Set back from the east coast’s dazzling beaches, this often-overlooked national park features quiet waterholes and deep gorges.
Spanning the Douglas and Apsley rivers, this is the rarest of Tasmanian national parks - focused on neither coast nor mountains, but instead on the forest and waterways. The clear waters of the Apsley River beckon for a cooling swim on a warm day.
Once mined for coal, the area was declared a national park in 1989. It protects Tasmania’s last remaining stretches of uncleared dry forest.
This deep, rocky notch has been carved through the dry hills by the Apsley River.
The dry eucalypt forest that blankets the park is one of Tasmania’s last areas of such untouched forest.
Cooling pools dot Apsley Gorge, including the large and easily reached Apsley Waterhole by its mouth, and smaller plunge pools deeper into the gorge.
Take a short walk (15min return, 1.2km) through open woodland to this large river pool that offers excellent swimming on a warm day.
Continue on from Apsley Waterhole and a walking track climbs through the eucalypt forest to wriggle and rock-hop its way back through Apsley Gorge. Allow 4-5hr for the 7km loop. Returning through the gorge should be attempted only when water levels are low and no rain is forecast. One of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks.
This two- to three-day north-south traverse of the park (28km) for experienced walkers mixes dry forest and deep gorges with the park’s few pockets of rainforest.
Need to know
There are basic campsites near Apsley Waterhole and along the Leeaberra Track, with other accommodation options in Bicheno, 12km from the Apsley Waterhole car park.
The park’s only visitor facilities (information booth and toilets) are at the Apsley Waterhole car park.
A parks pass is required for entry to Tasmania’s national parks.
Douglas-Apsley National Park is a 2hr 30min drive (190km) north-east of Hobart, and a 2hr drive (170km) south-east of Launceston.