From its deep river gorges and waterfalls to its dolerite capped plateau; from dry eucalypt forest and colourful heathlands to pockets of rainforest, Douglas-Apsley National Park is a place of surprising contrasts. This park is one of the few that conserve the diverse wealth of dry sclerophyll forest plants found on the east coast of Tasmania. The crystal clear waters that run through the park are a welcome sight on a hot summer’s day. Whether you want a quick picnic by a tranquil stream, a rugged walk through forest and gorge, or a place to study rare plants and animals, Douglas-Apsley can provide it for you.
Day visitor facilities
At the Apsley Waterhole end of the park there is a carpark and signposted walk to the waterhole and lookout. A small information booth near the waterhole gives further information about the local area. Nearby there is a composting toilet. Water can be obtained from the Apsley River. Other than a rough carpark, the northern end of the park has no facilities as yet.
There is a small bush camping area near the Apsley Waterhole, ten minutes walk from the carpark off Rosedale Road. For those walking the Leeaberra Track there are remote bush campsites near Heritage Falls and Tevelein Falls, both on the Douglas River. There is no charge for camping.
Walks within this park range from short, easy strolls to quite demanding overnight walks. Some of the tracks are only partly constructed and sign-posting is incomplete.
It is recommended that walking boots or strong shoes be worn on all walks, due to the rough terrain. For longer walks previous bush navigation experience and the use of the Douglas-Apsley Map and Notes are recommended.
Walks from Apsley Waterhole
Access is via Rosedale Road, off the Tasman Highway about 4 km north of Bicheno on the east coast of Tasmania. Follow the Rosedale Rd for 7 km to the new carpark. A short walk leads to the area’s main attractions.
Lookout Track (10 – 15 minutes return)
An easy stroll from the carpark leads through open forest to the lookout platform above the Apsley Waterhole. There are good views both up and downstream, and the track is an easy grade. Return the same way or descend steeply to the Waterhole via the campground. (Please minimise erosion by keeping to the track.)
Apsley Gorge Circuit (3 – 4 hours return)
A medium grade walk to the picturesque Apsley Gorge, with its tranquil pools and undisturbed river scenes. NB This walk should only be attempted in dry weather and when water levels are low. From the Waterhole cross to the northern bank of the Apsley River and ascend the ridge. Follow the track, which is marked by yellow markers, for about 1 hour. The track then descends to the river near the gorge, where sheer dolerite cliffs line both sides of the river. Scramble down to the gorge, then follow the river downstream for about 10 minutes till the valley opens out. A rough track leads back to the Waterhole via the stream bed. In it is necessary to scramble up and down the sloping banks.
Walks from Thompsons Marshes
Walks in this section of the park require a detailed map. You are strongly advised to obtain a copy of the Douglas-Apsley Map and Notes from Service Tasmania in in Hobart or Launceston, or from selected camping stores. Access is via the forestry ‘E’ road, west off the Tasman Highway between Bicheno and Chain of Lagoons. Look for a yellow sign about 20m off the highway. (It is easy to miss. )
Vehicle access to the northern entrance to Douglas-Apsley National Park (via the E-Road) is currently not safe. Because of dangerous road conditions, the Parks and Wildlife Service advises all visitors to Douglas Apsley NP accessing via the E-Road to please leave vehicles 1km from the start of E-Road and walk in to the start of the Leeaberra Track (5.5km from Tasman Highway). Please do not walk the Leeaberra Track from south to north, as this may spread phytopthera into the northern parts of the NP. For further enquiries, contact the PWS Office on 6256 7070
Heritage & Leeaberra Falls (5 – 7 hours return)
A walk full of variety, that leads from wildflower-rich marshland through open forest and wetter gullies to deep gorges with surprising and spectacular waterfalls.
From the carpark follow orange markers for about 2 hours to the Heritage Falls campsite. From there follow yellow markers downstream to the top of Heritage Falls. A steep and difficult scramble leads to the bottom of the falls and the top of Leeaberra Falls. Both falls are set deep in a eucalypt-clad gorge and are at their most spectacular after rain. Return the same way (or see below for a longer alternative return route.)
Heritage Falls/Rainforest Circuit (7 – 9 hours return. Overnight trip recommended.)
This walk adds the Rainforest Shelf and high coastal ridges to the above walk, making a long and interesting circuit walk. Follow orange markers to the Heritage Falls campsite (about 2 hours). This makes an ideal overnight camping spot.
Be sure to carry water for the return trip. From the campsite follow orange markers steeply up to the Lookout Hill track junction. (A 1 km return detour takes you to the top of 640 m Lookout Hill, from which there are spectacular views to the coast.) Follow the signs and yellow markers down to the Rainforest Shelf and back onto the Leeaberra Track to return to Thompsons Marshes.
Leeaberra Track (2 1/2 days one way to Apsley Waterhole.)
A fascinating and varied walk that traverses the park from north to south. It is a moderate to difficult grade with some long, steep sections and is recommended for experienced walkers only. For details of the walk obtain a copy of the Douglas-Apsley Map and Notes from Service Tasmania in Hobart or Launceston, or from selected camping stores. A fact sheet on the Leeaberra Track is also available. See our Fact Sheet listing.
A Walk in the West of the Park; Access is via the restricted access ‘MG logging road’. From St Marys travel east toward Elephant Pass on the Tasman Highway for 4 km. Turn south onto the gravel MG road (not sign-posted). Continue south for about 30 km to the Apsley Myrtle Forest carpark. The ‘MG’ road can also be reached via the Old Coach Road at Cranbrook, or via the ‘O’ road at Cherry Tree Hill from the Tasman Highway. Beware of log trucks on these roads.
Apsley Myrtle Rainforest Walk (30 minutes plus)
Wonderful place to spend half an hour or half a day. From the carpark take the marked track down to Myrtle Creek. The track follows the creek through enchanting rainforest. Retrace your steps to return to the carpark.