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 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 walking destination catering for all levels of experience.
The Blue Tier Forest Reserve’s long history in mining and forestry operations adds interest for visitors. The first Europeans came to this area after some miners who were working in the Mathinna goldfields discovered some rich tin deposits in some of the creeks in this area. The news spread quickly and the area was settled in 1878 as a mining town. Back then the town was made up of a pub, two hotels, a blacksmith, butcher, three stores and a few residential cottages. The level of work varied over the years with the fluctuation of tin prices from things such as the Depression. Chinese miners were also employed here for cheap labour until a policy to employ only white labour in the hard rock mines forced them out.
Over the years many mining companies came and went, some of these included Cambria, Wellington, Anchor Company and in more recent years Aberfoyle Ltd (1960s) and Renison Ltd (1977). Between 1875 and 1996 the Blue Tier produced more than 11,000 tonnes of tin. It was in 1958 that the Blue Tier was claimed as a forest reserve, and by 1997 more than 5000 hectares has been included to conserve the flora, fauna and rich heritage.
There are a series of tracks on Blue Tier that offer a variety of experience, duration and level of challenge for walkers. Goblin Forest Walk is the shortest at only 20 minutes return. The walk has a great interpretation of some of the miners who worked here and also shows how the forest is regrowing back after it was cleared for mining all those years ago. More >>
How to get there: from Scottsdale, head east along the Tasman Highway past Branxholm and Derby. About ten minutes dive past Welborough, take the Lottah Road turnoff. From St Helens, head west along the Tasman Highway and turning off at Lottah Road. Once you get onto Lottah Road, follow the signs to Blue Tier.