What is the Tasmanian Central Highland?
Smack bang in the middle of Tassie, bounded by hills and mountains lies an 8,000 square kilometre patch of relatively flat land. This area is home to prime farming land, separated from the lakes of the Tasmanian Hydroelectric Scheme by hills and valleys.
The southern edge of the highland lies just 64 kilometres north west of Hobart, which is about an hour drive. From here, we’re going to look at 8 things you must see on a perfect highlands adventure.
8 Amazing sights in the Tasmanian Central Highland
- Mount Field National Park
This national park is only 10 kilometres from Westerway along the Gordon River Road. There is an entry fee to the park, but the visitor centre is excellent, there are barbeque facilities on site and Russell Falls is spectacular. There are a few walks to choose from for all kinds of skill levels, and the nearby camp grounds and caravan park are pristine.
- Gordon Dam
After Mount Field, head back out to Gordon River Road and continue west. It will take you a couple of hours to complete the drive, but you’ll be passing through Tasmanian wilderness which aside from the dams; is relatively untouched by humans. The views are incredible, along the drive, and at the Gordon Dam itself which rises 140 metres above the valley floor.
- Taste the goods at a Tasmanian distillery
Tasmania’s pure water is perfect for distilling all manner of spirits, and you’ll find a few of those distilleries through the central highlands. Enjoy a tasting as you gaze over crystal blue lakes set into rolling green hills, and maybe take away a bottle for later.
- Appreciate the most INCREDIBLE wood carvings at ‘The Wall’
Situated just outside of Derwent Bridge, ‘The Wall’ is a gallery of carvings created by local artist Greg Duncan. The history of Tasmania from the Indigenous people all the way through to recent events are carved beautifully into a 100 metre wall of the local Huon pine.
- Lakeside camping in the wilderness
With so many lakes about, and camping allowed on many of them; you’re bound to find your own piece of waterfront camping. Crack open that bottle you purchased earlier on, kick back; and watch nature do its thing.
- Have a crack at fly fishing on Penstock Lagoon
If you're an enthusiastic fly fisher, Penstock Lagoon may be a familiar name to you. It is a fly fishing only area, so if you haven't had a go at fly fishing before; it might be a good idea to tag along with someone in the know. Several other lakes in the area are also well-stocked with fish. Little Pine Lagoon, Great Lake, Arthurs Lake, and the Western Lakes are open to more than just fly fishing.
- Camp out in the Karri forest
The south west region of Western Australia is home to the spectacular Karri and Tuart forests. Take a few days to kick back and absorb nature in the Conto campground (accessible via 2WD vehicles) or choose the more secluded, 4WD only Point Road campground.
- Learn the workings of hydro power at Whaddamana
Whaddamana is the site of Tasmania’s first hydroelectric power station commissioned in 1916. It was upgraded as demand increased in 1949, and finally decommissioned in 1995. The original power house is maintained and open to the public as a museum, where you can learn exactly how the network of dams and pipelines through the region are able to power Tasmania
- Outdoor adventures at Central Plateau Conservation Area
The Central Plateau Conservation Area is home to more lakes and lagoons than you’d ever want to count. The area is not covered by the state road network, so it’s perfect for a mountain bike, bush walk or even 4WD adventure. The area is quite remote, so make sure you’re prepared!
What should I take on a drive through Tasmania’s Central Highland?
- It’s always wise to carry a few extras on a drive like this, to deal with minor breakdowns. Ensure your vehicle has a JACK and WHEEL BRACE and possibly a TYRE REPAIR KIT too. A small top up COOLANT and OIL won’t go astray either
- Don’t forget your camping gear if you’d like to chill out at some lakeside campgrounds
- Consider a UHF radio, even a handheld one to communicate with trucks and other road users
- If you’re venturing off the beaten track in your four wheel drive, make sure you’re carrying some RECOVERY EQUIPMENT and have a few common spares on hand
- Take enough food and water for a day or two
- And finally, make the drive comfortable with a few Travel Essentials
Fuel should not be a problem on this journey. The round trip from Hobart, through the features and attractions listed will be around 700 kilometres depending on the route you take. Some cars will do this on one tank, but make sure you're aware which small towns do actually serve fuel.
Dodge the tourist crowds and explore the middle
While some of these locations (notably Mount Field) are tourist hotspots; most of this journey will keep you away from the crowds and let you experience the true nature of Tasmania. Give yourself at least a good four days to enjoy the trip, longer if you find somewhere you REALLY like!
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