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.

Terrain

Dirt roads with no significant climbs. Forester Kangaroo Drive is usually well-graded, while Musselroe Road is stony and rough.

Traffic

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.

Access

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.

Side Trip

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.

 

More Details

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.

 

Ride Log

  • 0.0 Start at the national park information booth and ride north on Musselroe Rd, signposted towards Forester Kangaroo Dr.
  • 1.1 Turn right into Forester Kangaroo Dr.
  • 5.2 Pass the turning for the road into the Mt William summit walk.
  • 7.2 Pass through the middle of a large clearing, good for wildlife viewing.
  • 8.6 Pass through a second, smaller clearing.
  • 8.9 Turn right towards Stumpys Bay.
  • 9.8 Arrive at the Stumpys Bay coast at camp site one.
  • 10.0 Turn around and return to Forester Kangaroo Dr (or continue riding along to camp sites two, three and four if you want to explore more of the coast).
  • 10.7 Back at Forester Kangaroo Dr, ride straight ahead.
  • 10.9 Enter another large, grassed clearing.
  • 14.1 Turn left onto Musselroe Rd at the end of Forester Kangaroo Dr.
  • 16.6 Pass wheel tracks to the left, immediately after a creek crossing, that lead to a waterhole.
  • 19.3 Finish the ride back at the national park information booth.
  • Trail map

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    19.321 km / 12.005 mi

    Total Distance

    170 m / 559 ft

    Total Ascent

    170 m / 559 ft

    Total Descent

    83 m / 272 ft

    Highest Point

    Ride type:
    Sightseeing
    Mountain biking
    Road riding
    Commuter
    Kid friendly
    Rail Trail
    Difficulty: Easy (Blue)
    Ride Duration: 1-2 hrs
    Fitness Level: Medium
    MTB Segment: downhill
    Terrain:
    Shared Bike Path - Paved
    Shared Bike Path - Dirt
    On-Road Bike Lane
    On-Road
    Off-Road - Fire Trail
    Off-Road - Rail Trail
    Off-Road - Single Track
    Off-Road - Downhill
    Mobile Coverage: Limited
    Estimated Distance: 19.3
    Elevation Gain: 80
    Services:
    Water
    Food
    First Aid
    Toilets
    Bike hire facilities
    Carparking
    Bike servicing
    Accessible by bike
    Accessible by car
    Accessible by public transport
    Accessible by shuttle / uber

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