Miena is a small inland fishing village by the Great Lake in the heart of Tasmania s Central Plateau. The plateau is 1,000 metres above sea level. The great appeal of Miena is the fishing for which the lakes are famous. Over the years such personalities as George Harrison and former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser have been drawn to the area for its fishing.
There is accommodation and a camping area at Miena. Other basic facilities including boat ramps are sited at Tods Corner and Breona on Great Lake.
This is a high and exposed location and weather in the highlands can change fast, making boating conditions dangerous at such times. Please carry all required safety equipment and check local weather forecasts before you launch.
Where Is it?: Central Highlands. Miena is 276 km north north-west of Hobart, 69 km south of Deloriane, 55 km north of Bothwell on the Lakes Highway. Miena stands on the southern shores of Great Lake.
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In The Area
Great Lake, which is 22km long and 1,030 metres (3,380 ft) above sea level, has the distinction of being the highest lake in Australia and, until the HEC drowned Lake Pedder, it was also the largest freshwater lake in the country. It is a mecca for anglers, the trout fishing in Great Lake itself is excellent (as it is in most of the waters in this central highlands region) it is renowned for its summer hatches of Highland Dun mayflies and the fat, speckled brown trout that dine greedily upon them.
Fed by the Pine Rivulet and Breton Rivulet, the original natural freshwater lake, much smaller in size than its current 176-square-kilometre (68 sq mi) surface area, was expanded as a result of the 1967 construction of the Miena Rockfill Dam at its southern outflow into the Shannon River. After Lake Pedder, the Great Lake is the state's second largest freshwater lake. This natural klae is utilised for hydro-electricity, fishing, and tourism. Water from the lake flows into Poatina Power Station to generate hydro-electric power.
The nearby towns of Liaweenee and Miena are popular holiday shack destinations for local tourists, despite the area's reputation as being one of the coldest places in the generally mild-weathered state. During the winter months, when the weather is hardly conducive to camping, the population of these two small towns drops to two or three hundred. Parts of the lake surface have frozen during July in some years.
The Lake Highway or Highland Lakes Road runs along the west side of the lake and is sometimes snowed under in winter.
Arthurs Lake, east of Great Lake on the edge of the Central Plateau, is a man-made reservoir created in the 1920s by the Hydro-Electric Commission of Tasmania damming the Upper Lake River, Blue Lake and Sand Lake as well as the Morass Marsh. The principal purpose of the lake is to support the generation of hydroelectricity. Water is pumped from Arthurs Lake to Great Lake, which feeds the Poatina Power Station. Some of the pumping energy is recovered by Tods Corner Power Station.
Arthurs Lake has good facilities for boat launching and camping. It is also a fishing hot-spot in fact some believe it is the best fly-fishing location in Australia. The Lake teems with the tenacious Wild Brown Trout, and guided fly fishing at the lodge caters for both the experienced and novice fly fisher, either from the shore or from sport fishing boats. You may even come across Wallabies, Deer, Quolls, Wombats, and possibly a Tasmanian Devil. It s all there at Blue Lake Lodge.
Blue Lake Lodge on Arthurs Lake is a stunningly appointed lodge for trout fishing or just relaxing. It caters for six people in three rooms of modern, spacious luxury and is secluded on 200 acres overlooking the famous Arthurs Lake. All rooms have uninterrupted views of the lake and free wireless internet access is available around the lodge.
A walk around Pine Lake provides an excellent introduction to the alpine wilderness. Close to the settlement of Breona, it is also near the highest point on Lakes Highway, at 1,210 metres above sea level. Pencil pine trees, wedge tail eagles and rare alpine insects and wildflowers are there for the viewing.
The Pine Lake walk offers a rare opportunity to get close to one of Tasmania s rarest trees without having to go on an extended bushwalk. The pencil pine is an ancient species that evolved before flowering plants and which is only found in the Tasmanian highlands.
Many of the Tasmanian conifers are unique to Tasmania. The pencil pine (Athrotaxis cupressoides), is generally restricted to sub-alpine areas above 800 m. Like its relative, the King Billy pine, it can reach ages greater than 1200 years. Pencil pines are often seen around the shores of highland lakes and tarns, creating the unique ambience of these beautiful areas of Tasmania.
Steppes Homestead is a 19th century building with bake house and othjer outbuildings. It is a pleasant place for a bush picnic. Drinking water and toilet facilities are available. Nearby are Steppes Reserve Sculptures, a ring of stone-mounted bronze sculptures by renowned Tasmanian artist Stephen Walker. They capture the beauty and diversity of wildlife and settlement in the Highlands. The Steppes Historic Site is located on the Lake Highway about 35 km northwest of Bothwell.
Since 1863 the Steppes was intertwined with the growth of sheep-grazing in the central highlands and remained the home of the Wilson family for over a hundred years. Stock was driven up to the highlands to rest the lowland paddocks during the summer months. A series of accommodation paddocks were provided en route where the sheep were held overnight. Some of these paddocks are still used today when sheep are driven from farms in the vicinity of Ouse and Bothwell to highland locations like the Liawenee moors for the summer.
Visitors can access the reserve at any time, though the interior of the homestead and some of the outbuildings are locked and can only be viewed on open days, but note that these occur only infrequently.
Waddamana is the site of Hydro Tasmania s first hydropower station. After a hard life of generating renewable energy, the station was put into retirement. The Waddamana power station now has a new life as a museum filled with original equipment and other displays. A private company started construction on Waddamana in 1910, but the project struck financial trouble. In 1914 the Tasmanian Government bought the partly built works and formed the Hydro-Electric Department to take over. In 1916 power generation began.
Over the ensuing years power demand in Tasmania grew and Waddamana also grew to match this demand. Shannon Power station was built to use the water from Great Lake before it ran onto Penstock Lagoon and Waddamana. A second power station was built at Waddamana Waddamana B. All three power stations continued to operate until 1964, when Waddamana A and Shannon were decommissioned. Waddamana B continued to operate until 1994. Poatina power station was built to the north of Great Lake to replaced Waddamana. The hydro-electric power station is now a fascinating museum, with restored machinery and displays describing the pioneer days of power development in the highlands.
The village of Waddamana, which used to house the power station workers, is pretty much a ghost town these days. Perched above the power station is Penstock Lagoon, also renowned for fly fishing. The village and museum are located off Highway Lakes Road to the south of Miena.
The tiny settlement of Liawenee, to the north of Miena, is known for its great fishing at nearby Great Lake and hosts several fishing events bringing people from all over Tasmania. The rough terrain suits bush-walking and mountain biking, except during winter. The mountains surrounding Liawenee include Split rock, Willow Run Hill, Headlam Hill, McDowall Hill with the latter being the tallest.
At 1,065 metres above sea level, Liawenee is known as the twelfth highest locality in Tasmania and the nearest beach is 100 kilometres west south west from Liawenee s centre. It is believed to be the coldest town in Tamania. Liawenee's name was appropriately derived from a Tasmanian Aboriginal word meaning 'frigid'. Owing to its high altitude location in the far south of Australia, Liawenee is one of the few places in the continent with a subpolar oceanic climate. The town spends an annual average of only 0.7 days above 30 °C (86 °F) and 0.1 of that over 35 °C (95 °F) but in contrast it spends a massive 210.2 days below 2 °C (36 °F) and 142.4 of that below freezing. Even though their summers are cool-mild they still have the occasional day where a northerly wind blows causing temperatures to climb into the mid to high twenties but rarely into the thirties.
First established in 1920, most people lived in tents and there were only a few wooden, more sturdy buildings. It was founded as a camp for the workers at the nearby hydro-electric undertaking as well as some other towns such as Miena. In its humble beginnings the population consisted entirely of the workers at the hydro-electric plant and their families; the houses were wood and canvas. In this time the camp boasted three cottages where married couples lived, and a so-called hospital that was only twice the size of a house making it more of a first aid clinic. The original layout included blacksmiths, bakeries and a chaff store which made up the requirements for a workforce making it a work camp rather than a village. During the Second World War the town became much larger.
A drive through the highlands north from Hobart via Bothwell and Miena, is an interesting alternative to the Midlands Highway if you are heading for Tasmania's North West from Hobart. The landscape consists of mountain peaks rising from button grass plains. During winter, snow settles on the shores of the lakes and clear crisp days satisfy those who enjoy feeling close to the environment.