Parks ranger
Parks ranger

Limited access to parks and reserves

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From Monday 11 May, Tasmanian residents will be able to undertake exercise at national parks and reserves, including beaches in their local area. Residents should only use parks and reserves that they can walk, run or cycle to, or if this is not possible, can drive to within 30 kilometres of their place of residence.

Residents must still maintain and observe physical distancing rules, limit groups to 10 people except for household members and move on once they have completed their exercise.

This limited access to national parks and reserves follows the closure of all PWS reserved lands declared under the Nature Conservation Act 2002 on 26 March to prevent non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visitor centres and campgrounds still remain closed until further notice.   

If you don’t need to leave your home to go to work, go to school, get supplies, provide care or exercise – then you should stay at home.

What parks and reserves are open for exercise? All parks and reserved lands managed by Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service are accessible for the sole purpose of exercise.

You can exercise at:

  • National Parks
  • State Reserves
  • Nature Reserves
  • Game Reserves
  • Conservation Areas
  • Nature Recreation Areas
  • Regional Reserves.

Provided they are within 30km from your home.

Trails in Wellington Park are open to pedestrians and bicycles as signed. Visit the Wellington Park website for more information. Pinnacle Road will remain closed from the park boundary. If carparks are full, please move on.

The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens will be open for exercise from 8am-5pm daily (winter operating hours), however the visitor centre and café will remain closed. 

Please refer to your Local Council for arrangements they have in place for lands managed by them. You can find a list of council contacts by clicking here. 

How do I know if a national park/ reserve is within 30km of my primary residence? 

When deciding if a park is within 30km you need to consider the distance by road.

Driving to a park entry must not exceed 30km. The 30km distance by road applies specifically to travel by vehicle. Once at the park you may walk or ride on the tracks and trails for more than 30km, but only during the day - not overnight.

There is no limit or restriction on the distance you may walk or ride a bicycle to a park from your place of residence.

An easy way to calculate this distance is to use a navigation app or website, such as Google Maps, Bing Maps or Apple Maps. Type in the street location to the nearst park entry point.

When am I able to exercise in parks and reserves? Exercise can only be undertaken from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week. Residents should not enter parks and reserves outside these hours.

Can I drive to a park or reserve to undertake exercise? Yes. You can drive to a local park or reserve provided it is within 30 kilometres of your place of residence. It is however preferred that you ride or walk and minimise travel. 

What exercise can I do? Exercising includes activities such as mountain biking, swimming or surfing at beaches, that are normally permitted in the park or reserve. Exercising in groups is limited to 10 people only, except for members of the same household. Physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres between each other must be adhered to. 

Can I go swimming or surfing? Yes, swimming and surfing is permitted, as long as social distancing measures are followed.

Can I walk my dog or ride my horse? Dogs can be walked, and horses ridden in parks, reserves and beaches where the relevant Management Plans or other laws permit. Please observe signage.

Can I go boating? You can only launch a boat at a boat ramp within the local government area that you live in. If you go fishing, you must return to your primary place of residence the same day you depart to go fishing. Remember that permission should always be sought from the landholder before entering private properties.

Are mountain bike trails open? Mountain bike trails can be used only if within 30 km from your place of residence. 

Can I go hunting? No. Hunting is prohibited in parks and reserves.

Can I go fishing? Fishing is now permitted in lakes and waterbodies within the parks reserve estate, within 30km drive from your home. Ocean beach fishing within parks and reserves is also permitted. However, please observe rules for where fishing is allowed in marine reserves and marine conservation areas.

Can I use parks and reserves for four-wheel-driving? No. The current restrictions only allow for exercise to take place in parks and reserves.

Will visitor centres be open? No. All visitor centres remain closed until further notice. 

Will PWS be undertaking routine maintenance and construction works during the limited access period? Yes. Some areas within parks may be subject to usual maintenance and/ or construction works. Social distancing measures will be adhered to by workers when doing maintenance. There may also be a need for PWS or the land manager to respond to emergencies or urgent works following natural events such as strong winds, heavy rain or snow. 

People using the parks for exercise should ensure that they adhere to any usual management signage or instructions. All closures, unforeseen or scheduled, are posted on the PWS website alerts or Wellington Park page.

When will parks and reserved lands reopen for all activities? We are hoping to fully re-open parks and reserves when it is safe and appropriate to do so, guided by the Director of Public Health and Premier of Tasmania. We will update our website once we know when parks and reserves will reopen.

Will toilets be open? Toilets will be open at high visitation sites, except where visitor centres remain closed. Please bring your own hand sanitiser.

Can I go camping on reserve land? No. Camping in a Parks and Wildlife Service park or campground is prohibited. You must remain at home unless going to work, school, getting essential supplies, providing care or exercising.

Can I start an overnight walk and camp off-track? No. Parks and reserved lands are accessible open for the sole purpose of daytime exercise. People should complete their exercise and then return home. 

Can I visit Maria Island? Regrettably the Ferry service is not available to the public. Limited ferry operations are continuing only for parks staff, freight deliveries, and to enable contractor works and improvements to the island. Visitors will not be able to access the island and boat landings on the island are prohibited.

Can I still fly into Melaleuca in the South West Wilderness World Heritage Area? All aircraft landings in national parks and reserved lands in Tasmania are suspended until further notice, except for emergencies or park management operations. 

Can I access the rivers and waterways by my own vessel / boat yacht / raft or kayak? Yes. You can use your boat, raft or kayak to undertake exercise.

Can I still go caving?  No. Caving is not covered in the exemption to exercise provisions.

I’m a lessee/licensee and need to access a park/reserve land, can I? Yes, a lessee or licensee who needs to access a park or reserve to undertake essential servicing and maintenance between now and then, can do so under the existing exemptions.

FUTHER QUESTIONS ON THE TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF PARKS AND RESERVES

Can I continue my work as a volunteer? The situation and response to COVID-19 continues to change rapidly with PWS monitoring the situation, this includes any volunteer involvement within essential PWS programs. Click here for more details. Some exemptions will apply to volunteers in remote locations. PWS will contact these people individually.

I have a club accommodation at the ski areas at Mt Field and Ben Lomond. Will I be able to go there?  Parks and reserves are only accessible from 30km from your home. Mt Field and Ben Lomond will only be accessible for local exercise. Ben Lomond National Park will be closed at the park boundary. There will be no access to the Mountain. Anyone seeking access to undertake essential maintenance of club facilities at Ben Lomond is to contact the PWS via email BenLomond@parks.tas.gov.au. Clubs at Mt Field should contact the Mt Field PWS office if essential maintenance is required.

I need to travel through parks and/or reserved land to access my freehold or leasehold property. Can I still do this?  Yes, if there is no alternative access route to your freehold or leasehold property you may use roads within park or reserved land.

Do I still need a Parks pass?  Yes. A Parks pass is required for entry to any National Park in Tasmania. All other reserves are free. Park passes can be purchased online here.

I am a primary producer. Can I still access parks and reserved lands?  Yes. Primary producers who access parks and reserved lands to maintain operations and ensure the welfare of stock and products will be able to access parks and reserved lands. For example, an apiarist who holds a valid licence agreement and regularly accesses reserves to collect and manage hives can continue to do so. Commercial fishers wishing to launch from boat ramps or launch sites on reserved lands for commercial fishing operations are generally exempted from the closures but in some cases, access is not possible due to closure of roads and boat ramps. 

Commercial fishing operators are advised to contact the relevant PWS regional office to check if a particular location is available to them for boat launching.

Can I operate my business in a park or reserve? Parks and reserves are currently only available to the community for the purpose of exercise, between sunrise and sunset. Nature based businesses will be able to re-commence business when the COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed further, subject to Public Health Advice. Click here to read the Tasmanian Government’s ‘Our Plan to Rebuild a Stronger’  for more information. The current restrictions allow for the operation of cafes to serve takeaway food and drink. Cafes in parks or reserved land can operate on this basis. 

Are there any exemptions? Some exceptions will apply to those who operate essential business on reserve land which does not involve public interaction including primary producers. Please contact: website@parks.tas.gov.au to find out if you qualify for an exemption. 

Further information:  

Due to the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 threat, PWS will continue to monitor the situation and provide updated advice on our website. 

Information for Tasmanian tourism operators including business assistance information.