WELCOME TO TASMANIA
Tasmania, Australia’s only island state, is a place of dramatic landscapes, diverse vegetation and abundant wildlife, including unique plant and animal species found nowhere else on earth. The island is home to 19 National Parks, hundreds of reserves and one of the planet’s last authentic wilderness regions – the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Fringed by 4500 kilometres of dramatic coastline, Tasmania’s marine reserves also preserve an underwater environment of great beauty and inestimable value
Tasmania’s internationally-renowned wilderness and Aboriginal and European heritage draws thousands of visitors each year. The extraordinary natural and cultural values of this island can be experienced in many ways – walking, cycling, paddling, fishing, climbing, driving – the possibilities are almost endless. Leave No Trace is an internationally-accepted way of minimising impacts on the places we visit, no matter how we choose to experience them. Applying the principles of Leave No Trace can help ensure the protection of Tasmania’s irreplaceable wilderness and heritage for the future. Leave No Trace Australia is a national non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting and inspiring responsible outdoor travel and recreation through education, research and partnerships. Leave No Trace encourages all visitors to give special consideration to the protection and care of our natural and cultural heritage places.
As you visit this special country, please take care to Leave No Trace!
TASMANIA’S NATIONAL PARKS:
Tasmania contains 19 national parks, the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, hundreds of reserves and seven marine reserves.
PARK ENTRY FEES
Entry fees apply in all national parks in Tasmania. Parks passes can be purchased throughout the island at Parks and Wildlife service offices, Tasmanian Travel Centres and on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry. A Holiday Pass is available for visitors, and annual or two year passes are also available.
DEVIL FACIAL TUMOUR DISEASE
The Tasmanian Devil is the world’s largets surviving carnivorous marsupial. About the size of a small dog, it is a shy, nocturnal animal known for its black coat, guttural screeches and immensely powerful jaws. Once common throughout Australia, the devils is now found only in Tasmania.
Devil Facial Tumour Disease is a transmissible form of cancer restricted to Tasmanian Devils and characterised by tumours around the mouth and head of the animal. Infected animals find it difficult to eat and death usually results from starvation within a few months of infection.
The Tasmanian Devil population has been in continuous decline since the discovery of DFTD in the mid-1990s, and in May 2008 the species was listed as endangered. The Save the Tasmanian Devil Program is a collaborative effort to addrses the threat presented by DFTD to this iconic Tasmanian marsupial.
For more information on Tasmanian Devils and Save the Tasmanian Devil Program
Phytophthora cinnamomi is a soil-borne organism known to cause root rot disease. Phytophthora is present in Tasmania and has caused significant damage to the island’s vegetation. Precious plant communities including moorland, heath and dry eucalypt are all affected by Phytophthora, which is spread through infected soil or plant material moving to uninfected areas. Muddy boot, walking poles, tent pegs, trowels, camera tripods and vehicle tyres can all carry and spread the infection.
To avoid the spread of Phytophthora, be sure to keep to formed tracks when bushwalking and clean all gear that may carry soil at the start and end of your trip. Begin your walk with clean gear, follow the instructions at any wash down stations you encounter and remember to wash your gear at the end of your walk.
DRIVE SAFELY AT NIGHT
Many Tasmanian wildlife species are nocturnal and are vulnerable to injury or death on Tasmanian roads. Driving slowley at night and being aware for wildlife can help prevent a collision that could injure or kill an animal and cause damage to your car. When driving at night, scan the sides of the road for wildlife. Many. such, as Tasmanian Devils, are very hard to see against the bitumen road, particularly when it is wet.
Take note of wildlife warning signs. They are there to advise you of known ‘hot spots’. Animals react differently to approaching cars and it is best to let the animal move off first before passing. In areas where the road is bordered by steep banks on either side, animals can often become trapped and and unable to escape from approaching cars. Driving with special care in such areas. Don’t throw any rubbish, including apple cores and other fruit and vegetable scraps, from your car. This attracts wildlife and increases the risk of roadkill. If you do hit an animal or find injured wildlife, please stop if it is safe to do so and check to see if the animal has survived.
