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Narawntapu National Park

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Narawntapu National Park - Cities, Towns and Localities
The Narawntapu National Park was originally named the Asbestos Range National Park because of the copper, asbestos, iron and gold that was mined around the edges of the mountain range in the early 1800 to 1830’s, forcing the Norroundboo people off their land. Farming also occurred on the western side of the range such as in the historic property ‘Springlawn’ which was eventually purchased by the government in 1974. Today this farm forms the nucleus of the park.

The park is located in the centre of the north coast, covering the coastal area from Port Sorell to the mouth of the Tamar River and because of its unique coastal heathlands, its importance as a habitat for native animals and its recreational value, Asbestos Range was declared a national park in 1976. It wasn’t until May 1999, that the park reverted to an Aboriginal name ‘Narawntapu’, which was the Aboriginal name for the Badger Head and West Head area within the park.

Narawntapu National Park is rich in both Aboriginal and European heritage, offering a unique view of the original inhabitants, particularly those of the Northern Midlands Tribe who adapted their lives to utilise the resources of this area and the Europeans who were to force them off their land. Many Aboriginals were taken to camps on Flinders Island, where death and disease was all too common.

Stretching from the low coastal ranges to long Bass Strait beaches, the park includes much to interest the visitor including the historic farm, a complex of inlets, headlands, wetlands, dunes, lagoons, unspoilt beaches, stretches of sand dunes and small islands.

Dubbed as the ‘Serengeti of Tasmania’, it is also one of the best places to see wildlife. Forester kangaroos, Bennetts Wallaby and common wombats can be spotted, supported by the grassy pasturelands, with many wildlife also in the heath closer to the coast. There has been spotted at least 80 species of birds in the lagoon, which can be viewed from the purpose-built hide. If you like horse riding, a riding permit is also available from the ranger. Come spring and a variety of wildflowers can be found in the coastal heath.

To reach the western edge of the park, on the east side of the Rubicon River estuary, there is a meandering, 40 km drive from Devonport. It is also less than an hours drive from Launceston. The park is worth the trip, particularly at dusk, when many of the wildlife come out and feed. The park is renowned for the occasional spectacular storms that are accompanied by winds roaring along the beach. There is a self-registering campsite and the beach is good for swimming and oyster-hunting at low tide on the rocks.

The park offers a range of activities including water activities such as boating from Bakers Beach (ramp provided), water skiing near Port Sorell, swimming and beach activities. Bakers Beach fronts onto the Bass Strait, with access to sand and sea. Badger Beach is at the east of the park.

There are also some great walking trails, including the Springlawn Walk, a 90 minute walk that takes in a teatree forest and lagoon habitat. There is also the walk to Archers Knob with views of the ocean and dunes. Come spring and a variety of wildflowers can be found in the coastal heath.

There are basic camping facilities, and caravans are also welcomed, however bring your own water. Supplies can be purchase at Beaconsfield, Port Sorell, Devonport, Frankford and Latrobe.

A variety of passes such as the daily, holiday and annual, can be purchased to visit all of the national parks in Tasmania. Contact the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service for more information.

Information Centre

Parks and Wildlife Service - Narawntapu National Park

Source: Parks and Wildlife Service - Narawntapu National Park.

Narawntapu National Park Attractions

Aboriginal middens
Shell middens, artefact scatters and other sites in the park are evidence of Aboriginal adaptation to the coastal environment. It is from these sites that we know about Aboriginal use of stone from the local shoreline as well as stone traded from further afield. They worked these into various shapes; some for use as knives or scrapers, some for sharpening spears. Middens show that shellfish such as mussels, warrener and limpets were an important part of their diet.

Fire was also used by the Aboriginals to promote grasses and attract game. These millennia of connection with the area have given it an ongoing significance to today’s Aboriginal community, who regularly visit the area to maintain their strong connection with many sites throughout the park.

Badger Head/Badger Beach
In 1806 a convict named Charlotte Badger escaped from a ship anchored off the coast. She was believed to have taken refuge among the Aborigines in the vicinity of Norroundboo, the headland and beach that now bears her name.
Bakers Beach
A long beach with wide expanse of white sand. Boating is also available from Bakers Beach (a ramp is provided).
Camping is available at Springlawn, the horse yards, Bakers Point and Griffiths Point. A self-registration system for campers operates from the Springlawn information hut with most campsites having fireplaces, tables and pit toilets. At Springlawn there are septic toilets and electric barbecues. Nearby Port Sorell and Greens Beach also offer camping.
Horse Riding
Holding yards and a 26 km return trail are provided for horse riding. A permit can be obtained from the ranger to bring horses into the park. Bookings must be made for use of the yards.
There are a number of great walks catering for those wanting to do just a short walk and those wanting something longer.

Short Walks:

  • Archers Knob • Easy 2 hour return walk via Bakers Beach
    —  Accessible by a track between the lagoon and Bakers Beach, or by a track from the information hut. Towards the eastern end of the beach a track climbs steadily through coastal trees to the top of 114 m high Archers Knob. From the summit there are fine views over Bakers Beach, Badger Head and beyond.
  • Fire Trail Walks
    —  Inland from Springlawn provide easy walking through a variety of bushland. Views over Bass Strait and inland to the Western Tiers are obtained from the higher points.
  • Springlawn Nature Walk • Less than an hours walk
    —  Beginning from the Springlawn information hut, this easy circuit walk takes you through coastal thicket to the lagoon bird hide and back via the thickly vegetated dunes.

