Highland Lakes Road

Highland Lakes Road gets nowhere near the same amount of useage as Tasmania's other North to South main roads, so chances are you won't see much other traffic. This makes it easy to stop and taking in the scenery - and there is plenty to stop and take in - without having to worry about that driver who is hard on your tail and wants to go faster than you do. It's a sealed road all the way, but be aware that snow is common in winter so it is a good idea to check the road conditions if you intend using the road in winter.

Delorine to Bothwell - 129 km.
Devonport to Hobart: 257 km.
Launceston to Hobart - 246 km.

Allow a full day for the drive, though it will take much less if you use it to get from pont A to point B and don't intend to get sidetracked by the numerous points of interest along the way.

Features and Attractions: Central highlands, Great Lake, Miena, Bothwell, Liffey Falls

The Drive

These notes dscribe the route commencing from Hobart and travelling north.

Approaching from Hobart via Lake Highway, travel north along Brooker Highway to Bridgewater. Here you have the choice of turning left and taking the slow road to Bothwell (100 km) by first travelling up the Derwent Valley almost to Hamilton, where you head north, or by continuing up Midland Highway to Melton Mowbray, where you turn left and head for Bothwell (75 km). Hamilton and Bothwell are both historic Georgian era villages with plenty of colonial buildings.

From Bothwell, travel north on the Highland Lakes Road. As the road climbs higher, you will come to a turn-off on the left to Waddamana. Today it is a ghost town, with plenty of houses but only a handful of residents, but once it housed the workers who operated Tasmania's first major hydro electricity scheme, which came online there in 1916. Waddamana's two power stations ceased generating power many years ago, but the fact that all equipment was in good order when it was closed prompted a move to turn the scheme's first power station into a museum.

The drive through the mountains taking the diversion past Waddamana is rewarded by not only a most interesting museum but also the oppoprtunity to inspect at close range one of the major engineering projects of its time. After visiting the museum, continue driving north from Waddamana to join Highland Lakes Road further on. Here, the traveller must decide whether to continue travelling north towards Deloraine and eventually Devonport on Bass Strait (123 km from Miena) by staying on Highland Lakes Road, or take Poatina Road towards Poatina, Longford and Launceston (101 km from Poatina Road turn-off). To do the latter, turn right out of Waddamana Road onto Highland Lakes Road then left after a short distance into Poatana Road and follow it through to Longford.

Whichever road you take, you will pass Great Lake - on Highland Lakes Road it is on your left, on Poatana Road it is on your right with Arthurs Lake on your left. It is the highest lake in Australia and, until the HEC drowned Lake Pedder, it was also the largest freshwater lake in the country. It is a mecca for anglers, attrtacting fly-casting visitors from across the country and around the world.


The small village of Miena (57 km north of Bothwell), on Highland Lakes Road beside the shores of Great Lake, is the main centre of Tasmania's Lakes District. The town's surrounding landscape consists of mountain peaks and alpine lakes. During winter, snow settles on the shores of the lakes and clear crisp days satisfy those who enjoy feeling close to the environment.

Pine Lake

Close to the settlement of Breona, Pine Lake Walk provides an excellent introduction to the alpine wilderness. Pencil pine trees, wedge tail eagles and rare alpine insects and wildflowers are there for the viewing. Beyond Breona, Highland Lakes Road reaches its highest point (1210 metres above sea level) before making its descent to the coastal plain, passing Liffey Falls and Quamby Bluff Forest Reserves on its way. The town of Deloraine is around 70 km north of Miena.

If your destination is Launceston rather than Deloraine or the north coast, take a right turn onto the Poatina Road before reaching Miena. This takes you past Arthurs Lake, through Poatina, and down the mountain side to Cressy, Longford and Launceston.

Click the map to download a larger PDF version

Along The Way


Liawenee, to the north of Miena, is known for its great fishing at nearby Great Lake and hosts several fishing events bringing people from all over Tasmania. Built near Great Lake and the River Ouse, the ex-Hydro village is now a residence for Inland Fisheries Services (IFS) and a Tasmania Police station. It is known for its exceptional fishing at nearby Great Lake and hosts several trout fishing events. Liawenee has a reputation of being the coldest town in Tamania.


The small village of Miena (57 km north of Bothwell), on Highland Lakes Road beside the shores of Great Lake, is the main centre of Tasmania's Lakes District. The town's surrounding landscape consists of mountain peaks and alpine lakes. During winter, snow settles on the shores of the lakes and clear crisp days satisfy those who enjoy feeling close to the environment. The great appeal of Miena is the fishing for which the lakes are famous. Over the years such personalities as George Harrison and former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser have been drawn to the area for its fishing. There is accommodation and a camping area at Miena. Other basic facilities including boat ramps are sited at Tods Corner and Breona on Great Lake.


The village of Waddamana is a former Tasmanian 'hydro-town', located at the foot of the southern side of the Central Plateau. It flourished with a population of over 100 in the early 1900s when the power plant situated there was being built. Waddamana consists of two decommissioned hydro-electric power stations, one of which is a museum, and several cottages, most of which are only used by guests.

The Power Station now has a new life as a museum filled with original equipment and other displays, including the Control room switchboard from the Shannon Power Station. You can tour through the turbine hall, with hands-on exposure to the mighty Pelton wheel turbines that first began generating electricity over a century ago. The view looking up the penstocks – the steep pipes that transported the water downhill and into the station – is striking, and conjures images of the determined workers who built these in the early 1900s.


A classified historic town, Bothwell is the southern gateway to the central Highlands. In season Bothwell is also known as the southern gateway to some of the best trout fishing in Australia. Bothwell is the home of Australia s first Aberdeen Angus stud. The town, laid out in 1824, was populated by mainly settlers of Scottish descent and today still has a distinct Scottish flavour. It was here that the famed Irish political exiles John Mitchell and John Martin lived during their stay in Tasmania in the 1850s. Both had been arrested and banished to Van Diemen's Land for treasonable writings.


A former Hydro town, Poatina is owned by Fusion Australia, a Christian youth and community organization which cares for homeless and unemployed young people in a supportive atmosphere. Being in the heart of Tasmania, Poatina is in easy reach of all of Tasmania's cities and makes the ideal location for a family holiday. Perched on top of a low plateau, Poatina was built during the 1960s to serve as a housing site for workers who were part of the town's hydro-electricity projects. The town's total population is 300. Set against the beautiful Great Western Tiers, Poatina is known for its charming landscape. The town is the perfect location for fishing, hiking, and other similar outdoor activities because of its geographical location. Activities in and around town include hiking, walking, trekking, cycling, and sightseeing.

A PocketOz Travel and Information Guide

Design and concept © Stephen Yarrow | Email | W3Layouts | Test