The Upper Florentine Valley, off the Gordon River Road in South West Tasmania
The Gordon River Rd takes you through some spectacular country. There is access to Mt Field National Park, and the Styx & Florentine Valleys which are home to magnificent tall trees and rainforest. Further along you pass the highest point on the road which gives visitors their first view of the jagged south west mountains that the area is so celebrated for. The range that dominates the view is called the Thumbs, and while even from the road the views are great, the view from the top of either the Needles or Mt Tim Shea really puts it all in perspective. After a very mild and comfortable autumn & winter, there has been some wild weather in Tas the past few weeks, with the snow and rain hitting with a vengenace in mid/late August. The snow was rapidly melting though, and by late afternoon the track back down was running like a creek!
The forests of the Upper Florentine are home to mostly myrtle & sassafras, as well as giant eucalypts and man ferns. There is also another fern called “batswing” which was just starting to shoot. The curled frond has in fact become an emblem of the Florentine Protection Society which is calling for the forests to be included in the World Heritage Area. As it stands, the mountain tops that surround the valley are all afforded world heritage status, but logging has started and there are plans to expand logging throughout the unprotected valley, which would obviously leave major visual scarring for the visitor, as well as the loss of an invaluable area of untouched natural forest.