Cycle Tasmania, Mountain Bike Ride, Forester Kangaroo Drive Ride
Ride among wildlife and wild beaches on this gentle loop in Tasmania’s remote northeast corner. As the name suggests, this is one of the best roads for viewing wildlife in the state. Late afternoon is considered the best time for wildlife viewing in the national park, but early morning is also good.
Dirt roads with no significant climbs. Forester Kangaroo Drive is usually well-graded, while Musselroe Road is stony and rough.
Relatively few travellers venture into this remote corner of the state, so traffic is minimal and, with a recommended speed limit of 20kph, you might even be keeping pace.
The information booth at the entrance to Mt William National Park is around 70 kilometres from St Helens or 16 kilometres from Gladstone. All approaches are on dirt roads.
Food and Drink
There are no services in the national park. For pre- or post-ride pub grub, head to the Gladstone Hotel, 16 kilometres from the ride start.
The start of the Mt William summit walk is a 1500 metre ride off the route. It’s about a one-hour return walk and summit views take in Eddystone Point, the Blue Tier and Flinders and Cape Barren Islands.
At 216 metres above sea level, Mt William is a pretty low lump to warrant national park status, but the name of the loop road at its base - Forester Kangaroo Drive - gives a hint of the park’s true natural value. Mt William is a wildlife spectacular, with the park created in 1973 to help protect the Forester kangaroo, an animal that now thrives in the park’s many clearings, as do wombats and Bennett’s wallabies.
Forester Kangaroo Drive circuits through a section of the park, leaping from grazed clearing to grazed clearing. The first part of the road is mostly through scrub, with glimpses of clearings, though there’s better to come towards the northern end, where the park begins to resemble a golf links.
There’s usually some wildlife - Forester kangaroos or Bennett’s wallabies somewhere near the road edge, though, like most animals, they’re more spooked by bikes than cars so you’re most likely to see them bounding away through the bush. Past the road to the Mt William summit walk, Forester Kangaroo Drive swings north and on a fine day there’s a look ahead to the craggy peaks of Flinders Island, Bass Strait’s largest island. Just before the turning down to Stumpys Bay the road passes through a couple of large clearings and, if there are critters about, it’s worth parking up and enjoying the sight because these clearings are often the best for wildlife encounters, with wombats, kangaroos and wallabies shuffling about. Past these clearings, Forester Kangaroo Drive swings back west but it’s worth turning away east and dropping down to the coast and the gorgeous white-sand beach lining Stumpys Bay.
The beach’s most beautiful scenes are by camp site No 4, though you need to ride on a few kilometres to reach it. Back on Forester Kangaroo Drive, the road curls through a series of clearings - at the 13 kilometre point there’s the option of a short climb to a lookout, though it’s pretty overgrown and short on views. If you’ve lucked out on wildlife (unlikely), there’s a 350 metre detour into a reed-ringed waterhole as you ride back to the information booth along Musselroe Road.
19.321 km / 12.005 mi
170 m / 559 ft
170 m / 559 ft
83 m / 272 ft