Wave Wake and Erosion - Lower Gordon River

Since at least the mid 1980s, the wake from tourist cruise boats has caused erosion of the formerly stable to depositional banks of the lower Gordon River within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Speed and access restrictions on the operation of commercial cruise vessels have considerably slowed, but not halted erosion of the now destabilised banks.

Two forms of monitoring are being undertaken - see the following PDFs:

  Lower Gordon River erosion monitoring report, February 2004 to March 2013   (6Mb)

  Lower Gordon River erosion monitoring report, March 2013 to December 2015   (459Kb)

  Lower Gordon River erosion monitoring report, December 2015 to December 2016   (673Kb) 

  Lower Gordon River erosion monitoring December 2016 to February 2018   (650Kb)

Monitoring results suggest that visitors in smaller recreational vessels are now causing almost as much erosion as commercial cruises.   

Cruise Boat

Measuring cruise boat wave wake
and impact, Tuan Gaby Flats


Download a copy of: 

    Lower Gordon River erosion – history and lessons learned   (510Kb)

Further description of the area, the problem and management prescriptions is available in the Lower Gordon River Recreation Zone Plan. (This plan is due for revision.)

Some major suggested changes to the Lower Gordon River Recreation Zone Plan include:

  • A 5 knot speed limit for all non-commercial traffic
  • Revised criteria and testing guidelines for commercial operations
  • Minor adjustments to some zone boundaries
  • Annual reporting of monitoring results.
An empirical rationale for the proposed plan changes is presented in The revised wave wake criteria for vessel operation on the lower Gordon River.


Wave Wake Enquiries
Jason Bradbury
200 Collins Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Phone: 0419 886 572
Email: Jason.Bradbury@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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