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Published: September 3rd 2014
WILD TASMANIA...Narawntapu N.P.
I don't know how she did it...but she did it. Denise has been trying for ages to persuade me to spend our annual break in the Apple Isle...now done...mighty glad we did.
70%!t(MISSING)he size of England...population about 500,000...now I understand why they want to keep it that way...has us seriously considering moving there.
Like English countryside I'd heard. What a lot of rubbish. Only taste of England is Morrison English Bitter...local craft beer...if only English beer could taste so good.
Tasmania...Australian as you can get it...only no deserts...Australia's best kept secret.
Come travel with us and find out why...there's room in the back...VW Sandpiper mobile home...visiting the National Parks along the way...no itinerary...staying where the wind blows...circumambulation on four wheels commencing in Launceston...clockwise of course.
So where to start?
Fly from Sydney to Tasmania's second largest city...Launceston population about 40,000...on the Tamer River.
Get the vehicle...supermarket for supplies...a few DVDs...then the grog shop for a bottle of wine or two.
What? You have an amazing collection of Tasmanian Craft Beers...one of each...16 different...OK...16 it is.
Look at the map...let's head North up the
Tamer to Bass Strait...stay in one of the coastal villages...then turn East...no rush.
Denise driving of course...we learnt this in Patagonia...someone has to put on the music...enjoying ourselves already.
First stop was Beaconsfield Goldmine.
This was the sight of the 2006 mine collapse that captured the attention of the World.
Todd Russell and Brant Webb were trapped 950 metres underground for two weeks...rescued after surviving the most frightening ordeal with the dead body of their mate who was not so lucky.
A time for reflection and to honour the courageous human spirit.
Then to Green Beach...a scrubby beach popular with fishermen but any view from the caravan park obscured by bushes...nil appeal to these hunters for serenity.
Down a road marked National Park to a lonely forested turning circle that did not encourage security or exuberence for our first night.
So back to that 5 Star caravan park back there at Kelso...sure we can fit you in...top spot next to the machinery shed...long extension cord to add to ours to get power...OK...just one night thanks.
Was better than it sounds.
Past the shed was a wilderness
crawling with wildlife...elusive wallabies, pademelons, wombats...a windswept beach covered in thick layers of dead river grass...birds aplenty...an ancient forest with an irridescent creek within...just us exploring this pocket of paradise...exciting us of discoveries in Tasmania ahead...when we will enter true wilderness.
Exploring the locality next day we came to tiny river settlements and a sign to Historic York Town with public toilets encouraging a stop.
A family of three having a cup of tea on a bench just there...Den chatting...funny how these little meetings can turn to gold.
York Town was the sight of the first British settlement in Northern Tasmania...a bustling town from 1804 to 1808...grand plans but poor planning...no suitable river port and poor soil resulting in inevitable abandonment.
No original buildings existing...just original dirt roads, a hut next to a small lake with the exotic sounds of a banjo frog and metal cutouts of British soldiers peering through the scrub...tourists wandering through wondering like we were as to what is the attraction.
The family still on the bench packing up to move on...throwing a thought.
"If you continue down this road for about an hour you come
to National Park with camping spots next to the beach".
And that's how we found Narawntapu National Park...the only one with an indigenous name...on dirt road through gullies and forests of giant grey gums...to our home for the next three days...a coastal hideaway just west of the mouth of the Tamer...beaches on Bass Strait...the site of the largest populations of wombats in Australia.
The Ranger station offerred camping permits for the odd night plus a 2 month pass for all National Parks in Tasmania that was the best investment as it turned out.
Checked out the beaches...station wagons, tents, fishing rods in every clearing...under every bush...no solitude here...back to the Ranger Station...is there any pristine spot to stay?
Yes there is.
Just 50 metres to a powered campsite...$5 a night...toilet block with rainwater showers for a token...power rare in a National Park...only a handful of other campers.
Pulled out the new foldup chairs that came with the van.
Denise on her back...flimsy festival chairs...just above ground level one broken...not the best holiday to sit around the picnic table on the bumper bar.
To the Ranger...do you sell chairs? No but
you can borrow some for the length of your stay. Done...we'll stay a couple more days.
Each evening and morning...furry visitors...never seen so much wildlife in OZ...magic spot.
The Ranger Station overlooked a flat grassy plain with a lake.
In recent days past at sunset the plain would be speckled with wombats.
However, there had been an extensive period of wet weather and the wombat burrows had been swamped. Many wombats died of disease and many now sufferred from mange...an ailment for wombats caused by a parasitic mite that can lead to hair loss and sores that can be attacked by bacteria then resulting in life-threatening disease.
The Wombat Protection Society of Australia has set as a five year goal the eradication of mange in the free wombat population.
Much of the research is taken out in Narawntapu National Park.
To see these poor creatures is heartbreaking. Our hopes are with them.
****** Walking in Narawntapu N.P.
The walks are amazing.
Our favourite was along a track behind our campsite...half hour through forests of melaleuca (paperbarks) and leptospermums (tea-trees)...Tasmanian pademelons and Bennetts wallabies
aplenty...black cockatoos swooping over the track crying like babies...on boardwalks through flooded forests carpeted in olive green...water blue, olive green, tannin coloured...to a bird-hide over the lagoon.
Then there was the walk around the lagoon...3 hours...miles and miles of it...passed cranes a-dancing...giant Forrester kangaroos peering above the vegetation as watchmen for the mob...footprints of myriads of waterbirds in the mud gaps beween clumps of glistening green grasses.
Only the occasional other walker...most are under bushes at Bakers Beach...sucked in...I know where I'd rather be.
A wombat waddles through...a wallaby looks up...a pademelon hops...then scurries away like a runner doing a dash...darkness descends...the light from our mobile home...the smell of a magnificent meal...a wine for Denise...a different beer for me...West African music wafting between sips.
This is the life.
We could get used to this.
Next stop Mt William National Park recommended by Margaret and Grant we'd met.
Yep...we could get used to this.
Relax & Enjoy,
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