North East Forest Drive.
Imagine a scenic country road that connects the tall mixed rainforests of the north east highlands to the iconic lichen covered rocks of the Bay of Fires. A winding road passing through hamlets with home-made award winning cheeses, vineyards that produce premium cool climate wines and some of the best mountain bike trails in the world.
It is Tasmania's best kept secret. But we're ready to share it with the rest of Tasmania, Australia and the world.
The North East Forest Drive is known by locals and those who love the region, as well as Targa Tasmania race followers, for it's incredible forest drive and sweeping landscapes.
From the tall wet forests and rainforests of Derby, Moorina and Weld Hill, through to the giant eucalypts and glacial refugia forests of the Blue Tier and down to the ironbark woodlands of the coast. This north east tour de force has it all.
The North East Forest Drive has the potential to be more than just a driving destination. It is the arterial route that serves walking adventures to Halls Falls, St Columba Falls, The Blue Tier and The Bay of Fires. For those chasing an outdoor adventure on foot, on their MTB or to explore heritage trails tracing the rich history of the region. For those wanting a more relaxed walking and forest exploring experience there are short 15-30 minute walks and picnic opportunities at the Myrtle Forest walk on Weld Hill, Ralphs Falls, and St Columba Falls.
How would such an upgrade, improvement and revamp of an existing and under appreciated arterial route in the north east come about?
The Australian Government’s recent announcement of a $1.8 billion funding boost for local governments across Australia to invest in road and community projects is the opportunity to move this project forward.
An iconic scenic route offering designated tourism parking and interpretation bays, safe pullover places to take in the views, and maps to guide people to local businesses and attractions. Clear and well maintained walking tracks to our waterfalls, local historical sites, forest walks and iconic areas with cutting edge amenities to keep the local environment clean, and our visitor footprint minimal.
Improving existing roads and infrastructure and building a connection between the towns, businesses and attractions that span across the Dorset and Break O Day council areas is well overdue. Many of the towns on this existing road route are not equipped with the amenities such as public toilets, and parking/pullover areas to safely host visitors who come to our region.
Any time spent in Derby will show the public toilets overflowing with cross legged visitors and chaos of bikes, cars, buses and caravans trying to navigate a road not built for the current needs of the region's evolving industries.
The north east has been the forgotten gem of Tasmania for too long. That is changing as people come to walk, ride and explore our region and sample our local food and wines. Now is the time to bring it all together and safely connect the best bits via the North East Tasmania Forest Drive.
Now is the time for our local politicians and businesses to work together to take this opportunity to upgrade this multipurpose arterial route to connect our communities and revive our eco-tourism sector. We are ready to re-open for business post the government shutdowns of local parks, reserves, forests and businesses, and get things moving.