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.
Located north-east of Launceston, 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.
Please be aware that when driving between sunset and sunrise you are sharing the road with wildlife.
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 places and pit toilets are provided near most of the other campgrounds.
There are no garbage bins in the park, so please take all rubbish out with you.
Several sheltered camping areas have been developed around Stumpys Bay in the north of the park. There is also a camp site at the far northern end of the park, just before Musselroe Bay township.
At the southern end of the park campsites are found at the end of the beachside road from Eddystone Point to Deep Creek.
All official campsites are marked with signs and there are plenty of sheltered sites, but no power is provided.
Bore water is provided at campgrounds 1 & 3 and at Deep Creek. It is only suitable for washing up purposes. You need to bring your own fresh drinking water. (This is available at Gladstone.)
Fires and firewood
Firewood is not provided. Visitors must bring their own wood. As fire restrictions might apply, visitors are encouraged to use a portable cooking stove. A shelter shed and free gas barbecues are available at campground No. 4, Stumpys Bay, while campsite 2 is fuel stove only.
Please remember, it is an offence to cut or damage any vegetation in a national park.
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 places 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.
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.
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.
Other Coastal Walks
The park's extensive coastline provides ample scope for long and varied beach and coast walking. You will need a detailed map for navigation. You should also take your own drinking water as there is no reliable water along the coast.
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.
Bird life is rich and varied, with nearly 100 species occurring here. The extensive coastal heaths favour various species of honey-eater including the tawny-crowned and crescent honey-eater. Other heathland species include the superb blue wren, flame, dusk and scarlet robin, firetail finch, striated pardalote and the introduced kookaburra. Occasional flocks of yellow-tailed black cockatoos can be seen or heard flying overhead or feeding in trees and bushes. Their raucous, rasping cry is hard to miss.
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.
Mt William area has a rich diversity of vegetation. Coastal heathlands and woodlands, which dominate the park, contain hundreds of different plant species, many of which flower colourfully in spring and summer. Heath is frequently found on poorer soils, such as those here, which result from weathered granite and wind blown sand. The coastal heathland plants are generally low-growing, shaped by wind and salt spray. Most of the plants in the park require periodic fire for regeneration and survival.
The large population of marsupials has also combined with previous farming practices to maintain large areas of open "lawn". Their constant grazing keeps trees and shrubs from getting established.
Xanthorrhoea, with its grass-like skirt and tall flower spike, is very common throughout the park. The coastal sand dunes are home for succulent creeping plants and specialised grasses. Scattered behind the dunes are a number of temporary marshes and paperbark swamps. These areas dry up over summer and fill with water again during the wetter months. Species of trees that are common in the park include black peppermint (Eucalyptus amygdalina) and black gum (E. ovata) . Smaller common trees are banksias, she-oaks and bull-oaks. Some rare plants, such as Zieria veronicea (a small coastal shrub) and Villarsia exaltata (commonly known as Erect marsh flower), are also found in the park. Current research is helping to gain knowledge about such plants and their requirements.
Like so much of the east coast, Mt William's geology is dominated by granite. This rock originated around 380 million years ago when there was a period of plate collision and mountain building called the Taberraberan Orogeny. The resulting volcanic heat "baked" materials that were then still several km below the earth's surface, slowly transforming them into the large-grained rock now revealed at the surface.
Apart from being visible at the coast, granite also has a major influence on the type of landforms which have developed in the area. Because it has a high quartz content, granite breaks down into a very pure sand. This makes beautiful white beaches but often impoverished soils. Other notable features include the beach ridges or parallel dunes behind Boulder Point. These were formed around 130 000 years ago during a warmer period when the sea level was higher. The dunes are up to 32m above current sea level.
Mt William National Park
via St Helens Field Office
PO Box 353
St. Helens TAS 7216
Phone:03 6376 1550
Information for this National Park has been supplied courtesy of Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania