We drive north from St Helen’s to the Mount William National Park, 14,000 hectares set aside to protect beautiful scenery and a wealth of interesting wildlife. In particular we’re heading for the Forester Kangaroo Drive, so you can guess what we’re hoping to see. Our hopes rise when we spot this this sign all over the place as we enter the Park.
Having said that, similar signs normally depicting wallabies, but sometimes wombats, Devils or even echidnas, are everywhere in Tassie. This reflects the fact that conflicts between wildlife and motor vehicles are commonplace, and driving in some areas you come across roadkill literally every few metres. The sad thing about Tasmanian wildlife is that it’s often not alive at all by the time we get to see it. Partly this is because most of the critters are nocturnal and therefore difficult to spot on the road, but it’s also a result of what one might best describe as the cavalier night-time driving habits of many Tasmanians.
The Mount William National Park was originally set up to protect the island’s last remaining population of Forester Kangaroos. All the other populations in Tasmania were wiped out by settlers in the early nineteenth century – the Forester Kangaroos we saw at Narawntapu National Park are there as the result of a reintroduction programme in 1975. The Forester Kangaroo Drive traverses large areas of coastal heathland, open grassy plains and dry woodland:
Thankfully the Kangaroo Drive lives up to its billing and we’re pleased to get views of several individuals, though none of them particularly close:
It’s also good to re-acquaint ourselves with some old friends: this King of Cubes is out and about, foraging happily and apparently unaware that he’s supposed to be nocturnal:
We’re also pleased to see this echidna giving the local ants and grubs a hard time:
But Mount William National Park also gives us a chance to make some new friends, including this Banded Plover:
We stop to eat lunch at the Stumpys Bay campground and quickly find ourselves surrounded by dragonflies:
As we leave after just a few hours we reflect on a what has been a great visit. The area of the National Park covered by the Kangaroo Drive is all but deserted – we saw was one other visitor car and a couple of workmen in the campground – but was teeming with wildlife. Most definitely it’s our sort of place.