Monday, November 02, 2015

Narawntapu National Park - Day 2




Early Morning at the Birdhide
The day didn’t start off that well. I had bought a token for the shower.  The first shower didn’t work at all. Knowing that the shower would be short, I soaped myself up in readiness and tried the second one. The hot water lasted exactly thirty five seconds and I had to finish with cold water to get all the soap off.   

The Birdhide is quite impressive
At least the weather was fine. Now thoroughly awake, I walked to the birdhide. There wasn’t much going on there but it was a lovely relaxing place and had I the patience to remain a little longer, I'm sure there would have been more. Fearing a repeat of yesterday’s performance, I drove the long way round via the B70 to the Holwell Gorge. Unfortunately, the walking track there has been closed since about 2013 because of a landslip. A pity. I was in the mood for some waterfalls and the lushness of fern gullies, but maybe another day.  The road into Badger Beach in the middle of the Park also accessed via Yorktown, was again unsealed but a vast improvement on the one the day before – wide, smooth and flat and only about 10 km long.  All dirt roads are not created equal!  

As I get out of the van in the little parking area at Badger Beach, I see a portly man coming out of the water. He does not seem to be suffering from hypothermia.  A swim would make a glorious finale to the day’s walking.  The track starts off with a fairly steep, rough climb and then passes through a sea of yellow flowers. From there it meanders through different types of vegetation- first a light eucalypt forest and patches of low tea tree and banksia,  then glorious fields of wildflowers, all the while offering  magnificent coastal scenery. 

Magnificent coastal views begin to unfold
Embarrassingly, I am lapped twice by the same runner. However, he is the first person I have seen on either walk in two days. The whole track to Copper Cove Beach from this end takes 4.5 hours and here too, it is possible for the excessively adventurous to return by way of the rocks, provided that the tide is out. Not being too sure about the state of the tides, I thought it was just another opportunity to kill myself and decided to give that a miss, though things may have been different if I had been there with someone else. I don’t think my children would forgive me if I managed to fall off.

In one section there is nothing but the skeletal remains of a burnt out banksia forest
  
But fear not, many Australian native plants need fire to germinate and abundant new growth can be seen starting to fill in the gaps
 
Baby Banksias with Coastal Wattle
 
Wildflower meadows - actually coastal heathlands
 
Leopard Orchid (Thanks Bob and Joy)
 
Looking  down from the top of Badger Head
 
Close up of some of the wildflowers. There were lots of butterflies too

 It was really hot now and I was looking forward to that swim. When I got back to Badger Beach, the tide had gone right out and the attractive sandy beach had turned into a vast expanse of rocks and green slime.  I have  asked Google and others why the tidal range is so big in these parts (they are very large on the North Coast of the Mainland as well), but no one seems to have the answer. 

Where has my lovely beach gone?
There were some interesting looking cliffs on the headland opposite (top left). I would be looking at those tomorrow. There being no camping allowed in this area, it was time to look for somewhere else, preferably with hot showers and working electricity outlets. As I left,  the most magnificent badger -that’s what the locals call a wombat, wombled across a paddock. Not a bad day after all.


PS12/11/2015 Re: the tides. Here's the short answer. The long answer is probably here somewhere, though neither leaves me much the wiser. From what I can gather it is to do with with both the sun and moon exerting magnetic force upon the ocean as they pass over it (strongest at the Equator), and modified by the shape of the ocean i.e. In both the north of Tasmania and the north of Australia, the ocean is funnelled through a narrow gap, Bass Strait and the Arafura Sea, respectively, causing the tidal range to be higher. Winds also play a role.

P.P.S. 21//11/2015   Was at the Seaside Festival in Taroona today and had the opportunity to talk to Geoff, a marine scientist who agrees with most of the above, but added that the depth of the water also plays a role, thus here in the south where the ocean is deep, you do not get such a big tidal range. Geoff also showed me the biggest sea urchin - live, that I have ever seen. It was almost the size of a basket ball if you include its nasty spines and a deep dark red.

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