The Trail of the Tin Dragon is named so because of its links to the tin mining boom in the 1870’s, where alluvial tin was found in the mountains and foothills of Tasmania’s northeast. Soon after, Australian and Chinese miners flooded the region to reap the rewards, with 1000 Chinese miners residing in the region by 1891. Relics of that mining era are everywhere along the trail, either highlighted as tourist locations or overgrown and forgotten; both reminders of nature’s willingness to repossess the land.
Entering the Trail of the Tin Dragon from Pyengana, green rolling hills dotted with dairy cows dominate the scene. Temperate forest closes in as the trail continues, oncoming tracks winding more and more to deal with changes in elevation. Tasmania’s seclusion from the mainland means its rainforests have an unusually high proportion of endemic species with Gondwanan lineage, many of which are on show throughout the Trail of the Tin Dragon. Giant man ferns clog the forest floor on both sides of the track, sliding down towards the valleys and rising up to reach the peaks above. Nearing the top of the climb the forest line breaks and buttongrass plains reveal themselves, showing off lush landscape that pushes out to the horizon and beyond.
Various scenic highlights are interspersed throughout the trail, both man-made and natural. Ralph Falls is stunning, one of Australia’s tallest waterfalls cascading silently to the valley below, while St Columba Falls offers another photographic opportunity for nature lovers. Further down the trail is evidence of the region’s tin mining history, with stampers and other remnants of the Anchor Tin Mine made accessible to the public with a boardwalk. Before the end of the Trail of the Tin Dragon is more scenic beauty, coming in the form of Halls Falls and the Blue Tier Reserve.
To get in touch with the people of this unique region, take a trip to two of the iconic establishments in Pyengana. The Pyengana Dairy Factory make everything from mature cloth-bound cheddar to creamy milkshakes, while the Pub in the Paddock is just that. An unassuming quiet achiever, the Trail of the Tin Dragon is 80km of Tasmania’s finest in one round trip.
Tasmania Navigation & Maps
LOCATION: 280km north of Hobart on the Midland Hwy
ACCOMMODATION: Camping with facilities at Derby Park and the Weldborough Hotel. Bush camping at the Pub in the Paddock.