Gladstone, Tasmania


Tasmania's most north easterly township, Gladstone is one of the few in the region still involved in tin mining. The small town has a colourful history as a centre for gold and tin mining activities. Gladstone is the gateway to the largely unknown far north-eastern corner of Tasmania. Though mining has been replaced by tourism, the district has many tin mining ruins, notably at Boobyalla (17 km north west) which was once Gladstone s port. Little Blue Lake (above) is the flooded remnants of a tin mine. These former mine sites are popular destinations for bushwalkers, as are the impressive geological formations of the area.

Today mining has been replaced by tourism with bushwalkers and holidaymakers. Gemstone enthusiasts are attracted to the district because of the sapphires, topaz, agate and amethysts which can be discovered.

Where Is it?: 135 km north of Launceston, 67 km east of Scottsdale.

Prior to European settlement the area around Gladstone was inhabited by the local Pyemmairrener Aboriginal people who had lived there for thousands of years. A settlement here came into existence after 1874 when tin was discovered in the area. Miners rushed to the area and grew up around the tin mine. In 1880 gold was discovered in the area. Originally known as Mount Cameron, the name Gladstone was in use by 1882. The area was named for William Ewart Gladstone, Prime Minister of Great Britain. Gladstone was gazetted as a locality in 1968. Drive south from Gladstone along B82 for approximately 8 km.

The Gladstone Cemetery, located off Cape Portland Road which runs east from Carr Street, has a number of graves of Chinese miners. It is an interesting part of the mining history of the district.

Little Blue Lake

Located on Gladstone Road, between Pioneer and Gladstone, in northeast Tasmania, the Little Blue Lake is found on the way to Mt. William National Park. Little Blue Lake is one of several in the area that is the result of alluvial tin mining. When the miners packed their bags and left town, the pit was filled with water to become a recreational spot. Visitors are warned about swimming in the lake because the water is highly contaminated with toxic heavy metals from past tin mining activity. The shores are used regularly for camping and parties. Signs warning against swimming are frequently removed by vandals. The cliffs that line some sides of the Little Blue Lake are 10 meters high.

Mount William National Park

Gladstone is the accessway to Mount William National Park, an isolated wilderness area fringed with gorgeous bays stretching from Ansons River to Musselroe Bay. The landscape is one of rolling hills, rugged headlands and pristine white-sand beaches, some strewn with pink-granite boulders, while in the north a string of marshy lagoons sits behind windswept coastal dunes.

From its long, lonely beaches to its teeming wildlife; from its unique history to its abundant plant life, Mt William National Park is a place of constant fascination. Nestled in the far north-east corner of the State, the park is an important area for the conservation of Tasmania's coastal heathlands and dry sclerophyll plants. Whether you fish or swim; watch birds or wander by the sea, there's always something more to see in this beautiful national park.

Mt. William National Park has an amazing diversity of animals. It is an important sanctuary for the Forester (or eastern grey) kangaroo (now restricted to several properties in the Midlands and north-east of the State), wombats, Bennetts wallabies and Tasmanian pademelons are also common. They are usually best seen in the early morning or around sunset. Another common animal is the echidna. It can often be found during the day, particularly in the summer months, foraging for ants. Brush-tailed possums and Tasmanian devils are common in the Park, but being nocturnal are not readily seen during the day.


Tomahawk (29 km north west) is a small seaside town overlooking the Bass Strait in the heart of a coastal region characterised by superb beaches, dramatic sand dunes and attractive, isolated countryside. It is an ideal destination for people wishing to escape from the hurly burly and have a peaceful holiday walking on the beach, swimming or fishing.


Boobyalla Beach

Boobyalla Beach (17 km north west) is one of the few ocean beaches in Australia with a triple bar system. The northwest-facing beach extends for 9.4 km from the sandy mouth of the Boobyalla River to the southern rocks of Petal Point and forms the eastern shore of the large Ringarooma Bay. The only vehicle access to the beach is in the north via a 4WD track off the Cape Portland Road.


Cape Portland

Cape Portland (25 km north) is the north eastern tip of Tasmania. Pointing west across Ringarooma Bay, it was named after the Duke of Portland by Matthew Flinders during his 1798 circumnavigation of the island in the sloop Norfolk with George Bass. It is an important bird breeding area for Cape Barren Goose, Chestnut Teal and the threatened Hooded Plover. There is a small fishing community at Cape Portland. The clean, white sands of Musselroe Bay on the east side of Cape Portland, is popular spot for beach fishing and swimming. Situated within Mount William National Park, it is also known as a place to experience close encounters with Forester kangaroos and other Tasmanian wildlife in their natural environment.