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
The park is located in the centre of the
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,
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.
Narawntapu National Park Attractions
• 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.
• 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.
• A long beach with wide expanse of white sand.
Boating is also available from Bakers Beach (a ramp is
• 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
• 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
- Archers Knob • Easy 2 hour return walk via Bakers
— 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
- 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.
- Copper Cove/Badger Head • 6-8 hour return trip
— 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
- 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
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
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
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.