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Blue Tier walk, Tasmania

Thursday, November 27, 2008
The Blue Tier in Tasmania's North East Highlands was an unknown little part of the world until it became the centre of a forestry operations debate. "Friends of the Blue Tier" was formed to investigate alternatives to clear-fell logging and to have scientists assess erosion, catchment, water supply and the area's biodiversity. The beautiful area has wild forests of giant trees, hidden waterfalls and fabulous wildlife, much of it threatened.

The Blue Tier is a mountain plateau, once had the world's largest open-cut tin mine and swarmed with miners hoping to make their fortunes. Now it is a walking destination catering for all levels of experience. Goblin Forest Walk has wheelchair access and there's everything in between up to an adventure of several days.

Tasmanian Expeditions have six-day trips from Launceston to explore some of the 5000-hectare mountain plateau on the way to the Bay of Fires. There are walks each day and cabin accommodation at night. A van will take you between all the best spots which suit your experience and fitness.

Weldborough Scenic Pass Reserve has a landscape of lush, green tree fern glades and sassafras trees. The forest has excellent examples of ancient Gondwana vegetation. Gondwana was the great southern landmass which formed more than 250 million years ago and where dinosaurs roamed.

St Columba Falls is one of Tasmania's highest waterfalls, with water plunging 90m from the Mt Victoria foothills to the valley of the South George River. They are off the Northeast Trail beyond Pyengana, about 35km from the coast.

Pyengana is the Aboriginal word for "two rivers" and was first surveyed in 1863 when the superior quality of the soil was noted. These days the two rivers are called North and South George. South George flows through the valley and spills over the top of St Columba Falls.

Halls Falls is a smaller, cascading waterfall, but its location in beautiful forest makes up for anything it may lack in size.

Pub in the Paddock was built in 1880 as a private homestead for a family with 15 children. The hotel license was obtained in the 1890s. It has been continuously licensed and visitors experience hospitality of a bygone era with hearty meals and open fires. It has six rooms for accommodation and a tea room.

Fifteen kilometres on is Lottah where you will see the massive anchor stampers. The rusted piston-like objects were used to drive a tin crushing waterwheel. At its height it had 40 homes, but the mine closed in the 1950s and the township was deserted and all that remained was something resembling a moonscape. Mother Nature stepped in and once again everything is green.

While the elusive platypus is a creature unique to Australia, not too many of us have ever seen one, but on the Blue Tier Walk, that could change. The area is perfect for their lifestyle and you may see some swimming in a dam.

The Bay of Fires makes up the last couple of days. It has beautiful mountains and a rocky coastline leading to fine white granite beaches.

Mt William National Park was established in 1973, covering 14,000 hectares which was once a pastoral property. It was created to preserve the last habitat for the eastern grey kangaroo. It is also very important for other wildlife, and happily thriving there are echidnas, brush-tail possums, wombats, Bennetts wallabies and Tasmanian devils.

Birdlife is abundant with more than 100 species in the park, many of them sea and shore birds. Coastal heath is popular with honey-eaters, blue wren, flame, dusk and scarlet robin, firetail finch, pardalote and kookaburra.

It's the perfect place to mull over the beauty you have seen on the walk.

Location

The Blue Tier, two hours from Launceston in Tasmania.

Cost

Tasmanian Expeditions' six-ay Tier Bay of Fires tours from Launceston costs $1560 per person. All meals as specified, professional wilderness guides, waterproof jackets and over-pants, five nights' accommodation in cabins, all national park fees, emergency communications and group first-aid kit and transport in a private mini-bus transport are included. They depart every second Sunday, year round.

For further information

Pub in Paddock
St Columba Falls Road
Pyengana 7216
Ph: (03) 6373 6121
Fax: (03) 6373 6178

Tasmanian Expeditions
PO Box 5010
St Leonards 7250
Ph: 1300 666 856
Fax (03) 6339 4105
www.tasmanianexpeditions.com.au
info@tas-ex.com
katy@tasmanianexpeditions.com.au

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