The Great Lake Adventure Trail

A proposed new outdoor experience in the heart of Tasmania.

The Great Lake Adventure Trail promises a unique experience in a unique part of the world. Importantly, it will be an asset free for everyone to use, every day of the year. It also offers much-needed flow-on effects for the wider region. Key to the success of the development is support from the local community.

The Central Highlands Story

Living in the Central Highlands is hard. And that is its gift to us.

This place creates toughness and unmatched resourcefulness. It’s these traits that have seen us proudly build industries, towns and communities. And these same traits have steadied us as we watched industries rationalise and leave, towns shrink and empty, and our communities dissolve from being the region’s lifeblood that they once were.

Things might be different today, but we’re not daunted.

Living here asks us to dig in and double down, which we do not because we’re stubborn – which, by the way we proudly are, but because living here is a commitment. To a solid day’s work. To our environment which defines so much of how we work and live. And to each other, now more than ever.

In a changing world, we have the privilege of living at a different pace. One that allows us to see things and say things with clarity and honesty. To not be distracted by the things that don’t matter.

Here, your character means more than your money. Because being a Central Highlander is a simple determination to stay true.

What is the Great Lake Adventure Trail?

The Great Lake Adventure Trail is a proposed new outdoor experience in the heart of Tasmania: a ‘point to point’ adventure trail around Tasmania’s yingina/Great Lake in the stunning and remote Central Highlands.

Not only will the Great Lake Adventure Trail provide a unique tourism asset, the much-needed flow-on effects for the wider region means the proposal is a beneficial and sustainable one.

The cultural and environmental sensitivities of a development in the area have been carefully considered, as well as the economic opportunities. Wide consultation has been held with key stakeholders, including land-owners, and with the community members who live, work and play in the district – many having lived here for generations.

The idea of a trail around Great Lake is not a new one, however, after James Johns and Jason Garrett purchased the Great Lake Hotel in 2019 they began discussing the untapped natural potential of the area, with a focus to ensure any development stays true to keeping the Central Highlands such a special place.

Where will the Great Lake Adventure Trail go?

The proposed Great Lake Adventure Trail will be a ‘point to point’ adventure trail.

A company called World Trail will develop the proposed Trail from the Miena Dam Wall along land currently owned by Hydro Tasmania, Crown land, and land in the Central Plateau and Great Western Tiers Conservation Areas.

The Trail will be between 95 to 105 kilometres long, with four to five areas where the elevation will rise to a height of 150 metres.  The trail will be 1200 to 1800mm wide and provide a surface suitable for walking and cycling.  Walkers can use the trail in any direction with cyclists able to use the trail both directions from Tods Corner to Liawenee and return, with the section north from Liawenee to Tods Corner being one directional.

The Trail would be within the land managed by Hydro Tasmania around the shore of the lake, and in Crown Land along the south east and southern area.

In early discussions with Hydro Tasmania, there is also an opportunity to develop a connecting trail from Tods Corner to Pumphouse Bay on Arthurs Lake and along the former canal route from Shannon Lagoon to Penstock Lagoon.

The important next stage is the development of a master plan for the Trail which details the route and construction specifics. This will be done by World Trail in conjunction with the landowners PWS and Hydro Tasmania to ensure that the final route facilitates and enhances their objectives in managing the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area while opening the area to sustainable tourism visitation.

Who is the Great Lake Adventure Trail for?

Put simply, the Great Lake Adventure Trail is for everyone: it’s for locals and it’s for visitors to the area.

2019 statistics tell us that the tourism industry in Tasmania contributed about $3.2 billion, directly supports 21,600 jobs, and directly and indirectly supports 42,800 jobs, or about 17.2% of Tasmania’s employment.

Many tourists to and within Tasmania are ‘adventure seekers’, looking for nature-based tourism experiences. They are low impact and pro-environment, looking to explore as well as relax and often use professional services such as guides, tour operators and boutique service providers.

Experiences like the Great Lake Adventure Trail are in high demand. The number of people who come here for a bushwalking experience is growing, as is the number of cyclists.

For the cycling tourist, the Trail will be a completely different but complementary product to the existing trails at Derby, St Helens and Maydena. While these trails attract mountain bike event specialists and experienced riders, the Great Lake Adventure Trail is flatter and longer, attracting a different and much wider market.

Other adventures in the area such as trekking, trout fishing, bird watching, canoeing, kayaking, hunting and horseback riding will provide additional experiences, and keep visitors in the area for longer.

The Environment

In order for the Trail to be constructed, a Reserve Activity Assessment conducted by DPIPWE will be required.

Part of this Reserve Activity Assessment will include a formal Aboriginal Heritage Assessment. An initial desktop assessment has already been undertaken, with indications that there are possible aboriginal heritage sites around the lake that will be required to be carefully and sensitively managed during the construction and the ongoing use of the Trail.

Another part of the Reserve Activity Assessment will be developing a management plan for flora and fauna in the area during construction, and also once the Trail is completed and being used, particularly in relation to some birdlife, the Liawenee orchid and the Miena jewel beetle.

The Economics

The proposed Great Lake Adventure Trail is an exciting opportunity. It’s also economically feasible.

The estimated cost of the construction of the Great Lake Adventure Trail is between $7 million and $8 million, which is proposed to be funded by both the state and federal governments.

Depending on weather, construction will take between 16 to 18 months and will employ 45 FTE construction workers. At this stage, the Trail would be completed by 2024.

The economic benefit of the Great Lake Adventure Trail to Tasmania and to the Central Highlands is significant, creating a direct spend of $7.4 million per year in the region by 2025 and 74 new direct FTE jobs once completed and operational. It will also provide an indirect benefit to the economy of $6.5 million a year – a total economic impact of $13.9 million.

Construction of the necessary infrastructure to service the Great Lake Adventure Trail will provide initial economic value in the construction and ongoing value for the Central Highlands area.

The Trail will also open the Central Highlands area to more opportunities, such as growing the number of visitors to the towns of Bothwell, Hamilton and Ouse to the south and Poatina, Cressy, Longford and Deloraine to the north, expanded bus services, and also associated products and services to be provided such as accommodation, tours and experiences.

The Community

Community consultation is important to ensuring the Great Lake Adventure Trail is seen by everyone as an asset to the area, and true to the values of the Central Highlands.

Understanding this began between 23 March and 21 April 2020, when 58 Central Highlands residents were interviewed by phone. There was a mix of permanent residents, shack owners and business owners, with an almost 50-50 gender split, and representation across 14 different towns and suburbs. The age profile of the interviewees skewed towards an older demographic, which anecdotally is a true reflection of the area.

The general format of the interviews started with a broad discussion about life in the Central Highlands, with questions toward attitudes, opportunities and differences flowing on organically. It wasn’t until towards the end of the interview that the Great Lake Adventure Trail proposal was specifically raised, ensuring that the conversations documented came from an unbiased premise.

From these interviews, overall support for the proposed Great Lake Adventure Trail was positive. Development in general was seen as favourable because of a desire for more economic and employment opportunities in the area. The main consideration was that any development had to not be intrusive, and remain sympathetic with the environment. The notion of the “right kind of development” was commonly expressed.

So, while we believe that there is broad support for the Great Lake Adventure Trail, it’s important that the development be done sensitively to the environment and the community.

There will be many more opportunities for community consultation as the project continues through its many planning stages.

Download the August 2020 Full Feasibility Study. (File size 6MB)

See the timeline of what’s happened and when things are proposed to happen.

Read some frequently asked questions about the Great Lake Adventure Trail