John & Louise
Parks and Wildlife issues
Please Note Staff of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service are responsible for all land management, protection, visitor safety, law enforcement and information roles for the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park, which is part of the World Heritage Area.
The concessionaire at Lake St Clair provides some commercial services to visitors but this business has no other role or authority within the Lake St Clair – Cradle Mountain National Park and is not part of the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service.
Operation Hours for the Lake St Clair PWS Visitor Centre, telephone 03 6289 1172.
This modern visitor centre is staffed by Park Rangers and PWS staff to sell park entry fees, provides walks information and has comprehensive displays for the southern half of the Park. The PWS Visitor Centre at Lake St Clair is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm during May to late December. However, during the peak visitor period, from late December to late April, the Centre is open from 8.00 am to 7.00 pm. Long-term car parking is available for bushwalkers vehicles, there is a day-use car park, public toilets, a day use shelter with fireplace, barbecue tables and a public boat ramp. All public facilities at Lake St Clair, with the exception of the Visitor Centre building, are accessible to visitors at all times.
Summer Ranger Program
Each summer from mid December to February the Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service conduct a variety of free summer ranger activities at Lake St Clair, and other Tasmanian national parks. Their short walks, nature-based educational activities, campfire activities, wildlife spotting and slide/film nights are popular with adults and children. Bookings are required for some activities, especially the ‘see a platypus activity’; the summer ranger program is available in the Chalets reception office during this period.
New rules apply from 1 November 2005, the main one is that all walkers must travel from north to south, ie depart from Cradle Moutain, during the period 1 November - 30 April, and for subsequent years. For more detail see the section ‘Overland Track’ in the Activities section.
An interpretation display for visitors trying to view platypus at Platypus Bay, Lake St Clair, has been completed by the Parks & Wildlife Service. Platypus Bay is a 30 minute walk from the Visitor Centre and is very popular with visitors hoping to see this unique Australian animal in its natural habitat.
Transport Options for Bushwalkers
Any bushwalkers who need transport from the Hobart, Launceston or Devonport airports, or from the Devonport ferries, to start bushwalks, or who need transport after walking the Overland Track or Frenchmans Cap Track, can book with Maxwells Coaches by calling Helen on tel./fax. 03 6289 1141 or mobile 0428 308 813. This minibus service is approved to carry 13 passengers, including walking packs / luggage but larger vehicles are available with sufficient notice.
Bushwalkers should book their transport in advance, especially during the period November – April, but can call Helen from the telephone box at Lake St Clair or from a Telstra Next G™ mobile in the southern areas and peaks of the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park.
Tassielink contact number: 1300 300 520
The alpine Tasmanian waratah, Telopea truncata, produces its spectacular crimson flowers during November and December, waratah bushes in warmer positions flower early and those in high altitude or cold positions flower last. The rainforest tree Tasmanian leatherwood, Eucryphia lucida, which produces nectar for the famous leatherwood honey, flowers from November to March with a peak during January and February. You can see many leatherwood trees near the Watersmeet Bridge, on the bush walks along the western edge of Lake St Clair and along the Franklin River Nature Trail. Alpine plants along the high walks to Mt Rufus, Shadow Lake and Mt King William flower best during December and January.
Driving at Night, and the risk to native animals
Visitors to Tasmania are often surprised and shocked by the number of dead native animals on our roads. Brush-tail possums, rufous and bennets wallabies, eastern quolls, Tasmanian devils and wombats are the most common animals killed by cars, buses and trucks. Because all of these native animals are marsupials, that is the females carry their babies in a pouch, there is a greater toll during spring when many adult female animals also have a baby, the next generation. If you hit and kill an animal you should safely stop and return to see if the animal has a baby and to move the body off the road. Many eastern quolls, tasmanian devils and occasionally even wedge-tail eagles, are killed as they feed on the carcases of other roadkill so carefully moving dead animals off roads is a positive action. Although the roadkill toll on our roads is tragic, equally it is a positive indicator of how much wildlife lives in our natural habitats and on farms, largely because Tasmania has no established fox population.
The main causes of roadkill are the high animal populations, especially in forested areas, vehicle speeds and driver actions. Almost all native animals are nocturnal, that is they sleep during most daylight hours and travel at dusk, during the night and at dawn to find food, water and to meet their friends and relatives. Some large vehicles cannot drive slowly enough to avoid hitting native animals at night but most visitors can avoid killing animals, avoid expensive damage to a hire vehicle or their own vehicle by taking measures described below.
You can minimise your contribution to roadkill during your holiday by:
- Planning to arrive at your accommodation before dark.
- Driving slowly at dusk, during the night and during early morning, 60-70 km per hour is recommended.
- If you are driving at night, using the high beam of your headlights to help you see animals.
- When you see an animal on the road, immediately dipping your lights and blowing the horn in bursts and reduce speed safely – animals often do not hear a vehicle until it is too close, become dazzled and cannot escape in time.
- Not swerving out of your lane or losing control of your vehicle trying to avoid an animal, which may dash to safety at the last second.
- Keeping an attentive lookout on the road and watching especially for wombats which are slow moving, are the same dark grey as bitumen roads and have no eye-shine in your headlights – a wombat is very strong and heavy and can cause great damage to small vehicles.