Mt William National Park

From its long, lonely beaches to its teeming wildlife; from its unique history to its abundant plant life, Mt William National Park is a place of constant fascination. Nestled in the far north-east corner of the State, the park is an important area for the conservation of Tasmania's coastal heathlands and dry sclerophyll plants. Whether you fish or swim; watch birds or wander by the sea, there's always something more to see in this beautiful national park.

Mt. William National Park has an amazing diversity of animals. It is an important sanctuary for the Forester (or eastern grey) kangaroo (now restricted to several properties in the Midlands and north-east of the State), wombats, Bennetts wallabies and Tasmanian pademelons are also common. They are usually best seen in the early morning or around sunset. Another common animal is the echidna. It can often be found during the day, particularly in the summer months, foraging for ants. Brush-tailed possums and Tasmanian devils are common in the Park, but being nocturnal are not readily seen during the day.

Being a coastal park, Mt. William is an excellent area for observing sea birds. Gulls, terns, gannets, and albatrosses can be seen, as well as both the pied and sooty oystercatcher. Although not common, both the white-bellied sea eagle and the wedge-tailed eagle can sometimes be spotted soaring overhead. Mt William is also the first and last stop off point for some migratory birds such as mutton birds, silver-eyes and swamp harriers.

The waters around the park provide plenty of scope for the boating enthusiast. However care is needed as there are many reefs just below the surface. Launching sites for small craft are restricted to the Great Musselroe Bay township, and at No. 3 campsite, Stumpys Bay. At Deep Creek (Picnic Rocks) in the south, launching for boats is restricted to the ramp at Eddystone Point. For all launching sites, a four-wheel drive vehicle is required.

The coastal waters adjacent to the park offer good fishing. To the south, Ansons Bay has long been recognised as a good spot for bream fishing. It is also one of the few in Tasmania where the Australian bass may be caught.

Swimming is a popular summer activity, with a number of bays, beaches and lagoons to choose from. Care is needed at some of the open beaches as deep water and undertows make swimming potentially dangerous. Snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities off the coast of the park are among the best in the state. Georges Rocks, Eddystone Point and a number of other spots are popular with divers.

Day Visitor Facilities

A day-shelter with gas barbecues is found near campground No. 4 at Stumpys Bay in the north of the park. Camp site 2 at Stumpys Bay is a fuel stove only site. Picnic tables, fire and pit toilets are provided near most of the other campgrounds. Campgrounds and narrow access tracks are not suitable for large caravans and motorhomes. They may be seriously damaged due to limited manouvering space and large overhanging tree branches. Small to medium sized caravans and motorhomes can be accommodated in all campgrounds except Stumpys number 2.

Where Is it?: Mt William National Park is reached by back roads from Gladstone. From Launceston, travel to Gladstone via Scottsdale (A3 and B82), or via the East Tamar and Bridport (A8 and B82). From Gladstone it is 17 km (on gravel roads C843 and C845) to the Park entrance at the northern end of the park. The southern end of the park, near Eddystone Point, can be reached by gravel roads from St Helens via Ansons Bay (C843 and C846) or from Gladstone on C843. The nearest petrol is available at Gladstone.

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Stumpy's Bay

The campsite here is smaller than that at Musselroe Bay, but it is the best site for tents and it has safer swimming. Access is off Forester Kangaroo Drive. Tent sites are scattered among trees in an open forest and there is plenty of shade to relax in after a day s beachcombing. This camping area is gas/fuel stove-only as fires are prohibited.
Swan Island

If you think Cape Portland is remote, Swan Island is even more so. Off Cape Portland opposite Musselroe Ray, the island is a nature reserve with deserted pristine beaches and clear blue waters. If you like to swim, snorkel, fish, walk, watch seabirds and visit penguin and shearwater rookeries away from the rest of the world, this is the place to do it. Limited accommodation is available at the lighthouse keeper s cottage.

Bay Of Fires

A beautiful piece of wilderness coastline on the far north of Tasmania s east coast, the Bay of Fires stretches from Eddystone Point in the north to Binalong Bay in the south. Characterised by stunning blue water, fishing lagoons, spotless white sandy beaches and orange lichen covered granite boulders, the area is often mentioned internationally in lists of the world s top beaches. A place of tranquil beauty and one of Tasmania s most popular tourist destinations, this 29-kilometre ribbon of sea, surf and sand is renowned for its island beach culture, cosy cottages and nature walks, not to mention its natural beauty.

Eddystone Point

Called Larapuna in the local Aboriginal language, Eddystone is part of the traditional territory of Tasmanian Aborigines. Aborigines have re-occupied Eddystone Point since 1999 when the Tasmanian Government agreed in principle to the return of Eddystone Point and Mt. William National Park. The point is essentially one huge midden  and there are over ninety individual middens - nearly sixty artefact sites and some burial sites in Mt. William National Park, which surrounds the point. All are unmarked to protect them from being vandalised.

The striking pink granite tower of the Eddystone Point lighthouse was built on the point which juts out into the sea in 1889 in response to many north bound ships being wrecked by coming in too close to the northeast coast of Tasmania. The light was serviced by sea and over the years the landing areas took a battering with jetties having to be rebuilt several times. The lighthouse is in the Mount William National Park. It can be reached by unsealed roads of a fair condition from St Helens or Gladstone (32 km).

Walking Trails

The park's extensive coastline provides ample scope for long and varied beach and coast walking. Important! Before planning any walks, be sure to check the weather. Walks within this park range from easy strolls on the beach to coast and heath walks of half a day or longer. You will need to take your own water for all walks as no reliable drinking water is available on the tracks. Mt William walk is an easy 1 - 1/2 hour (return) walk. Follow signs from the Forester Kangaroo Drive to the walk carpark. Climb easily along a clearly defined track to the top of the highest point in the park - Mt William (216m). From the top in clear weather there are extensive views over the coast and inland, while to the north you'll see some of the Bass Strait islands.

The Cobler Rocks walk takes in some of the striking coastline of the Mount Williams National Park. The walk is mostly flat, transitioning from fire trails onto beach walking. There is no drinking water provided along this track. Cobler Rocks walk is an easy 1 1/2 - 2 hour return trip. Leave from the sign-posted road barrier near campground No. 4 and follow a fire trail that undulates gently through coastal heath before coming out at the coast near Cobler Rocks. A short beach walk past the mouth of the lagoon leads to the start of Cod Bay and uninterrupted coastal views stretching to the park's southern end near Eddystone Point. Return via the same fire trail.

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