Gt Western Tiers Drive

The Great Western Tiers are the northern face of the Tasmanian Central Plateau, which rises up to 1420m above sea level and is dominated by Cradle Mountain. In the foothills of the Great Western Tiers can be found a wide range of attractions both man made and natural which can be explored on this drive. It is also an alternative route to reach Cradle Mountain from Launceston.

Duration: Allow a full day for the drive; add additional time if you are contemplating taking any of the bushwalks in the area or spending more time than a quick visit. The Great Western Tiers are the gateway to Tasmania's best known National Parks - Cradle Mountain, Lake St. Clair and Walls Of Jerusalem - as well as an alternative route to the west coast of Tasmania.

Length: 278 km plus additional travel to points of interest within the region

Features/attractions: Mole Creek caves - 300 caves and sinkholes including Marakoopa and King Solomons Caves; scenic lookouts - Devils Gullet Lookout, Alum Cliffs, Walls of Jerusalem; waterfalls - Lobster Falls, Meander Falls, Liffy Falls; bushwalks - Cradle Mountain, Lake St. Clair, Marakoopa Fern Glade Walk, Pine Lake Walk, Alum Cliffs, Walls of Jerusalem NP.

The Drive
Depart from Launceston via Bass Highway. Exit from the highway at the picturesque town of Deloraine (Visitor Centre; Sculpture Trail; museums; arts and crafts galleries; YARNS Artwork in Silk; venue for the Tasmanian Craft Fair, held every November).

A detour from Deloraine is Lake Highway, which travels through Tasmania's central highlands all the way to Hobart. There are some pretty waterfalls and mountain scenery - prehaps travel only as far as Liffey Falls before returning to Deloraine. Off this road and worth a look are Liffey Falls, Quamby Bluff, Meander Falls, Drys Bluff and Quamby Bluff (1,226m), Pine Lake Walk.

Liffey Falls

If time permits, the historic villages of Westbury (hedge maze; Steam World museum) Prospect, Hadspen and Carrick on the road to Launceston are worth visiting on the way to Deloraine. They feature a range of dining places, Georgian era buildings, as well as arts, crafts and antiques galleries.

From Deloraine, travel west towards Mole Creek via Mole Creek Road. On the way you will pass Trowunna Wildlife Park (Tasmanian Devils are hand fed here); the Tasmanian Devil Research and Education Centre; a couple of honey farms; turn-offs to Alum Cliffs walk and lookout, Meander Falls. The village of Mole Creek is central to Lake McKenzie (recreational fishing); Marakoopa and King Solomons Caves (underground streams; glow worms, rim pools, shawls and flowstone); Devils Gullet (views of the Fisher River valley).

From Mole Creek, continue west through the foothills along Mole Creek Road, following the signposts first to Cethana (Liena, Mersey Forest and Olivers Road), then left into Claude Road and Cethana Road.

Here you will probably see a signpost to the village of Lower Crackpot. The very popular Village of Lower Crackpot at Tasmazia is a whimsical model village built to 1/5th scale. Each building has a story to tell, and is connected to real people. There is the Cathy Freeman Sports Centre. Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen is the member for Lower Crackpot, complete with ivory tower. The village is dedicated to all those in middle life who, in this new economic age, are 'adjusted' out of their jobs, professions, businesses, farms, careers and thrown onto the economic scrap heap, there to start again, some way, as happened to its creator, Brian Inder at age 54. The village, at the entrance to Lake Barrington International Rowing Course, is meant as an inspiration to these people - you can pick yourself up and succeed in a new life, you can thumb your nose at the "new order" and still have a ball.

Lake Cethana

Back on Cethana Road you will then pass Lake Cethana and the Cethana and Wilmot Hydro electric power stations. Turn right at the T-junction onto Cradle Mountain Road towards Wilmot. Upon reaching Erriba with Lake Barrington on the the right, the Great Western Tiers are behind you and ahead are the rolling hills and rich farmlands of Tasmania's north west.

The quaint village of Wilmot was once home to the original Coles store. Follow the road from Wilmot to Devonport on a road lined with the most interesting and unique array of letterboxes you are ever likely to see. From Devonport, follow Bass Highway back to Launceston via Latrobe and Elizabeth Town. If you have time, Elizabeth Town is where you can indulge in chocolate, cheese tasting (Ashgrove Cheese) and berry tasting (Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm). Breakfast or morning tea at the Berry Farm is highly recommended.

Tasmanian Road Distances

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Major Destinations

Deloraine is one of those delightful country towns that takes you by surprise and remains in your memory for a long time. My first encounter with Deloraine was back when I was a child and our family took a trip from our home city of Melbourne to northern Tasmania. All I remember of it were the steep hills of suburban Launceston and the pretty village of Deloraine.

Mole Creek
Enjoy natural wonders including the celebrated Mole Creek Caves, a Mole Creek attraction for over 100 years, world-class national parks including the Walls of Jerusalem, easy walk trails to spectacular lookouts at Alum Cliffs, Devils Gullet and Westmorland Falls, and bush walks along tracks forged by hunters, trappers and loggers up the face of the Great Western Tiers and beyond. Get up close and personal with our native wildlife, including Tasmanian Devils, at Trowunna Wildlife Park.

A tiny village in the foothills of the Great Western Tiers, Wilmot is noted for its lush, sweeping valley views and historic general store. Wilmot services the surrounding rural area and the occasional tourist who stops off on their way to Cradle Mountain.

Cradle Mountain
Australia's most recognisable mountain, Cradle Mountain forms the northern end of the wild Cradle Mt. - Lake St Clair National Park, itself a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The familiar jagged contours of Cradle Mountain epitomise the feel of a wild landscape, while abundant wildlife, icy streams, alpine heathlands, colourful deciduous beech and ancient pines reflected in still glacial lakes entice many visitors to stay and explore.

Elizabeth Town
In spite of its name, there is no town as such - just the most wonderful collection of food related factories, shops and cafes one could ever wish to see in one place. Whether it's cherries, raspberries, chocolate, cheese or a country bereakfast at a roadside cafe that tickles your palette, Elizabeth Town is the place to go. Elizabeth Town is a short drive from Delaoraine, roughly half way between Launceston and Devonport on the Bass Highway. It is one of the prime locations in Tasmania to stop and indulge in a little gourmet tasting.