There’s something special happening in a little town in the North East of Tasmania.
Derby, once home to 3,000 people in its tin mining heyday, is having its resurgence. Derby has been reinvented into an adventure packed destination for those seeking adrenaline, adventure and eco-luxe experiences. There’s something for everyone to enjoy in the town with a historic past and exciting future.
Derby is a scenic 1 hour and 30 minute drive from Launceston, through the rolling countryside and moody rainforests that have become synonymous with Tasmania. This region happens to be one of the premier sparkling wine regions of Tasmania, with vineyards such as Jansz, Delamere, Kreglinger and Clover Hill – you’re spoiled for choice.
Arriving at Derby, you’ll be greeted by restored mining cottages and cabin-inspired accommodation, nestled into the surrounding rainforest.
Derby is a mountain bike mecca, home to several world class mountain bike trails under the Blue Derby network. There are 125km worth of trails highlighting the region’s natural beauty. There’s a trail for all abilities: from children and beginners, to the more advanced riders. The trails are free to use and access, making it family-friendly.
There are several local businesses, such as Vertigo MTB and Evolution Biking, that can assist with fitting and hiring all the gear needed for a day of fun. These businesses also offer shuttle busses to assist with accessing different parts of the trails.
Take the Plunge
The country’s first Floating Sauna is located in the heart of Derby. Sitting tranquil on Derby Lake (Briseis Hole to the locals), the sauna is a 10 minute walk from town. The sauna provides beautiful views of surrounding forests – before you take the plunge into the cold (but refreshing) water. It’s popular, so book in advance.
There’s also plenty of Tasmanian produce on offer. The Hub Derby is the perfect place to enjoy a woodfired pizza on the deck, watching the world go by. There’s a selection of local wines and craft beers – we highly recommend the local favourite, Little Rivers Brewing Co.
Discover some gems
Explore the historical gems that this region has to offer. Visit the Derby School House Museum and learn about the mining history of this town, including its mining boom and the 1929 flooding disaster.
Take a trip to Little Blue Lake, a 25 minute drive North of Derby. As the name suggests, the lake is a bright turquoise blue. The colour results from historical mineral deposits that occurred when this was a thriving mining region. It’s picturesque, but not safe for swimming.
The last stop, Mt Paris Dam, is a local must-see and a 15 minute drive from Derby. The Dam was constructed mostly by hand in 1935-36 for mining operations. When you arrive here, you will be in awe of the concrete wall standing tall in the forest, slowly being reclaimed by nature. It’s listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register and remains an important reminder of the town’s history.
Derby: Historic past, exciting future.
In the North East of Tasmania a little town, once home to nearly 3,000 people in its mining heyday, is having its resurgence.
The town of Derby has re-emerged from its past life as a bustling mining town, to an adventure packed destination for adrenaline junkies and those seeking more eco-luxe experiences.
There’s a little something for everyone to enjoy.
Day one: Destination Derby
Derby is in the heart of North East of Tasmania. It is a scenic 1 hour and 30 minute drive from the northern city of Launceston or a 3 hour and 30 minute drive from Tasmania’s capital city of Hobart.
This region also happens to be one of the premier sparkling wine regions of Tasmania, with cellar doors such as Jansz, Delamere, Kreglinger and Clover Hill – you’re spoiled for choice. On your journey to Derby, or using Derby as your base, stop in and visit a vineyard to enjoy some local produce and local Tasmanian wine.
When you arrive at Derby you will see restored mining cottages and other reminders from its past. There are plenty of accommodation options to choose from, including the River Cabins Derby, Dales of Derby, Tin Mountain Derby and the Blue Derby Pods Ride, nestled in the natural surrounds of Derby’s rivers and forests.
Once you’ve settled in, take a walk through this cute town or visit the gorgeous Derby School House Museum to learn more about Derby’s very interesting mining history. When you’re finished, why not head down to the grand Dorset Hotel for a delicious country pub meal.
Day Two: Ride, rinse, repeat!
Wake up feeling refreshed and ready for adventure!
Derby is considered a mountain bike mecca. There are several world-class trails to ride in the Blue Derby network. The trails wind through the spectacular forests and rivers of Derby, highlighting the natural beauty of this town. There is a trail for all levels of abilities: from children and beginners, to the more advanced adrenaline junkies!
The trails are free to use and access, and there are several local businesses, such as Vertigo MTB, which can assist you with fitting and hiring all the mountain bike gear you need for a day of fun. These businesses also offer shuttle bus services from Derby to assist you with accessing different parts of the trail network.
If you’re feeling peckish after working up a sweat, head to Two Doors Down Café for a lunchtime feed. Then what better way to wind down after your busy day, than a sauna?
The picturesque Floating Sauna Derby is located on Derby Lake (also known as Briseis Hole). It’s a quick 10 minute walk over to the sauna from the town, across the large suspension bridge. When you arrive, you might be forgiven for thinking that you were somewhere in Scandinavia.
The Floating Sauna provides beautiful views over the surrounding forests, and lake in which you will be taking the plunge into the cold (but refreshing) water. Once you’ve finished, you can dry off at the communal fire pot next to the sauna - don’t forget to take some marshmallows!
When you’re ready for dinner, head back to town and to the Hub Derby. It’s the perfect place for woodfired pizza and to watch the town from the deck. There’s also a great selection of craft beers from the local North East favourite, Little Rivers Brewing Co.
Day Three: Discovering some gems
After breakfast, it’s time to change gears and explore the history and sights of Derby and its surrounds.
Jump in the car and head towards Little Blue Lake at South Mount Cameron, a 25 minute drive North of Derby. As the name suggests, the lake is a brilliant turquoise blue. The colour is a result of historical mineral deposits that occurred when this region was full of thriving mining towns. It’s a picturesque spot for a photograph and a picnic for lunch, but not safe for swimming.
As you return through to Derby you will get a better view of the Trout Fish art painted on the rockface, proudly perched on the hill. This artwork pays homage to the river trout that inhabit these waterways.
Before it’s time to say goodbye to the town of Derby, there’s one last spot you must see.
Mt Paris Dam, is a quick 20 minute drive from Derby along Mt Paris Dam Road. The Dam was constructed mostly by hand in 1935-36 as part of local mining operations. It is now listed on the Tasmanian Heritage Register and remains an important reminder of the history of the town. When you arrive here, you will be in awe of the huge wall of concrete standing in the forest, slowly being reclaimed by nature. The perfect way to finish your visit to Derby.