Central Highlands, Tasmania
Go fly fishing on pristine private lakes, chase trout in a glacial lake, or immerse yourself in world-heritage wilderness; there's plenty to keep the avid fishing enthusiast busy in this itinerary.
By Steve Starling
What to expect
- Take in the natural beauty of the Central Plateau
- Go trout fishing in clear Tasmanian lakes
- Enjoy a Tasmanian homestead
- Time: 5 Days
- Distance: 230 kilometres (143 miles)
- Transport: Car
- Nearest Major City: Hobart
- Price: $$$
The lakes and freshwater streams of Tasmania are famous for their brown, brook and rainbow trout (best from February to March). But there is plenty to see and do for those who don’t fish, from visiting the island’s whisky distilleries to enjoying the beautiful landscape of the Central Plateau.
Day 1: at home in a century-old homestead
Drive a leisurely 40 minutes from the airport in Launceston or the ferry terminal at Devonport, via the village of Deloraine, to the luscious Meander Valley, where Driftwater operate their acclaimed fly fishing operation from a fully-renovated, century-old homestead surrounded by magnificent gardens. (Deloraine and the nearby Driftwater establishment are also located well under three hour’s drive from Hobart.)
Meet your hosts and drop your bags in one of the homestead’s spacious bedrooms, each with its own well-appointed ensuite, before you pull out your waders (or try on a pair from Driftwater’s large collection) because after a delicious lunch featuring local produce, you have a hot date with a wild trout or three.
Time to wet a line! Your Driftwater fly fishing itinerary will be tailored specifically to suit your personal desires, level of expertise and the prevailing weather and water conditions. You may find yourself casting tiny dry flies to delicately rising trout from one of Driftwater’s hand-crafted timber drift boats, walking an empty lake margin looking for tell-tale fin tips breaking the glassy surface, or wading a wild, back country stream where speckled trout jump freely in pursuit of hatching insects.
That night, you can relive your experiences over a memorable meal in a local restaurant or choose a shared dining option before retiring back at Driftwater.
Day 2: so many fish, so little time
Morning and Afternoon
Enjoy a very full day of fishing under the watchful eye of Driftwater’s expert guides, punctuated by a sumptuous picnic lunch served right on the river bank or lake shore. Sample some of Driftwater’s growing collection of custom-built, split-cane bamboo fly rods, use their state-of-the-art modern tackle, or take your own. But rest assured, not only will you enjoy a wonderful day’s fishing, you’ll also learn a great deal about wild trout, their habits and how best to catch them.
Refresh back in your room before visiting another local eatery that evening, and perhaps sampling some of Tasmania’s award-winning wines, spirits and beers over dinner and beyond.
Day 3: living the fly fishing dream
After a cooked breakfast of farm-fresh eggs and Meander Valley bacon at Driftwater homestead, you’re on the road, driving up the rugged escarpment with its breathtaking views and into the island state’s Central Highlands. Passing the blue mirror of aptly-named Great Lake, you’ll swing westward onto a well-maintained gravel road, to enter a heritage-listed world of uniquely Antipodean sub-alpine flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for wallabies, wombats and perhaps (if you’re lucky), a Tasmanian devil.
You’ll catch sight of Thousand Lakes Lodge in the highlands just a long cast from the stony shores of Lake Augusta. The Lodge’s spartan, almost austere exterior belies the warmth and intimacy that waits within. This is surely one of the most luxurious “fishing shacks” to be found anywhere on the planet.
Your expert guide will meet you after lunch to discuss the afternoon’s options. In mid-summer, there’s really no rush. You’ll still have enough light left to tie on another fly at 9PM, although with venison pie, local wines and a host of other delights on the menu, chances are you’ll want to be back long before darkness settles!
As the Lodge’s name implies, there are a myriad of local waterways to choose from (even if not quite a thousand). This afternoon you’ll most likely visit one of the Nineteen Lagoons: shallow, clear glacial tarns that are justifiably famous in international fly-fishing circles. You are now officially living the fly fishing dream.
Day 4: highlands immersion
Morning and Afternoon
Soak up the Central Highland’s trout fishing experience with your guide today. Chances are you’ll visit several different lakes, tarns and connecting rivers through the course of the day, taking a break for lunch right beside the sparkling water, and perhaps being interrupted mid-bite by another rising trout.
These clean waters are well populated with wild-bred, chocolate-spotted brown trout that can trace their ancestry directly to British stock transplanted here during the 1860s. Pick their path, cast your fly and set the trap. The waiting game is always a delicious cocktail of tension and anticipation. Just remember to breathe.
You’re sure to be weary by the time you return to Thousand Lakes Lodge that evening, but definitely not too tired to swap fishing stories with your fellow guests before tucking into another amazing meal.
Day 5: coming down from the ultimate high
Take one last cast on the Central Plateau before departure, and with trout-filled lakes in every direction you look, that won’t be hard to arrange.
Haven’t had enough of Tasmania’s feisty trout yet? Never fear, there are plenty more options should you wish to extend or mix up your accommodation styles. We recommend RiverFly’s unique back country huts in the heart of the Tasmanian heritage-listed highland’s wilderness. Or, if the fishing bug has been fully sated, why not visit one or more of the state’s historical little villages: places like Ross or Campbell Town. A must try: the Tasmanian scallop pies.
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