Launceston CBD

History and Heritage in Northern Tasmania – Part Two!

From bushranger lookouts to gold mining hot spots. Discover the colonial history in Northern Tasmania with us!

The Lure of Gold – Beaconsfield.

Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre

Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Tim Hughes

The town of Beaconsfield was at it’s height, the third largest town on the island. Gold was discovered in the area in 1847, however the intensive mining did not kick off until late 1877.

“In 1903 an English company bought the Tasmanian Gold Mining and Quartz Crushing Company and formed the Tasmanian Gold Mining Company Ltd. The Company began extracting ore laden with gold from two shafts adjacent to each other, the Grubb and Hart Shafts. As flooding of the Tasmania Mine had become such a huge problem, ongoing capital was required to purchase and operate suitable dewatering and pumping equipment, some of which were ground breaking feats of engineering for the time. In 1904 – 5 engine houses were built for the Grubb and Hart Shafts and a central boiler house. These buildings now house the Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre” – http://www.beaconsfieldheritage.com.au/

Did you know that Beauty Point was first established as a port to service the Beaconsfield gold mining? The town’s first wharf, where the deep water vessels first arrived, was once sitting where the Australian Maritime College now resides. Beauty Point Tourist Park is just a short stroll from the marina, home also to the Tamar Yacht Club.

The distance between Beauty Point and Beaconsfield by car will take just under 10 minutes. The Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre offer tours revealing the rich history of the area, including the ‘Walk of Gold’; introducing you to the stories behind the mining history, through the people that lived there and interpretation of 15 buildings accessible on foot, the tour takes between 40 – 50 minutes to complete.

Climbing to Higher Ground – Brady’s Lookout.

Bradys Lookout

Credit: Pete Harmsen

Bushrangers and convicts – iconic to Australia as much as kangaroo’s and vegemite.

The Australian thriller ‘Van Diemen’s Land’, released in 2009, set in 1822 helped demonstrate the extreme wild bush land that covered Tasmania during that time, making life hard for all those that dared to call the place home.

“A bushranger’s life is wretched and miserable. There is a constant fear of capture and the least noise in the bush is startling. There is no peace day or night.” Matthew Brady Tasmanian bushranger, (1799 – 1826).

Brady’s Lookout is a unique attraction close to Beauty Point ( approximately 39 minutes), highlighting what was once the hideaway for the the infamous bushranger Matthew Brady (1799 – 4 May 1826), who also went by the title – ‘Gentleman Brady’ – for his reluctance to steal from women and his gentlemanly manners towards the fairer sex. With views up and down the Tamar river, Brady’s lookout made this a perfect location for a bushranger to take shelter. This tourist location now offers appropriate interpretation signage regarding the interesting bushranger history, along with ample parking, toilets and BBQ facilities.

If you are keen to discover more about the history behind Tasmanian bushrangers including a detailed timeline, head to: http://bushrangersau.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/tasmanias-bushrangers.html

The City of Launceston.

Launceston

Credit: Tourism Tasmania and Rob Burnett

“A valley formed by volcanic and glacier forces 10 million or more years ago… the Aborigine’s who lived here for some 40,000 years called it Kunermurleker and Ponmrabbel” – ‘A Walk in Old Launceston’ by Charles Wooley and Michael Tatlow, 2007.

Settled in 1806 by Europeans, Launceston is Tasmania’s second largest city and offers a wealth of interesting places to see and things to do for colonial history buffs.

The architecture in the city may well be the first point of call to view and appreciate; demonstrating Georgian, Regency, Victorian, Federation and Edwardian styles. Although certain streets are steep (eg. Balfour street notoriously so!), Launceston is easily accessible by foot.

If you head to Shield Street, many of the buildings date back to the 1830’s, including the second penitentiary, where convicts were bolted by the neck in public stocks and left for days. They were executed here too, by hanging from the gallows. This small street and surrounding area was important textile, grain and wool stores, along with smelters, pubs and breweries.

If heritage vehicles are more your thing, then perhaps start your visit at the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania. Located at 86 Cimitere Street, Launceston, showcasing a large vintage display of automobiles, motorcycles and memorabilia. Including an adjoined gift shop. Allow yourself a bit of time for this visit, there is more inside than meets the outside eye. For more information: http://www.namt.com.au/

The Inveresk Cultural Precinct is home to the former site of the railway workshops, where visitors can see the intact blacksmith shop and a ‘History of Rail in Tasmania’ at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. For more information: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/qvmag/?c=11&historyOnlineSearch=railway&searchFor=images&page=8

For further information on heritage walks and tours in Launceston:

https://www.destinationlaunceston.com.au/resources/uploads/routes_trails/1heritagewalksprintablebro.pdf

http://www.1842.com.au/launceston-historic-walks/

http://www.launcestonghosttours.com.au/

Trowunna Wildlife Park

The Tasmanian Family Adventure for all Budgets

Where do you go with a young family on a budget holiday? Tasmania of course! A natural choice for getting back to nature, eating fresh produce, creating adventures and making memories. Where the sea and land have so much to offer. Wombats, wallabies, quolls and Tasmanian devils will educate and delight all ages.

