TThe area was first surveyed in 1855 and was described as the best soil on the island - well watered, with a mild climate by surveyor James Scott, for whom the town is named. This rings true today as Scottsdale, as well as being the regional centre for other north-east towns, is a major agricultural centre.
Where Is it?: Scottsdale is 22 km south of Bridport, 63 km north east of Launceston.
The drive from Launceston to Scottsdale via The Tasman Highway is quite scenic, through it has plenty of twists and turns as it winds its way through the mountains and care must be taken. There are plenty of good mountain and valley photo opportunities on the way, particularly where the road passes between Mt Arthur and Mt Barrow.
Mount Arthur sits imposingly overlooking the town of Lilydale. Because of its close proximity to Launceston, being directly to the north-east of Launceston, its summit is home to a number of radio towers. At 1188 metres, it is a 4 to 5 hour return walk through wet eucalypt rainforest to the summit, offering views to the northern coastline, the city of Launceston and the great western tiers. This fairly rigorous walk begins at the end of Mountain Road.
Mount Maurice Forest Reserve
Mount Maurice Forest Reserve, with an elevation of 991 metres, makes an ideal spot for a picnic or a walk. Sideling Lookout offers sweeping views of the town and the fertile countryside. Mt Maurice is one of the bigger Forest Reserves in Tasmaania as distinct from forestry areas, the walk up its diminutive peak is relatively straight forward. It is a rounded knob perhaps 500 metres in diameter and rising a mere 100 metres above the surrounding Maurice High Plains making it virtually impossible to see from any of the valleys below. Despite this, it commands spectacular views to the surrounding area, including Mt Victoria, Albert, Saddleback, Ben Lomond, Barrow and Arthur - on a clear day you can even see the sea.
Cratered granite dykes scatter a section of the summit, if climbed in spring the mountain is is ablaze with some much scoparia on top it looks like an enormous giant's garden. The waratah on the lower slopes are also very impressive. Access from Buckneys Road, off Tasman Highway.
Mt Stronach (412 metres) is a short drive from Scottsadle followed by a 2½ hour (5km return) walk to the top. It’s a long steady climb, but affords wonderful views of Scottsdale and the surrounding farming area from the summit.
Bridestowe Lavender Estate
One of the most beautiful sights in Tasmania during December and January is Bridestowe Lavender Estate at Nabowla (15 km west). The famous landmark property is a stunning showcase for the agricultural and technical excellence that made Bridestowe a benchmark for fine lavender oil throughout the world. Bridestowe Lavender Farm is one of the largest producers of lavender oil in the world.
The lavender is in flower from early December until it is harvested in January. Entry is free in all months except December and January when guided tours are held every half hour. Though the iconic purple of the fields of lavender is missing for most of the year, the farm is styill well worth a visit. They have an extensive array of lavender based profucts available for purchase, and a pleasant cafe serving breakfasts, lunches, morning and afternoon tea.
Branxholm is a small timber, hop growing and agricultural town, however it was a bustling mining town a century ago. Mt Horror, surrounded by extensive pine and gum plantations, has excellent scenic views; there are some top fishing spots along the banks of the Ringarooma River. Of historical interest is the disused Mt Paris Dam which has been emptied and left abandoned in the bush.
The small town of Legerwood near Ringarooma is worth a visit to see the town's war memorial a series of chainsaw scuptures honouring the soldiers who fell in the Great War (1914-18).Spanning the rugged North-East from Launceston to St Helens, the The Trail of the Tin Dragon winds its way through stunning scenery and historic townships. The Trail tells the little known 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.
Mt Victoria forest
The village of Ringarooma is surrounded by farming country. It is on the edge of the mountains of the North-East, with Mount Victoria and Ben Lomond rising to the south. Ringarooma is home to one of the North East s oldest churches, now proudly displaying the history of the community's cultural, farming and mining past. A fascinating collection, much enjoyed by genealogists for it s comprehensive history records, it s a glimpse into a past of community, farming, gold and tin.
At over 90 metres Ralphs Falls is Tasmania's highest single drop waterfall, a streaming ribbon of water plunging over a sheer rock face. Soak up the beauty of the rich, rolling farmland surrounding Ringarooma en route to Mt. Victoria Forest Reserve and Ralph Falls.
