Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Narawntapu National Park - Day 3



West Head - a place for the birds
West Head is the most easterly boundary of Narawntapu National Park. This is reached by taking the sealed road to Greens Beach on the West Tamar and then turning west. For the most part the road is excellent, but for the series of violent speed humps through Greens Beach itself, long a popular holiday spot, but now an almost urban community with large established houses. The last four Km or so, which probably fall under the jurisdiction of Parks and Wildlife rather than the council, are unsealed and an absolute chassis wrecker . I know Parks and Wildlife are strapped  – they have closed many facilities which they formerly ran – e.g. the picnic area at Detention Falls has been abandoned, the track at Holwell Gorge has not been reopened  and so on, but we should be wary of not killing the golden goose. 
Even tourists who have their own campervans spend money in our small towns – they eat, they buy fuel, they visit attractions and so on and will have already spent a lot money just getting here via the ferry.

Some of the most impressive pot holes I have seen
Come on Tas Gov! We have a huge unemployment problem, especially in rural areas. Now is the time to build the infrastructure which will yield benefits in future and not starve DPIPWE (Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment) which looks after vast and remote regions.  Our landscape is our greatest asset. That, and our heritage buildings are the reason people come, though they may then go on to enjoy our fine food and wine. The longer we can encourage them to stay, and the more enjoyable it is, the more they will spend and return. We also need people to visit other areas and relieve pressure on overused attractions such as Cradle Mountain.  I know times are tough, but it seems to me that there is a meanness of spirit creeping in, which is surely not the image we want to project, especially internationally. Furthermore, I believe it is false economy. Desperate people will do desperate things. If there are no toilets or bins, some of our beauty spots such as Liffey Falls and Detention River Falls, will soon become an eyesore and a hygiene problem as well.

On the track to the lookout
That said, West Head proved to be every bit as spectacular as it appeared  from Badger Head. From the easily reached lookout there are those stunning views across Bass Strait and more magnificent beaches. It is definitely a place to see the birds. I’d bought another of those amazing apple turnovers in Beaconsfield and as soon as I sat down to eat it, brilliant blue superb  fairy wrens started coming right up to the door. Of course they flew off as soon as I brought out the camera.  Further on, in the depths of the she oak forest, a flock of large black yellow tailed cockatoos squawked noisily into the air. The others I only heard.

Better view of Badger Head where I walked yesterday
The forest here is taller, darker and more mysterious somehow, as if inhabited by an older spirit. Not that I was alone there. A young couple was walking while waiting for the TV in their campervan to be replaced from Hobart. (Now that's the kind of service we don’t see very often. Some  German visitors I had were stranded for three days while waiting for their hire car to be repaired and came away with a very dim view of Tasmania).  The young man alerted me to the fact that seals were frolicking at the base of the cliffs.  They were lovely to watch, but very camera -shy too, diving whenever I attempted to shoot. I have lots of lovely shots of the ocean and not much more.

A sombre sheoak forest occupies the centre of the promontory

There are seals down below but I am having a terrible time trying to get a photo of one

Now you see one

Now you don't. It's that dark shape above the last rock
The tip of the headland looks treacherous and many ships have come to grief here, even as recently as 1985, when the Iron Baron  foundered on Hebe Reef, leading to a massive rescue operation to save the birds, especially the fairy penguins.

Next stop Melbourne - wild reefs and sand bars have always played havoc with shipping

Calmer waters on the Greens Beach side

Getting to the Beach on the Badger Head side
On the return journey, this side of the head is quiet. It’s also hot. Signage as to the length of any of these walks is absent and it takes quite a while before I find my way back to the car park. The idea of a swim has not entirely left me. The beach track on the western side looks a bit rocky, so I head back to Greens Beach. There's supposed to be a nude beach here somewhere too. Young people are sunbathing. Older folk are walking along the water’s edge. The sand looks well -trodden.
I get changed and venture forth.  I only dip my toes in the water then hastily get out. It’s absolutely freezing! Looks like no swimming yet, despite the warmth of the day. There’s a nice sea breeze though. I lie on my towel and watch the clouds go by. The gentle lapping of the waves puts me to sleep. I can see why people would want to retire here. How very easy to forget the world.

Greens Beach looks inviting
I wake up a bit rumpled and disgruntled. It’s late in the day and I have three hours of hard driving to get home. Maybe  tomorrow.  Manana. Beaches always do that to me.  I have now walked the entire  length of the Park from Point Griffiths in the West to Greens Beach in the East. Not that it looks so far on the map.

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