Drive only 100km but travel back more than 100 years on the Highlands Power Trail, tracing some of Tasmania’s most ambitious engineering feats.
This trail offers the chance to tour the Central Highlands, where alpine scenery is the backdrop to the story of Tasmania’s Great Lake Power Scheme, which included the state’s first hydro power station, Waddamana.
In 1910, when the Great Lake Power Scheme began, the Central Highlands were incredibly isolated. As the scheme grew into three hubs, the region would become a home for migrant workers, particularly from Poland, who settled here after World War II.
Pack a picnic and follow the history of the hydroelectric scheme, discovering the sites and stories of remote construction villages.
At the evocative museum at the Waddamana Power Station, learn the story of the Red Gate Tramway, a horse-drawn tram that transported 25,000 tonnes of equipment – from turbines to transformers and enormous generators imported from England – to create Tasmania’s first hydro power station.
The circular 130km trail starts in Bothwell and heads to Hermitage, Waddamana and Penstock Lagoon. It then continues to Miena, on the shores of yingina / Great Lake, where travellers can turn north for Launceston, or south to return to Bothwell and Hobart on the A5, also known as Highland Lakes Road.
The driving route passes often snowy peaks, calm lakes and historic villages and homesteads. Slow down on the unsealed Waddamana Road to spy wallabies and echidnas. Penstock Lagoon, created for the Waddamana Power Station, is a top fly fishing destination for wild brown and rainbow trout.