region of Tasmania, Australia

"Great Lake" redirects here. See Great Lakes for North America's five large lakes.

Named as The Land of One Thousand Lakes and Tasmania's Heartland, one of the state's least traversed scenic regions holds a plethora of alpine and subalpine lakes, tarns, and the Highland Lakes' biggest draw – fishing spots.

Pine Lagoon in Central Plateau Conservation Area

Many smaller westerly lakes are protected by the Central Plateau Conservation Area, while many of the eastern lakes (but not Great Lake) are protected by the Great Western Tiers Conservation Area, both of which are part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

The mountainous landscapes are also a huge draw – many lookouts along A5 (Lake Hwy) aren't just lookouts of lakes, but are also lookouts of the impressive mountainous views. Often during the winter, much of the area gets covered in snow (up to the road shoulder at times), which although isn't unique for Tasmania, it is a location where you don't need to extensively drive on poor narrow roads.

For fishing ethusiasts, a trip to the region isn't complete without going trout fishing or angling. See § Do for detailed information – the lakes don't freeze during winter, but do be prepared to embrace the extreme cold (but do note that A5 may be closed if snow covers the road).

Understand edit

Pine Lake

Visitor information edit

Get in edit

Like most other regions of Australia's most car-centric state, you will need some form of private transport on road to visit the Highland Lakes. Before you visit, you should also check if the roads are open as they can be closed during winter if snow covers the road.

The main highway through the region is the Lake Highway (A5). This highway connects the Highland Lakes with the Bass Hwy (Hwy 1) in Deloraine from the north and the Midland Hwy in Melton-Mowbray in the south (which is about 45 km north of Hobart's northern suburbs). While the road may have been previously inferior in quality for an A-route, the road has mostly been up-to-standard ever since the highway was fully sealed in 2019 (some maps may still have the road marked as unsealed; if this is the case, it's out-of-date), but the road up some mountainous passes can be very windy and narrow (without a shoulder), though this road is being progressively upgraded and may in the future be a genuine Hobart–Devonport shortcut.

Marlborough Highway (B11) is a shorter highway connecting the region with the Lyell Highway (A10) in Bronte Park, connecting Derwent Bridge and Queenstown.

If you're travelling from Launceston, use B51 which starts in nearby Longford. The road then winds its way up to the Highland Lakes via Cressy and Poatina where the region approximately borders.

Get around edit

By car edit

This is basically the only feasible means of getting around the Highland Lakes. Remember, the roads can get narrow, slippery when icy, and if there's no speed limit, then it's probably 100 km/h – remember these three general principles and you'll be fine.

By boat edit

There are boat ramps at various parts of different lakes, but getting around the region by boat is otherwise not a feasible option.

See and do edit

Lakes edit

  • 1 Pine Lake, Pine Lake Nature Trail. Pine Lake may look like any other lake in the Highlands, and you wouldn't be wrong for thinking that – but this is one of the few places where you can see the rare pencil tree simply on an 800-metre walk.

Lookouts and historical sites edit

  • 2 John Beamont Monument (Beamont Memorial), 7562 Highland Lakes Rd, Miena. The grave of John Beamont, an early 19th-century Tasmanian naval officer. As mentioned on a plaque on his grave, "he [Beamont] was the first [t]o cast his eye and slake his thirst [u]pon this noble inland sea".
  • 3 Miena Dam Lookout, 7562 Highland Lakes Rd, Miena. A small lookout overlooking Miena Dam and a view of Great Lake from its southern shore. The dam is not large by most standards (especially Tasmanian standards), but it provides a nice spot for having a picnic (surrounded by snow on the grass during winter).
  • 4 North Lookout (Great Lake Lookout), Lake Highway/Highland Lakes Rd (A5) (a few hundred metres north of Breona). Perhaps the most important point for those not fishing or doing any lake-based activities, as it's a great place to take a pano of Great Lake, the largest and the most significant lake in the region.
  • 5 Poatina Road Lookout, Poatina Road (B51) (near turnoff to power station, on northbound side). A small roadside lookout just to the west of the Poatina Road bends with impressive views of the farmland below – under the condition that the views aren't blocked by the clouds.
  • 6 Steppes Sculptures, 5581 Highland Lakes Rd (A5), Steppes (a short walk from the carpark). At first, you may be wondering what are fourteen bronze mid-size sculptures doing in the middle of nowhere. These sculptures are the work of Stephen Walker, who gifted these out of pure will due to his love for the Highlands region. These sculptures represent something significant to the Highland Lakes region and can represent something either natural or historical.

Fishing edit

This is by far the biggest draw of the Highland Lakes, which the ABC claims, draws tourists from all around the world. Before you go fishing, make you know which types of fish you can catch – this can be found on the Fishing Tasmania or Inland Fisheries Service website.

Boating edit

Other edit

  • 1 Poatina Glass Studio, Gordon St, Poatina, +61 402 314 816. An art centre that contains a tree gallery and the centre's main draw, a glass studio.
  • 7 Liawenee. Set in the name of the central Tasmanian mountains, Liawenee is an Aboriginal word meaning "frigid" and considers to be the coldest most permanently-inhabited place in Australia.    

Buy edit

Eat edit

  • 1 Arthurs Lake Roadhouse, 40 Arthurs Lake Rd, Arthurs Lake, +61 3 6259 8173. M–Sa 8AM–6PM; Su 8AM–3PM. A small basic roadhouse with the bare minimum most remote roadhouses on the mainland have.

Drink edit

Sleep edit

Lodging edit

  • 1 Thousand Lakes Lodge, 1247 Lake Augusta Rd, Central Plateau, +61 418 342 694. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. This is one of the region's more secluded lodges near Lake Augusta, where the Ouse River begins. Here, you'll be able to experience true alpine wilderness without having to camp, but it comes at a hefty price, and is not conveniently close to any other POI apart from Lake Augusta. From $445.

Camping edit

Backcountry edit

Go next edit

Routes via Highland Lakes
Deloraine NW A5 SE  BothwellMelton Mowbray (  jcn)
A10 jcn near Bronte Park/Derwent Bridge SW B11 NE  END
END SW B51 NE  CressyLongford

Road options from the Highland Lakes are fairly limited, but you have the few following options:

This rural area travel guide to Highland Lakes is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.