If you find an injured animal, keep it warm, dark place when transporting it and contact the Department of Primary Industries and Water (03 6233 6556) or nearest Parks and Wildlife Service office as soon as possible.
FOXES IN TASMANIA
The European Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) has had a devastating impact on native species throughout Australia since its introduction to the mainland in the mid-1850s. Evidence of the existence of foxes in Tasmania has increased since the late 1990s, although it is unclear how many foxes are present on the island. The Fox Eradication Program has been established to protect Tasmania’s biodiversity, agriculture and human health through the eradication of this pest species. It is important that all fox sightings or suspected evidence of fox activity be reported immediately. If you believe you have seen a fox, call the 24-hour Fox Hotline on 1300 FOX OUT (1300 369 688).
AREA INFORMATION CONTINUE…
When bushwalking, make sure you use any logbooks posted at stations at the beginning and end of your trip and in huts along some walks (e.g. the Overland Track). Consider carrying and EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) if you plan to visit remote areas of the state. These beacons work by sending a radio signal that helps emergency services locate you. They are for use only in serious emergency situations. If you do choose to carry an EPIRB make sure it is a 406MHz EPIRB. EPIRBs can be hired at Service Tasmania offices in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and Burnie.
Tasmania’s diverse landscape and maritime climate means that weather can be unpredictable and changes can happen very quickly. Snow and storms can happen in the island’s alpine areas with little warning and at any time of year. Be prepared by always carrying warm, waterproof and windproof gear when walking in Tasmania – at any time of year. Check the weather forecast before you walk.
ENDEMIC FLORA AND FAUNA
Tasmania is home to many species of plants and animals that are found nowhere else on the planet. In addition to the iconic Tasmanian Devil, the island is a stronghold for carnivorous marsupials, many of which are now rare, endangered or extinct in other parts of Australia. Tasmania’s carnivorous marsupials include the Eastern and Spotted-Tail Quoll, Dusky Antechinus, Swamp Antechinus and White-Footed Dunnart. Tasmania’s rich bird life includes eleven endemic species including the endangered Orange-Bellied Parrot, one the world’s largest rarest birds. The Orange-Bellied Parrot breeds only in coastal south west Tasmania and spends the winter in coastal south west Tasmania and spends the winter in coastal Victoria and South Australia. At Melaleuca, in Tasmania’s Southwest National Park, a bird hide has been built specifically to view the birds, which visit the area from mid-October until late March.
Tasmania’s incredibly diverse flora includes the endemic decidious beech or Fagus (Nothofagus gunnii) one of Australia’s few winter-deciduous trees. Fagus infuses the Tasmanian highlands with colour during its brilliant autumn display, turning from rust-red to brilliant gold during late April and May. It is most easily seen around lake Fenton in Mt Field National Park. Tasmania’s native conifers include the long-lived King Billy pine, Pencil Pine and Celery-Top Pine. The best known of the family is Huon Pine, prized for its fine grained timber. The oldest dated Huon Pine trees exceed 3000 years of age, making it among the longest-lived organisms on earth. Today’s remnant populations of Huon Pine are well protected within reserves, including the World Heritage Area. Over one million hectares in Tasmania is populated by Buttongrass moorland – areas of low vegetation dominated by by sedges and heaths. Although also found in parts of south-esat Australia, Buttongrass covers large areas of Tasmania’s west and south west where rainfall is highest. Buttongrass moorlands are an important habitat for wildlife including Bennett’s Wallabies, Wombats, Ground Parrots, Burrowing Crayfish, frogs, lizards and grasshopers. It grows in wet, low nutrient environments and is one of the most fire-adapted eco systems to have ever evolved.
KEEP WILDLIFE WILD
Don’t feed wildlife that you encounter during your trip. Feeding wildlife can cause them to become a nuisance and can lead to some species contracting fatal diseases like lumpy jaw from eating an unnatural diet. Secure your food in your pack or tent, wash your dishes to remove food scents from your camp, strain wash-up water and take all food scraps away with you.