From Ralphs Falls picnic area, choose the 20 minute return walk to through a wonderland of moss, ferns and Myrtle forest to Norm's Lookout and the face of Ralphs Falls. At over 90 metres Ralphs Falls is Tasmania s highest single drop waterfall, a streaming ribbon of water plunging over a sheer rock face.
Cash's Gorge and Falls
Cash's Gorge is a beautiful but relaxed walk of approximately 40 minutes on boardwalk through rainforest, stands of tea tree, sphagnum moss and rugged terrain returning to the car park. Cashs Falls is located in Cashs Gorge south east of Ringarooma, and west of Pyengana on New River. The river flows through a very steep gorge making access to the waterfall incredibly difficult. There are no tracks or paths that lead you to Cashs Falls, and any attempt to reach the waterfall will require experience in off track walking in Tasmania, as well as many hours of time. Despite the close proximity to Ralphs Falls, this is a reasonably hard long hike. Start on west side of the Ralphs Falls car park, and follow circuit which returns to east side of car park.
The name recalls Martin Cash, a notorious bushranger who operated in Van Diemen’s Land during the 1840s. He is also well-known for escaping twice from Port Arthur. The first time, he became the first convict to swim across Eaglehawk Neck, a feat that earned him respect from other convicts. He was captured shortly afterwards, though, and returned to Port Arthur. He escaped again on 26 December 1842 with two fellow convicts named George Jones and Lawrence Kavenagh. They managed to cross Eaglehawk Neck without being detected.
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, Mr Dix said, until the two headings met. It was another 12 months until the 700 metre tunnel ras completed. The first passenger train to run through the tunnel did so on February 2, 1889, with the state's Governor on board, but initially the line only went as far as Scottsdale.
At the time, the tunnel was a rare feature of Tasmanian railways. So rare, in fact, that the accompanying railway station was named Tunnel Station – hence, the tunnel at Tunnel. The last train to pass through the tunnel did so, carry freight, from Tonganah to Launceston, on October 1, 2004.
Moss now grows over the tracks, and blackberry shrubs edge further down the banks each season, but otherwise the tunnel is in good condition. Work on a 26 km long rail trail from Scottsdale to Tulendeena along the former railway line has been in progress for several years, and the trail sits at 26 kilometres in length. As progress continues on the trail, it is planned that it will be expanded to pass through the tunnel. Location: off Tunnel Road, Tunnel, Tas.
North East Rail Trail
This is a spectacular rail trail with lush forest vegetation that still provides views of the surrounding mountains. The trail has a good gravel surface, suitable for all weather and best either walked or ridden on a mountain bike. The trail starts at the old Scottsdale Railway Station in Ellenor St (accessed between the Mitre 10 Store and the railway crossing on the road). Also Kings St (which is the main street) though no car parking. There are numerous interpretive signs to provide a background on the area and the railway. Bikes can be hires from Scottsdale Art Gallery Café and Bike Hire, and the Red Dirt Cycle Company in Scottsdale which has bikes for sale and hire.
Railway alignment near Lilydale Falls
The Scottsdale to Tonganah section (10km) descends through picturesque farmland to the Great Forester River at Tonganah. The Tonganah to Tulendeena (Billycock Hill) section (16km) is a gentle but steady climb almost all the way from Tonganah up to the former station of Tullendeena then to Snake Track, a few km short of Legerwood. This section of the rail trail winds through beautiful tall forests with spectacular tree fern-lined cuttings and huge embankments across gullies, well away from any roads.
The rail trail follows a section of the 124 km railway to Herrick, which branched off the Bell Bay railway line at Coldwater Creek Junction, 13km north of Launceston. It reached Branxholm in 1911 and finally Herrick in 1919. It was closed back to Tonganah in 1992, the rails in this section were removed around 1996 and the land returned to the Crown.
Rail Trail Notes and Map
Scottsdale Station, 1907
Scottsdale Station, 2022
The North East Railway
From 1882, the Tasmanian government constructed numerous branch lines including the Launceston-Scottsdale line as well as extending the Western Line along the North-West Coast. The Launceston-Scottsdale line was opened in February 1889 and passed through twelve stations along the way. The railway was extended to Branxholm in 1911, and later, Herrick.