Sunday, November 01, 2015

Still on the B. Road to Narawntapu and yes, I do finally get there



Close up  Wild Clematis otherwise known as Bridal Creeper which covers everything
Now I know why the B741 starts with the letter B. It looked like the shortest way, but it was certainly not the quickest or the easiest. The white whale may never forgive me. Although the sign said this road would take me to Baker's Beach, the Western boundary of the Park, the guide book recommends that you take the much longer B70 from Exeter and then the B740. I must have missed that bit. Both of the latter are sealed.

Bridal Creeper in action

This wasn't. It was rough, narrow, extremely corrugated and potholed and lurched over hills and down ravines. There was also a distinct lack of signage. At one unmarked intersection, I just took the least worst track. When we were flying over this area and I said I'd like to walk that, the flying instructor said, "Why would you want to do that when we can fly over in minutes?" Ah, I say, "Flying is great for the big picture, but there things that you miss." This road is not one one of them.

Sky high wildflowers make me happy that I've come at this time of year

Purple Boronia usually only grows as a knee high shrub

One thing I might have missed are the wild flowers. In one moist gully, rare in these parts, they are twice as high as the van. While my pots and pans do a little dance in the back, the whole bush seems to be celebrating the spring with a riot of colour. There are huge purple boronias which usually only grow to knee high shrubs. Dense golden pea flowers, dangle on seven foot stems. There are equally tall white daisy bushes, other dainty white flowered shrubs, possibly cottonwood, but as yet unconfirmed, and the  pretty bridal creeper - a wild clematis, draped over everything. Not many pics alas, as there was absolutely nowhere to pull over. The road winds around a lot and you could never be sure that some hoon in a four wheel drive who also thought he had the road to himself, wasn't going to come flying around a corner.

This delicate white flowered shrub is probably a Cottonwood.
Close up of the yellow one of which there were at least two kinds. I have no idea what it was
The shake, rattle and roll stops when I finally come upon the said B740 and the lovely flat grassy areas of the Park at Spring Lawn which was once a farm but is now the location of the Park's Visitor Centre. Called "Tasmania's Serengeti" because of the abundance of  easily observed wildlife, Narawntapu  is bordered by Bass Strait  and the huge expanse of Baker’s Beach in the north and has two smaller, very sheltered beaches tucked into a promontory at the western end of North East Arm overlooking the thriving community of Port Sorell on the far side of the Rubicon River.  The river widens out into a meandering delta after that and contains several islands. Some have quaint names like the Carbuncle and Spy Island. I imagine thousands of children playing here in summer, but now it seems a little isolated, so I decide to camp in the powered area close to the Visitor’s Centre.

First glimpse of Bakers Beach. The Tide is out and it has a very high intertidal range
The weather has fined up now. It's a bit late in the day, but I decide to begin one of the walks. We do have daylight saving and who knew what the weather might be like tomorrow. The weather forecasts I looked at for the next seven days before I left said it might be cloudy, but there was no mention of the rain or the tempestuous wind.  How strange I think, that I have never really heard anything about this Park, but that's Tassie. Partly as a factor of its Geography with that big wild plateau in the centre- the road to the West Coast was not even built until the 1970's, and partly as a consequence of it's history - two separate colonies answerable to Sydney, the people in the North know hardly anything about the South and vice versa. There are three separate newspapers and three separate phone books for a population of  half a million or thereabouts. Rivalries between the North and South remain intense too, worse than that between Sydney and Melbourne, which led to the establishment of the nation's capital half way between the two.
When you have been to Cradle Mountain, done the usual visitor's loop or are more interested in our unique wildlife than waterfalls and treeferns, this is is the place to see, especially on that second or third visit. Tasmania is addictive that way - and particularly if you enjoy a less touristed, underhyped experience.

Update
21/11/2015
Sad to say the pretty white shrub I thought was a cottonwood has the unfortunate name of Stinkwood. Here is the news from Bob and Joy at the Society for Growing Australian Plants

#1 looks like a Leopard orchid.
#2,3,4 The Peaflowers look like Dillwynia glaberrima (Smooth parrot pea). 

The white plant in #2 appears to be Zieria arborescens (Stinkwood)
#5 The large daisy bush looks like Olearia stellulata
Lastly, is there a native that looks like a caster Bean Tree? From the picture, this may be Gompholobium huegelii (Pale wedge pea)

Many thanks.
They have recommended  a good guide book:

"Incidentally, one concise identification  book we can recommend is "A Guide to Flowers & Plants of Tasmania" by the Launceston Field Naturalists Club, available direct from them if you can't find it in a bookstore. There is a comprehensive list of guidebooks at http://www.apstas.org.au/publications.html."



No comments: