfall is situated in the Franklin Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, roughly 30 km east of Queenstown. The National Park is named after the two main rivers which exist in the park. Luckily Franklin River got protected before flooding in the 1980s. The Lyell highway is the only road which leads through it with several stops for short hikes.
The walk to Nelson Falls is a must to get an idea of the beauty and the wilderness of this cool-temperature rainforest. The trail is well maintained, easily accessible on a boardwalk and much is explained on boards. This short half an hour return hike is one of the very few opportunities to get a little glimpse of the wild and untouched National Park. There is are a huge carpark and toilet facilities. An entrance fee or National Park Pass is required.
The tremendous National Park is also accessible by boat. Daily cruises depart from Strahan on the West Coast. Scenic flights are also offered.