Eagle Creek

Historical Trek – A Great Adventure Beckons

Jude clearing the Eagle Creek TrackHave you ever dreamt of trekking a historical track through some of Earth’s most exquisite virgin rainforest? If you have the stamina, courage, and can take care of yourself in thick bush, thanks to a few friends, the historical track through never before touched rainforest once used by Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin to travel between the World Heritage Franklin and Gordon Rivers in west Tasmania has been cleared and is again open to trekkers.

Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin track

Track from East to West

Note: the cleared track is only between the Gordon and Franklin Rivers

Originally cut in 1840’s by Tasmania’s Surveyor General James Calder, aided by a gang of convicts, it took two years of the most arduous, wet, miserable work to forge a way from Lake St. Clare through scrub, mountainous terrain, then after crossing the Franklin River, through tea-tree plains below the Elliot Range before plunging into dense rainforest bordering the Gordon River.

There are two excellent accounts of the magnificent adventure undertaken by Lady Jane Franklin, who, although the wife of Tasmania’s highest office holder, demanded that she walk through what is still some of Australia’s toughest country. The first account was written by David Burn in 1843, a journalist who accompanied the 30-person party. And the second, titled Recollections of Sir John and Lady Jane Franklin in Tasmania. was written some years after the event by the expedition leader James Calder.

eagle creek track

mushrooms and fungi sprouting from every bit of rotting woodThis remote part of SW Tasmania receives nearly three metres of rain every year, so expect slippery slopes, plenty of leaches, mushrooms and fungi sprouting from every bit of rotting wood.

So why do it? Hardships aside, we experienced one of Earth’s grand hideaways. Unique, full of Nature’s beauty, and of course, rewarding to complete. And while you are under that thick canopy smelling the rich earthy aroma of lush vegetation, imagine Lady Jane and her lady in waiting, slipping down those same slopes, maybe rain or hail falling, her frock mud splattered, her shoes splitting open, and she not only enduring this, but encouraging the others to press on. And then you will have had an adventure well worth retelling until you are so old the moment will seem like you were a child.

How to organize? The man to talk to is Trevor Norton, ex-master of the Stormbreaker, which does upwards of sixty trips a season up the Gordon River right past you’re departure point. Trevor knows this track better than anyone and he’s not only a very nice person, he’s profoundly knowledgeable. He will tell you everything about your challenge, take you to Eagle Creek,  and arrange to pick you up. Trust him, we do. In this world of extreme adventures,  Trevor Norton is your man.

Trevor Norton wth Jude


Eagle Creek — 2 Comments

  1. Hi, It was myself and my partner Noni who hiked the Eagle Creek track with our packrafts. The first part of the track is fine. But once you get to Pig Hill then is becomes a bit more challenging. Fallen trees and losing the track and multiple colored tapes, it took us two days to walk to Flat island 8 kms from the Gordon. Once on the Franklin we inflated our packrafts and paddle for two days back to Sir John falls to be picked up by Trevor. Great little trip, more people should do it, it would open the track up a bit. I hire out packrafts and have a Facebook page Wildaboutpackrafting. Cheers Shane

    Thanks Shane, Great to hear about your trip. It is indeed a rewarding challenge with its immense range of forests and rivers.

  2. Hi Trevor,
    I would love more information on this walk.
    Deb ????

    Hi Deb,

    Funny you should write just as we were on that walk. We’ve been up the Gordon River these last three weeks and one day we hiked a bit of the track.

    Trevor Norton is the man to speak with for more information as he regularly takes kayakers into that area. I know there was some talk of a small group going soon-ish with pack rafts and come down the Franklin.

    Another couple made the hike a month or so back, carrying Pack Rafts. But if you’re just into hiking then it’s best to count on at least one night out. Two would be better if you plan to explore the Elliot Range. But I must warn you that it is not open easy country and you should have some bush skills. It can be very wet. This year the west coast has been getting its full share of weather. We had a few showers, nothing horrendous for this part of the world. There’s a good campsite where Eagle Creek meets the Gordon, and another where the track hits the Franklin.

    The man to talk to is Trevor Norton, master of the Stormbreaker. http://westcoastyachtcharters.com.au/

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