Kayaking Lake Pedder Tasmania
Moving from one of the most densely populated areas of the world to one the least has been a surreal experience. With almost half of Tasmania’s land allocated as a National Park or some kind of Reserve, you’re never far away from some amazing nature sights. One of the most beautiful spots, we recently discovered, is Lake Pedder.
Located on the north side of the Southwest National Park, the largest National Park in Tasmania, Lake Pedder is a modified fresh water lake which was flooded in 1972 with the help of three dams to provide a ginormous chunk of Tassie with electricity. With a surface area of 242 km² it’s easy to stay away from the man-made adjustments to the lake and appreciate it’s beauty and splendour.
The drive out to the lake is a treat in itself. After passing though the small town of Maydena, it takes a further 72 km through the mountains before reaching the blimp on the map known as Strathgordon. After gawking at spectacular lookouts over mountain tops and valleys and driving through fern-clad roads, Strathgordon feels like an unwelcome change of scenery. A large “chalet” (read motel) is located at the far north end of the lake which looks like it was built in a rush and we weren’t sure if it was meant as tourist accommodation or worker’s lodging… The whole town feels like it’s from a bygone era of fishing glory (apparently the trout is this lake once averaged at the monstrous size of 5kg, but sadly for the fishermen… no more) and we find no evidence of occupants accept for what we assume is the caretaker who is about to hit the lake himself in his small sailboat.
Eager to leave Strathgordon behind, we quickly launch our kayaks into the water and it doesn’t take long for our jaws to drop once again. The weather is pristine, which according to the signs at the boat ramp is a rare sight and we count our blessings. Other than the the local Strathgordonite and his small vessel, there’s no sight of any other human beings, which makes us feel all the more blessed!
The water in Lake Pedder has an intensely dark shade of brown and Sam tells me he feels like he’s paddling through a lake of cola. I can’t help but giggle at the thought of how much that would burn your nose in case of a capsize. The tone for the trip seams to be set; just us, our kayaks and lot’s of joking around about the color of the water interrupted by staring at the mesmerizing views of the mountain ranges that surround the lake.
As we pull up on one of the many small beaches for our first camping spot, we notice the unusual colour of the rocks. They all have a slight pearlescent glow and some even look like they’re made of gold. Setting up the tent right on the water puts a massive smile on both our faces and I feel overjoyed falling asleep to the sounds of small waves gently rolling in right next to my face after watching the sun disappear behind the mountains over cheese and wine (ahhhh the joys of being able to take a few luxury items in a kayak… Every trip we take, I’m liking this adventurous way of exploring the country more and more!).
The next three days we’re paddling through this pristine patch of Tassie and despite the huge controversy involving the flooding of the lake back in the 70s, I feel like this has turned Lake Pedder into one of the most beautiful sights of Tasmania and certainly (considering we didn’t encounter a soul, which makes it 100% more amazing to see) one of the most underrated.