Douglas Apsley National Park is a 16,000 hectare park stretching 25 kilometers north to south and approximately 9 kilometres at its widest point. It is Tasmania’s newest national park being declared in December 1989.
It is one of the few uncleared dry Eucalypt forests in Tasmania, and represents the largest tract of unaltered dry Sclerophyll vegetation remaining in Tasmania. It is home to the Douglas, Denison and Apsley rivers. The park consists of a dolerite capped plateau dissected by many river gorges. Rocky mountains rise above deep boulder strewn river gorges that are surrounded by steep forested slopes, dropping to a narrow coastal plain to the ocean.
The Douglas River features several dramatic waterfalls as it drops 540 meters from the headwaters at Thompsons Marsh to sea level over a 20 kilometer stretch of river, whereas the Apsley River contains a series of steep gorges and a number of easily accessible and popular swimming holes.
The Denison River, the majority of which is located within the park remains a substantially unaltered natural landscape. The Denison Marshes occur along the middle and upper reaches of the Denison Rivulet.
Fourteen species of eucalypts have been recorded in the Park with five of these species endemic to Tasmania.
There are several regions within the park with a high conservation priority, these include old growth, unlogged stands of tall open-forests and riverine scrub and woodlands.
Like most of Tasmania, Douglas Apsley National Park is home to abundant wildlife. It is home to 27 mammal species including the tiny endangered marsupial the White Footed Dunnart.
The region is home to the endangered and vulnerable species of Spotted-tailed Quoll, New Holland Mouse, the Eastern-barred Bandicoot and the Tasmanian Devil.
62 bird species have been recorded in the park including the endangered Wedge-tailed Eagle and White-bellied Sea Eagle.
The rare freshwater fish, the Australian Grayling is found in the Douglas River which is believed to be the last stronghold of the Grayling on the east coast of Tasmania. The Douglas River remains one of the very few rivers inhabited by the fish whose catchment is virtually entirely protected and unaltered.
The fragile Blind Velvet Worm and Hairstreak Butterfly remain at most risk in the park due to bushfire and fuel reduction.
There are many walking tracks and trails in the park trekking through the wet and dry forestry and following the meandering river systems.
In the Thompsons Marshes area lies the scattered remains of a small aircraft. On November 30, 1977, a Beech A23A Musketeer crashed in fine weather leaving no survivors. The cause of the accident has never been determined.
The foreshore around the township of Bicheno is best known as a natural Little Penguin rookery. Little Penguins breed annually, producing one or a clutch of two eggs each year. The male penguin will either return to their burrow and renovate it or dig a new one between May and August in preparation for egg laying in November. The chicks will remain in the nest for up to 8 weeks.
Extensive walking tracks exist along the Bicheno foreshore and beaches walking along the coastline from the city centre to Harvey’s Farm Road.