Wildlife and Nature:
Narawntapu National Park (Walks, Wildlife and Camping)
1349 Bakers Beach Rd, Bakers Beach
Narawntapu is a must-see for any visitor to Tasmania wanting to see wildlife in its natural habitat.
It’s the most likely place in Tasmania you will see wombats, possums, bettongs, pademelons, kangaroos, wallabies, quolls, Tasmanian Devils and birds in their natural environment. Dawn and dusk are the best times to observe marsupials such as the wombat around the visitor centre area, which is known as Springlawn.
The Park includes a historic farm, a complex of inlets, small islands, headlands, wetlands with a wonderful array of birdlife, dunes and lagoons.
The park’s diverse flora ranges from coastal heathlands and grasslands to wetlands and dry sclerophyll woodlands. This in turn attracts many bird species – as many as 116 species have been recorded – including honeyeaters, green rosellas, black cockatoos, raptors, robins, wrens and fantails. Along the beaches, tidal flats and around the lagoon, a wide variety of waterbirds, waders and coastal birds can be observed. A bird hide in the melaleuca at the lagoon offers an ideal spot for birdwatching and photography: binoculars are recommended.
Stay overnight at a powered or unpowered site (fees apply).
Ph: (03) 6428 6277 Web: http://www.parks.tas.gov.au
Bells Parade, Latrobe
Picturesque Bells Parade is situated on an inlet of the Mersey River, and was the first port in the region. It is named after Robert Bell who, with his half-brother Henry Bentinck, constructed a wharf and a store on the site in 1855.
Following that year the area became a busy port, hosting regular ship arrivals to take timber, wool and shale oil to other pioneering towns such as Melbourne, Launceston and Hobart. It was also the site of a small ship building industry.
In modern times, the precinct is an English-style parkland with old English trees, some more than 100 years old, thriving along the Parade. They add natural beauty to the area’s tranquillity and provide a stunning display of colour in autumn.
With barbecue facilities, shelters, toilets and numerous short walks, Bells Parade makes an ideal location for a picnic or a serene spot to stop and relax on a sunny afternoon or take a short walk on the adjacent Pig Island.
The “Henley-on-the-Mersey” carnival is held at Bells Parade annually on Australia Day, 26 January, and has been a major social and sporting event for more than 85 years.
Port Sorell shark and ray sanctuary
Port Sorell estuary is home to one of Tasmania’s seven shark and ray breeding sanctuaries. The Port Sorell sanctuary is located south of a line through Griffiths Point in the east to Taroona Point in the west, at the southern extremity of Hawley Beach.
These areas are set aside as important marine habitat to protect sharks, particularly school and gummy sharks. Fishing is restricted in these sheltered habitats so sharks, skates and rays can breed and raise their young.
Shoreline fishing is permitted in these areas but set lines and mullet nets are not. Sharks and rays caught on lines should be returned to the water immediately.
Dooley’s Hill Reserve Walks:
Fairy Wren Trail from Kings Park picnic area to William Street over the Kings Creek footbridge (½ km 20 minutes return; flat and easy)
Boobook Trail: From the Sheean Walk behind Dooley’s Cottage, to Forth Street at the top of the hill. Connects to the Bronzewing Trail at the top of the hill, then Kookaburra Trail to descend the hill and return to Kings Park and Sheean Walk. The loop including Boobook, Bronzewing and Kookaburra trails, starts and ends at Kings Park. (1.5km loop; 40 minutes; about 400 metres of moderate uphill).
Kookaburra Trail: This is the “backbone’’trail of the Dooleys Hill walks, connecting all the tracks from Kings Park at the bottom, to the Bronzewing Trail at the summit of Dooleys Hill, and the majestic Bells Parade to the west of Dooleys Hill. The Kookaburra Trail is of medium difficulty due to its constant uphill nature. Bells Parade to Kings Park is about 1.4km (60-70 minutes return; of moderate difficulty due to 500m uphill section)
Bronzewing Trail: From the end of Upper Twiss Street to the top of Forth Street. Provides great views west across the Mersey River, south across the great western Tiers and east across the agricultural farmland of Wattle Hill. (750 metres; about 1km from Kings Park via Boobook Trail (30 minutes return) or 1.4km from Bells Parade via Kookaburra Trail (60 minutes, return). Short,flat,easy trail).
Teddy Sheean Memorial/Sheean Walk (Walk to Bells Parade)
Gilbert Street, Latrobe TAS 7307
It may not be a walk through natural forest but the Teddy Sheean Walk is just as special for very different reasons.
