NARAWNTAPU NP AND WOMBATS
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
322Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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SATURDAY FEBRUARY 27 2010
Mileage at Devonport: 11751kms
Journey: Devonport to Narawntapu national park
Weather cool and sunny
Keen to get going to today's highly anticipated destination: Narawntapu National Park, about 40 kms west of Devonport. It is a long thin 20 kms stretch of coast with unusually thickly vegetated dunes which creates a colourful contrast to the yellow sand and blue ocean.
The original inhabitants, the Punnaalaapunnaa people after thousands of years of peace and thriving were forced off their lands or killed by the British invaders! There were no survivors of the original people of these lands; only their middens and spirit remain.
Needless to say the 6kms of gravel road to the Baker’s Point Camp ground was corrugated and kept our speed to about 10kms per hour. It was a large, well set out camp ground right on the shore and we were surprised to see it was only minimally inhabited. There is a designated water skiing and boat launch area here, which is unusual in a national park and there were a couple of families taking advantage of the venue. Horse riding is allowed in some areas of the park and there is a stables/camp area and 26kms of trails.
It was a quiet peaceful spot and we roamed around the beach and shore looking for flora and fauna.
We did find wombat poo but no wombats the first night at Baker’s Point and we made friends with the cute pademelons. We informed ourselves with a copy of "the Weekend Australian" but on the road we never seem to get through the whole paper!
Sheila did a great job of drawing up a general itinerary of our last 3 weeks in Tasmania and Kath made a few phone calls to check on availability, especially for the Gordon River Cruise from Strahan and accommodation at Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair.
We had plenty of time to prepare a fine dinner of lamb and green vegies and sat at the camp table with a bottle of red looking out to sea.
We were keeping an eye on the huge dark clouds gathering but had completed dinner before the rain came. So it was into the van to continue our itinerary planning!!
On Sunday morning we drove back 4 kms to camp at the Springlawn site and do some walks to the lagoon, the bird hide and the beach. Prior to leaving we powered along the road to the entry point to Baker’s Beach, just gorgeous early morning: wide sand, glorious dunes and of course the sea. This was the turn around point for the athletes running 50 kms from Greens Beach to here. It was a cold cloudy morning, great for such an event and comfortable for our walk, in fact we extended our time to 90 minutes to take advantage of the lovely beach. We greeted the runners as they passed us to their check in point.
As we turned on the car radio we learned of the terrible earthquake in Chile and heard tsunami warnings for the Tasmania coast. We did notice that the wind had picked up and that the tide brought the surf almost to the dunes. Our new camp ground was about 500 metres from the sea so we felt no need to change plans.
After walking to the bird hide at the lagoon and back along the beach we decided that we had already covered about 12 kms on foot today, sometimes through the challenging dune tracks, and the rest of the day would be spent loafing!
This is a lovely park and at the risk of constant repetition, the wide, empty beach was impressive. The coastal swamp trees were low, amid bracken, native grasses and lovely silver banksias in flower and although Sunday became extremely windy we enjoyed the day.
In the evening we went wombat hunting across the open grasslands; it was close to full moon, the sunset coloured the sky red and the temperature dropped to 0 degrees (well that is how cold it felt). The place had a feeling of big African plains and it was just magic with a 360 degree perspective! From a distance, the wombats look like small grizzly bears moving slowly, scratching at the grasses to get food. We were fascinated by a baby peeping out of his burrow but mum quickly appeared on the scene and hustled him back inside. It was amusing to watch the campers creeping around the area trying to get photos.
We mostly ignored the pademelons and kangaroos. Sheila spotted Tasmanian devil poo on a walking track but we never got to hear or see the little critters. As most people know, the terrible mouth cancer has decimated their population by 70% in a few years; luckily there is a lot of research and dedication into saving them.
It was a freezing night, cloudless and almost as bright as day, and all campers were soon huddled in their vans against the cold.
We actually had ice on our windows next morning and it was still only 2 degrees at 7.30am when we went walking along the beach. We warmed enough to strip to singlets on the beach and it had reached 12 degrees when we set off at 10am. Good start to autumn and that’s it for summer and we hardly wore a summer singlet for the 3 months in Tassie. We have put on shorts to prove we are acclimatising!
Another special place, safe refuge for our native animals and plants! And a close encounter with the wombats was a special treat!