We have put together for you a ‘Tassie taster’ of a list highlighting Northern Tasmania as a focus. Happy Holidaying!

Mole Creek Caves Tour 

Mole Creek Cave Tours
Credit: Tourism Australia and Paul Flood

There are 3 different Mole Creek Cave tours, all of which last 45 minutes. Tours are conducted everyday of the year with the only exception being Christmas Day. The caves sit at a regular temperature of approximately 9 degrees celcius, so wear appropriate footwear and clothing. Tickets for both caves can be purchased at 330 Mayberry Road, Mayberry. Bookings are only needed for large groups.

These magnificent caves are formed by water dissolving the limestone rock.  Large dolerite rocks and boulders that resided in the mountains have been pushed through and consequently made themselves at home. There are 2 catchment systems that feed into the caves. With the Western Tiers directly above. Senior cave guide  – Haydn Stedman told of how the infamous flooding (during June 2016) cleared the caves revealing fossils previously unseen. Although many repairs were needed they are again open to the public and fitted with a new electrical system.Instead of driving all the way up to the cave entrance, park your car at the Marakoopa Cave Ticket Office car park and allow yourself extra time to meander through the Fern Glade Walk (approximately 15 minutes).

“Underground Rivers and Glow-worms Tour (10 am, 12 noon and 2 pm daily, plus an additional 4.00 pm tour between 1 Oct – 31 May)
Visit the lower chamber and be dazzled by its sparkling crystals, reflection pools, stalactites and stalagmites. Take time to listen to the music of underground streams and soak up the silence of abandoned river passages. This easy tour caters for all age groups and levels of fitness.

Great Cathedral and Glow-worms Tour (11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm daily)
The magnificent cavern known as the ‘Great Cathedral’ is a highlight not to be missed. The ‘Gardens’ feature delicate formations and beautiful colours. Medium fitness levels are required for this tour, to ascend the stairway to the ‘Great Cathedral’.” –  http://molecreek.info/natures-wonders/mole-creek-caves

Marakoopa Cave: 330 Mayberry Road, Mayberry

King Solomons Cave: Liena Road, Liena

Sparkling calcite decorate the chambers of this cave, creating a magical atmosphere that has to be seen to be appreciated. Suitable for all ages and levels of fitness this is an enticing cave for those with young families or able elderly. During summer the cave tours are quite popular, so make sure you arrive approximately 30 minutes early to secure your spot. Book ahead if you have a group. Prices and tour times can be found on the link below:

Find Out More

Liffey Falls State Reserve

Liffey Falls State Reserve
Liffey Falls State Reserve

Waterfalls, hiking, cool temperate rainforests – what is not to love!? The Liffey Falls State Reserve is well equipped for visitors, including toilets with disabled access, sheltered picnic areas, and gas barbecues at the upper end of the reserve. Myrtle, sassafras and leatherwood dominate the landscape into a beautiful green scene to delight the senses. It has also been included in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (1989), in recognition of its significant global value.

Please note that the upper Liffey Falls Picnic Area and lower Liffey campground is a steep slippery, gravel road and therefore not suitable for caravans or buses.

The walk to Liffey Falls is included in the 60 Great Short Walks of Tasmania!

Find Out More

Tamar River Hobie Canoe Tour

Located in Launceston, just a 40 min drive from Beauty Point Tourist Park. The 90 minute guided tour of the Tamar River in Launceston are on Hobie pedal powered canoes. The Mirage drive foot powered flippers let your legs do the work whilst you hands are free to take that selfie! …and steer of course. These tours are weather dependent and will require you to book ahead. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Find Out More

Launceston Indoor Rock Climbing

Located in central Launceston, 49 – 55 Frederick Street, this indoor activity will be of interest to many kids, big and small. Open Monday through till Saturday and allowing 10 climbers at one time, allowing siblings and friends to climb together. There climbing walls have varying difficulties plus bouldering walls and caving for all ages.

Find Out More

Trowunna Wildlife Park

Liffey Falls State Reserve
Trowunna Wildlife Park
Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Lap Fung Lam

Approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Beauty Point Tourist Park, Trowunna Wildlife Park offer an experience of native wildlife in their natural habitat. Set on over 65 acres and established in 1979 Trowunna is privately owned and open daily from 9 – 5pm and hosts 3 interactive tours per day 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Another great National Park close to Beauty Point is Narawntapu at Bakers Beach, check out our previous blog to find out more: http://beautypointtouristpark.com.au/campervanning/campervanning-in-north-east-tasmania/

Find Out More

Greens Beach & Bakers Beach / Narawntapu National Park

Liffey Falls State Reserve
Horse riding at Bakers Beach
Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Brian Dullaghan

We have spoken about the joys of Narawntapu National Park in a previous blog, and a day at the beach is a classic family favourite. Take a picnic or some hot fish and chips from the local takeaway store to relax and enjoy. Build sand castles, go for a swim, play in the sand dunes, run along the beach and just kick back and relax. There is also some great fishing spots around the area if you are keen. Greens Beach is just 20 minutes drive from Beauty Point Tourist Park and still quite the hidden secret, despite the long stretch of sand and unspoilt natural beauty.

Find more interesting things to do

To help you plan your trip to Tasmania, check out the following links: