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A Breathtaking Journey: Hitting the Road to Gordon Dam by Van

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

Embarking on a road trip is a thrilling adventure that allows you to explore hidden gems and natural wonders that are often off the beaten path. One such journey that promises stunning landscapes and outdoor experiences is the route leading to Gordon Dam, with pit stops at Mount Field National Park and Mount Wedge. In this travel story, we'll take you through our unforgettable travel journey to these three incredible destinations in Tasmania, Australia, all while cruising in your trusty van.

Gordon Dam on a windless day
Credit: Stu Gibson

Starting Point: Hobart, Tasmania

Our journey began in the picturesque city of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. Before commencing your road trip from Hobart to Gordon Dam, it's crucial to make certain your van is in top condition by filling the fuel tank, checking essential fluids and tire pressure, and having an emergency kit on hand. Additionally, stock up on groceries in Hobart, including easy-to-prepare meals, fresh local produce, and ample drinking water, along with snacks and essentials, to ensure a comfortable and well-prepared journey through Tasmania's stunning landscapes. This proactive approach will allow you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Southwest Tasmania without worrying about vehicle issues or lacking provisions along the way.

Stop 1: Mount Field National Park

Russell Falls at Mount Field National Park in Tasmania
Russell Falls - Credit: Places We Go

Mount Field National Park, located just a short hour drive from Hobart, offers a diverse range of natural wonders that are easily accessible, making it a fantastic starting point for your journey to Gordon Dam. The park features iconic waterfalls such as Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and Lady Barron Falls, all set amidst lush rainforest, providing an enchanting introduction to Tasmania's natural beauty. For those seeking more challenging adventures, the Tarn Shelf hike in Mount Field National Park leads to stunning alpine landscapes. This park offers a captivating blend of serene rainforest and exhilarating hiking experiences, making it an ideal pit stop for nature enthusiasts before continuing their road trip. You can read all about it here.

Stop 2: Mount Wedge Hike

Young man climbing mount wedge in Tasmania on a sunny day

After a day of exploring Mount Field National Park, we set our GPS for the trailhead of Mount Wedge. This remote mountain in the Tyenna Valley offers an unforgettable hiking experience. The hike up Mount Wedge is a moderate to difficult trek, covering around 7.5 kilometers round-trip. The trail winds through eucalypt forests and opens up to vast views of the surrounding valleys. We suggest an early morning start to witness the sunrise from the summit. The effort was well worth it as we were treated to an awe-inspiring view of the valley bathed in the soft morning light. During our hike, we encountered a variety of wildlife, including wallabies, echidnas, and a diverse range of bird species, such as the rare Orange Bellied Parrot. The quiet serenity of the Australian bush was a delightful surprise.

For an immersive nature experience and a little rest, consider camping overnight at Ted's Beach, which is located 25mins drive from Mount Wedge and 15mins from Gordon Dam. Nestled alongside Lake Pedder, Ted's Beach offers a peaceful camping spot with picturesque views of the lake and surrounding wilderness. Camping here under the starry sky is a unique opportunity to connect with nature and rejuvenate after a day of exploration. Be sure to check local regulations and obtain any necessary permits for camping at Ted's Beach to make the most of your wilderness adventure.

Teds beach on a sunny summer day for camping
Teds' Beach - Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Lynette Graham

Stop 3: Gordon Dam

Gordon Dam and it staircase, go and walk on it.
Credit: Stu Gibson

The climax of our journey was Gordon Dam, a colossal structure nestled in the heart of Tasmania's wilderness. To reach Gordon Dam from Mount Wedge, we had to drive through dense forests and winding roads, which added to the sense of adventure.

Gordon Dam Wall: The Gordon Dam is an engineering marvel, standing at a towering 140 meters and holding back the mighty Gordon River. We walked across the dam wall, peering over the edge to witness the mesmerizing depth below. The contrast between the concrete monolith and the pristine wilderness surrounding it is a sight to behold.

"You can rent a kayak with your van for a much cheaper fare than a daily rental elsewhere"

Kayaking and Rafting: For the more adventurous, Gordon Dam offers opportunities for kayaking and white-water rafting on the Gordon River. We chose a more relaxing kayaking time and were rewarded with breathtaking views of the towering cliffs and dense rainforest lining the riverbanks.

Lake Gordon and its dead huon pines submerged by the raising waters.
Credit: Credit: Stu Gibson

Choosing the Right Van

Choosing the ideal van for your road trip expedition in the Gordon Dam region is an important decision. Take into account aspects such as van size, amenities, and comfort. Numerous rental providers offer well-equipped camper vans and motorhomes, guaranteeing a self-sustained and cozy travel experience. A few remote locations, such as Teds Beach campground, may necessitate you to have spare batteries and water for overnight stays, as amenities are scarce. Having a compact kitchenette can also help you save on expenses since dining options are limited in this rather isolated area, which can make dining out a bit costlier than in more populated regions. Additionally, during the colder months, particularly harsh winters in this region make good insulation and warm blankets essential for staying comfortable.

Our journey from Hobart to Gordon Dam, with stops at Mount Field National Park and Mount Wedge, was a remarkable exploration of Tasmania's natural beauty. From the enchanting waterfalls of Mount Field to the rugged wilderness of Mount Wedge and the awe-inspiring Gordon Dam, each location had its unique charm. If you're planning a road trip through Tasmania, make sure to include these destinations on your itinerary. The diverse experiences, from hiking in the lush rainforest to witnessing the grandeur of the Gordon Dam, will leave you with lasting memories of your journey. Traveling by van offers the freedom to explore at your own pace and truly immerse yourself in the pristine beauty of Tasmania's wilderness.

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