The Sheean Walk starts in the main street of Latrobe with the memorial to Ordinary Seaman, Edward “Teddy” Sheean, for his heroic wartime exploits. The 1.2km walk features plaques detailing extraordinary tales of battles and individual feats in all of Australia’s conflicts and peacekeeping efforts since World War 1. The walk is flat and easy, on a solid surface and wheelchair friendly. It is an amazing insight into the sacrifices made by Australia’s defence services men and women.
Henry Somerset Orchid Conservation Area
Railton Road, Latrobe TAS 7307
This is the only orchid reserve in Australia – and there is very good reason for it to be where it is. An unprecedented 43 species of orchids have been found in the reserve, half of which are endemic to Tasmania and eight of which have only ever been found in this reserve. Between October and December is the best time to see orchids, though others don’t lift their tiny heads above the surface until the January-March period. Entrance to the 30 minute “Nature Walk” circuit is via the car park off Railton Road. There are no public facilities or charges to visit the area.
Aubrey Luck Reserve
Joyce Street, Hawley Beach TAS 7307
Enjoy a gentle stroll through the well maintained Aubrey Luck Reserve to enjoy the natural bushland among the casuarinas and blackwoods, home to various Tasmanian native animals, such as Bennett’s wallabies, pademelons, eastern barred bandicoots, brown bandicoots, wombats and a variety of birdlife.
From the northern end of Hawley Beach, near Hawley House, to Point Sorell facing into Bass Strait and return (6kms). This is a poorly formed trail that crosses private land in one short section.
Access from Rice Street, Port Sorell
- Stroll along the Rivulet’s northern shore from Port Sorell past River Road. Return 4kms.
- Stroll along the Rivulet’s southern shore (bird sanctuary) over the footbridge between Darling and Rice Streets. Return 2kms; easy flat walk.
Access from Rice Street, Port Sorell
This walk follows on from the Panatana southern shore walk and ends at Squeaking Point through the Port Sorell Conservation Area, a shoreline reserve. Return 2kms; easy flat walk.
Estuary Eastern Shoreline Strolls
Bakers Beach Road
Follow the signs on the Frankford Highway to Narawntapu National Park to access the Franklin River starting point. From 1.5km south of The Tongue at the western entrance to south east arm, Franklin River and Sugar Creek to The Tongue and around to Lades Road near The Point there is more than 4km of shoreline reserve to explore. You will need vehicle access as your starting point is 16-18 km from Port Sorell.
Hawley Beach and Foreshore Reserve
Located off the end of the Hawley Esplanade, following on from Alexander Street. This beach is one that all the family can enjoy; the rustic red lichen covered rocks where rock pools can be explored, walk and feel the rippled sands beneath the soles of your feet, swim in the crystal blue water in summer, or bring a push bike and take to the tracks to spot wildlife.
Freer Street, Shearwater
A long, wide beach with sheltered and shallow inner waters ideal for paddling, swimming and for youngsters. Shoreline features bush walks, dog walking, fossicking and frolicking. Enjoy the community art mosaics at Freers Park Grasslands on the foreshore. Toilets are located nearby.
Located off Wilmot Street, then Rice Street, Port Sorell
A great spot for family fun with a park, fenced shallow toddlers pool, barbeques, picnic seats and toilet block. Boat ramps for launching are available here and it’s only a short stroll along the shore to Mary’s Creek footbridge, where you can read the interpretive panels about the nearby Bakers Beach and the different islands:
- Penguin Island
- Rabbit Island
- Shell Island
- Spy Island
Dog friendly beaches/declared off leash exercise areas:
During daylight savings – between 7pm and 10am. Upon resumption of Eastern Standard Time – off leash 24/7.
- Squeaking Point 200m each way of the boat ramp
- Freers Beach from Hawley Place Beach access walkway around to the point that goes out to Penguin Island
During daylight savings – dawn to dusk. Upon resumption of Eastern Standard Time – off leash 24/7
- Hawley Beach from the end of Vine Street – north to boom gate into Point Sorell Reserve (start of Larooma Road)
Exercise areas open 24/7 – year round
- Port Sorell Foreshore from the boat ramp south to Panatana Rivulet
- Moorlands Beach/Northdown Beach – 2km each way of Moorland Beach Road (dogs must be on leads unless on the beach and are prohibited on dune areas due to nesting birds)
- Thompson Park – Latrobe
- Pig Island – Bells Parade