Longer Walks:

  • Copper Cove/Badger Head • 6-8 hour return trip from Springlawn
    —  An interesting sea-side walk featuring superb coastal views, fascinating landscape and a variety of wildflowers. From the eastern end of Bakers Beach a marked track zig zags up to Little Badger Head before descending to Copper Cove where there is a good picnic spot with fresh water from Windred Creek. In the early 19th century copper ore was mined in this area. From the cove the track continues around the headland to the tiny settlement of Badger Head, at the western end of Badger Beach. From the eastern end of Bakers Beach to Badger Head is about 5 km.
  • Coastal Traverse • At least 7-9 hours one way
    — Magnificent coastal route through the park is possible between Bakers Beach and Greens Beach, walking in either direction. Walking from west to east, follow the above directions for the Badger Head walk. From Badger Head follow Badger Beach towards West Head. The detour to the top of West Head leads to a fine new platform atop the cliffs. Follow the cliff-top track around West Head till you pick up the unsealed road that leads past Pebbly Beach on to Greens Beach township.
  • Point Vision Track • 6-8 hours return
    — The highest parts of the range, the ancient, worn spine of a once higher range, reach nearly 400 m at Mount Asbestos. The most accessible summit is Point Vision (370 m), reached via a rough track from Springlawn. This stays on the western side of the lagoon and Archers Knob before climbing into the lightly forested hills. It is mostly open and fairly easy walking in fine weather, although weather can be changeable at certain times of the year. Views from the top are spectacular. Return the same way. If a longer one-way walk is wanted, a fire trail from the Badger Head Road can be easily reached from Pt Vision. This trail skirts Mount Asbestos, which can be climbed as a detour.

The eastern side of Port Sorell was settled by George Hall in 1833. He drained some of the marshy land around what is now ‘Springlawn’. He had success with his potato crops, which were soon being sold at premium prices to the infant colony at Port Philip Bay. Hall helped cut the first track across the range. Fenton Creek is named after another early European settler, James Fenton, an historian who was said to have lived near Badger Head. The next owner of Springlawn was Edwin Baker who gave his name to the 7 km long beach. The farm changed hands several times until 1974 when it was purchased to form the nucleus of the Park. Edwin Bakers original homestead was gutted by fire. The weatherboard house that replaced it still stands. A number of farm outbuildings also remain as do some exotic trees.
A feature of the park are the coastal heathlands which contain six distinct heath communities, unusual in such a small area. In the vicinity of Archers Knob occurs the rare fern-like club moss, Phylloglossum drummondii, listed in the Threatened Species Protection Act 1995, and the uncommon Lycopodium serpentinum. Near Badger Head and Little Badger Head, and also listed as rare, are some of Tasmania’s only known stands of velvet bush Lasiopetalum baueri. The uncommon prickly tree fern Cyathea australis occurs in gullies to the south of the Park.

Common heath plants found in the park include common heath, honeysuckle banksia, grass tree, trigger plant, blue bell and ivy flat-pea (with its kite-shaped leaves and twining habit).

Dry sclerophyll woodlands occur on the hills inland. Behind Badger Beach there is coastal wattle and tea tree scrub. On the dunes at Bakers Beach are grassland, heath, thickets of coastal wattle, herbland in the swales and swamp forest in the drainage line behind the dunes. Around North East Arm there are extensive areas of salt marshes above the tidal flats.

Other flora in the park include Allocasuarina verticillata forest, Eucalyptus amygdalina forest, Eucalyptus obliqua forest, Eucalyptus obliqua forest, Eucalyptus regnans and Eucalyptus globulus forest.

For a more detailed list visit the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife section on Narawntapu National Park.

With its wide diversity of habitats for both plants and animals, the park makes for an ideal location to study nature. Dusk is the best time to observe the many native marsupials that live in the park. Some of the wildlife include the large Forester kangaroo Macropus giganteus (can be seen at Bakers Beach), Bennetts wallabies, pademelon Thylogale billardierii, Brushtail possums Trichosurus vulpecula, white-footed dunnart Sminthopsis leucopus, the rare spotted-tailed quoll Dasyurus maculatus, the eastern quoll Dasyurus viverrinus and common wombats Vombatus ursinus. These can be seen browsing the grasslands, especially around Springlawn. You may even catch a glimpse of a Tasmanian devils Sarcophilus harrisii. The introduced rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus is also common in disturbed areas around the park boundaries and in the Springlawn area. Though still wild, most animals are used to the presence of humans, and can be approached quietly for observation and photography. Please do not feed them. Wallabies and other animals can get a severe disease called ‘lumpy jaw’ if fed processed food.

There has been spotted at least 80 species of birds in the lagoon, which can be viewed from the purpose-built hide. They include several species of ducks, herons, swans, cormorants, coots, bitterns, grebes, as well as a variety of coastal birds such as oystercatchers, gulls and terns. Other bird variety include the many species of honeyeater, green rosellas, black cockatoos, golden whistlers, robins, Yellow wattle birds, wrens, and fantails. There is also the vulnerable hooded plover Thinornis rubricollis, as well as at least one pair of the endangered Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle Aquila audax fleayi and the white-bellied sea eagles Haliaeetus leucogaster.

For a more detailed list visit the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife section on Narawntapu National Park.

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Narawntapu National Park Other Links

• Narawntapu National Park Community/Local Government Links
Parks and Wildlife Check out the information on Narawntapu National Park.
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