The world heritage site in the southwest of the island consists of the five national parks Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair, Franklin-Lower Gordon Wild Rivers, Southwest, Walls of Jerusalem and Hartz Mountains as well as other protected areas. With their cool temperate rainforests and unique fauna, the national parks of western Tasmania are considered to be one of the last largely untouched ecosystems in the world. According to shoe-wiki.com, the Tasmanian wilderness is home to the Tasmanian devil, a bag marten with black fur and white stripes on the chest.
Western Tasmania National Parks: Facts
|Official title:||Western Tasmania National Parks|
|Natural monument:||National Park Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair (since 1971), Franklin-Lower Gordon Wild Rivers (since 1981), Southwest (since 1976) and Walls of Jerusalem (since 1982), nature reserves Devils Gullet, Liffey Falls and Marakoopa Cave, Adamsfield, Central Plateau, Marble Hill, Drys Bluff, Meander and Liffey, Maxwell River and Wargata Mina archaeological sites, and Farm Cove Game Reserve and Macquarie Harbor; Total area 13,836.40 km² with heights of up to 1617 m (Mount Ossa); Exit Cave, with 19 km the longest Australian cave system, and Anne-a-kananda, with 373 m deepest cave in Australia|
|Continent:||Australia / Oceania|
|Location:||Southwest of Tasmania, west of Hobart and south of Queenstown|
|Appointment:||1982, expanded in 1989|
|Meaning:||the largest protected natural landscape in Australia in the temperate climate zone|
|Flora and fauna:||i.a. »Myrtle Beech«, belonging to the southern beech, also sassafras and »Huon Pine«, eucalyptus species such as Eucalyptus regnans up to 90 m high; 27 species of mammals such as Tasmanian devil, bruscous, and thick-tailed dormouse; over 150 species of birds such as the shearwater and the swallow-tailed parakeet; 11 reptile species such as the smooth lizard species Pseudemoia palfeyman and 6 frog species|
From southern beeches and Tasmanian devils
It’s not just Bass Strait that separates Tasmania from mainland Australia. This green island, which was discovered in 1642 by the Dutch navigator Abel Janszoon Tasman, seems to have sunk into slowness, contrary to the otherwise ubiquitous fast pace and haste. Increasingly numerous are those who escape the Australian urban jungle between Sydney and Brisbane and – temporarily or permanently – seek proximity to the alpine mats of the Arthur Range and the cool rainforests to the left and right of Cradle Mountain. The shadows that lay over the »Treasure Island« are mostly faded out: The demand for wood for the paper industry, which outside of designated protected areas does not show indulgence, not even for giant trees up to 90 meters high like Eucalyptus regnans, seems insatiable.
»Walls of Jerusalem«, rocky »Walls of Jerusalem«, enclose Ice Age lakes and groves of cypress-scale spruce with their rhombus-shaped, scale-like needles. The Selaginella scale spruce, which grows up to 27 meters in height and whose small, green female flowers develop into orange-brown colored cones, is also part of Tasmania’s rainforest flora. Together with mighty southern beeches populated by mosses and blue-green lichens, white-flowering “leatherwood”, Huon spruce trees marked by age and tree ferns with spreading, green fronds, they shape the landscape on the Franklin River and the Gordon River, in Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park and at Frenchmans Cap. Every now and then one comes across “grass trees” with lance-shaped, bushy leaves hanging down in the lush green of the high forest.
Every year, thousands of hikers come to Lake St. Clair and Cradle Mountain in particular, and they can experience pure nature along the Overland Track. Nature only seems peaceful at first glance: The poisonous black and tiger otters that occur here are not to be trifled with. But no one has to beware of the striped thylacine anymore, because contrary to all speculations, the last of its kind died in 1936 in a Tasmanian zoo. Even if the strong teeth and the vicious-sounding growl of the Tasmanian devil, which was first discovered at the beginning of the 19th century, are extremely formidable, one need not be afraid of him. This largest bag marten with black fur and white stripes on the chest preyes on small animals and tries to avoid us bipeds as much as possible. This does not apply to another bagger: Around camps and huts, gray-colored fox cusus, which are among the climbing baggers, can prove to be a nuisance when they romp over hut roofs in search of something to eat or when backpacks with their sharp claws are kept outdoors tear open to get raisins, nuts and chocolate. On the other hand, gray-brown little Kluncker honey eaters find enough nourishment in the flowers of a Banksia, while the black cockatoos, after a long meal in a eucalyptus tree, rise again into the air with loud croaking.
The impact our civilization has on flora and fauna is not only made clear by the damage caused by footsteps by hikers, but also by the flock of Tasmanian Bennett kangaroos and red-bellied filanders, who expect hot dogs and fries before lunch at Cynthia Bay. While a huge rainbow stretches over Lake St. Clair under the pale sunlight after a rain shower, these pure herbivores often receive junk food waste from delighted tourists. Since metabolic problems are caused by this foreign food, the tragic fate of these animals is predetermined. But visitors rarely seem to understand this.