Scottsdale and North East Tasmania
The north east corner of Tasmania, and the coastline which extends south from it is a region of magnificent coastal vistas, good surf beaches and fishing grounds. The numerous small seaside villages, nestled mainly around sheltered inlets, increase dramatically in size during the summer holidays and are fairly quiet at other times. The clear water of the rivers, bays and miles of beaches abound with sea life including lobster, abalone and many varieties of scale fish. In stark contrast is the hinterland, a mountainous area where once miners extracted tin and gold from the ground, but today farmers plough patchwork quilts of rich dark soil, where bountiful crops grow alongside verdant pasture.
Tasmania’s North East has a rich and ancient history, incorporating over 40,000 years of continuous habitation and significant Aboriginal Heritage. The Tebrakunna Visitor Centre near Little Musselroe Bay provides informative displays about the traditional owners, as well as details about the Musselroe Wind Farm (on which this centre is located) and the agricultural history of the Cape Portland Farm still in operation beneath the turbines.
Spanning the rugged North-East from Launceston to St Helens, the Trail of the Tin Dragon winds its way through stunning scenery and historic townships. The Trail tells the story of tin mining in the North East of Tasmania, focusing on the European and Chinese miners who sought their fortune and risked all for this most remarkable metal.
This quaint and charming town overlooks the blue mountains and rolling hillsides that surround it, where poppies, potatoes and forestry blooms. Scottsdale has a mild climate with warm summers and cool, wet winters. One of the most beautiful sights in Tasmania during December and January is Bridestowe Lavender Estate at Nabowla (15 km west).
A small seaside village on the north coast of Tasmania that is a centre for scallop, trout and lobster fishing industries. Bridport has become a very popular holiday location with the population increasing markedly in summer. It has beautiful beaches, swimming, sailing and other water sports. A ferry operates from Bridport to Flinders Island. Commercial fishing operates from Bridport as well as sporting fishing from the rocks or small boats.
A distinctly English town with gardens and cool climate bushwalks. Lilydale, nestling under the northern slopes of Mount Arthur (1187 m), is an attractive town noted for the distinctive 'Englishness' of its gardens which mix with the appeal of the diverse range of interesting bushwalks in the district. The appeal of Lilydale (which is promoted as Tasmania s Country Garden) lies around, rather than in, the town.
When you see a place called Tunnel on the map, it's not hard to imagine what you'll find there. Tunnel sits near of Lebrina, just a few kilometres past Lilydale. The tunnel itself is little known and well hidden. It was part of the north eastern Launceston to Herrick railway line. Work on building the structure’s approaches began in late 1885. It would be a further two years until the two headings met.
This interesting former tin mining town, which wanders along a hillside overlooking the Ringarooma River, retains the atmosphere of its pioneering history. A classified historic town, it lies about halfway between Launceston and the east coast and therefore has become something of a natural stopover point for travellers. Mountain bike tourism has transformed the town and mountain bike and trail running events have been held, with many guided tours also available.
Branxholm is a typical north-east Tasmania timber town nestled into the rolling hills. It is notable for its saw mills and its hop fields. It has a sprawling street pattern which makes the small town spread across the valley floor. Branxholm offers the visitor good fishing in the Ringarooma River. Close to the town is Mount Horror, known for excellent scenic views
The small village of Legerwood was put on the map in 2005 when Eddie Freeman from Ross sculptured the trees here as a memorial to World War I soldiers with his chainsaw. Surrounded by dairy farming and timber harvesting, nearby Ringarooma is on the edge of the mountains of the North-East, with Mount Victoria and Ben Lomond rising to the south.
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.
Tomahawk is a small seaside town overlooking 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.
There is little evidence in the sleepy village of Pioneer that it was once one of the most prosperous tin mining towns in both Tasmania and Australia. The big producer, the Pioneer Company mine, closed in 1930. The hole in the ground that the mine left behind Pioneer Lake has been flooded and is today stocked with trout and used for water sports.
Weymouth is a small township in northern Tasmania on the Pipers River opposite Bellingham. It has a very small permanent population; however, it attracts many visitors during the summer months. Weymouth has a beach, a tennis court and a seasonal shop. The estuary at Weymouth (Pipers River) has a strong tidal inflow and outflow and is popular for recreational angling, swimming and skiing. Species such as Kingfish, sharks and flathead both sand and king are caught here.
Pyengana is a rural farming region with sites of such significant natural beauty and it is well worth leaving the highway that bypasses it, and stopping to savour a little of what it has to offer. Not far from Pyengana is St Columba Falls, one of Tasmania's highest waterfalls, with water plunging 90m from the Mt Victoria foothills to the valley of the South George River. There is a delightful walk from the car park to the falls through one of the most captivating rainforests you will see in a long time.
These days if you blink you might miss it, but in years gone by, Weldborough was a tin mining boom town. During the 19th century, Weldborough had the largest Chinese community on any tin field in Australia. Weldborough was the cultural centre for the Chinese miners, this was the site of mining camps, festivals and a casino. A replica statue of Guan Di resides at the historic Weldborough Hotel. There are a series of tracks on nearby Blue Tier that offer a variety of experience, duration and level of challenge for walkers.
The Blue Tier was an unknown little part of the world until it became the centre of a forestry operations debate. "Friends of the Blue Tier" has been formed to investigate alternatives to clear-fell logging and protect this beautiful area which has wild forests of giant trees, hidden waterfalls and fabulous wildlife, much of it threatened. The mountain plateau they are seeking to protect once had the world's largest open-cut tin mine with miners swarming through the forests, eager to make their fortunes. Now it is a magnificent walking destination catering for all levels of experience.
The Trail of the Tin Dragon is the untold story of the North East of Tasmania. It is a Chinese story. It is a story of Tin mining, of boom and bust, flood and drought, riches and poverty, hope and despair. It is a story of racial hatred and racial harmony. A story of human transience and the power of nature. The trails begins at Launceston, and passes through Branxholm, Derby, Moorina, Pyengana and St Helens. In Western legends and myths, the dragon is usually depicted as a medieval fire-belching monster, representing evil, or a beast to be vanquished by moral force and valour. For the Chinese, the dragon symbolizes goodness, strength, fertility and change.