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If you’re spending a day or two exploring our southern gems, don’t miss the Ida Bay Railway or Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs. The scenic railway ride is a fascinating journey through history. The incredible caves almost have to be seen to be believed, and floating in the thermal pool will relax every bone in your body. Best of all, these activities are all kid friendly, so take the whole family along for the ride. Read on for four reasons to visit these two southern jewels.

Ida Bay Railway & Café
1. The scenery
Climb aboard the historic WWII diesel locomotive, sit back, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the scenic two hour journey. You’ll wind your way along the water’s edge and through bush planes to Deep Hole, where you can stretch your legs and wander the pristine white beach. If you want more, you can even extend your experience and take the hour-and-a-half walk to the Southport Lagoon.
2. The history
This Heritage-listed railway is a real treasure – it’s one of the last operating bush tramways in Australia. You’ll learn some of the intriguing history along the way, and your tour guide will even make a stop at the fascinating historic cemetery.
3. The staff
With staff so passionate about the local area, they love showing you the hidden gems and making your experience aboard Ida Bay Railway a special one. Soak it all in and let their knowledge enrich your experience.
4. The grub
All this excitement is bound to work up an appetite. Grab a bite to eat in the café it’s the last place in Tasmania to get a feed!

For more info: Ida Bay Railway & Café | Ida Bay Railway website

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Images: Rebekah | Rory Tait | Paul Panther | Peter D

Hastings Caves & Thermal Springs
1. The creds
The Hastings Caves State Reserve boasts the spectacular Newdegate Cave, the largest tourist cave in Australia which occurs in dolomite, rather than limestone. The richly decorated chambers began forming tens of millions of years ago, but the caves remained a hidden gem until 1917, when they were discovered by timber workers moonlighting as treasure hunters.
2. The cave tour
Knowledgable Parks and Wildlife Service guides lead fascinating 45-minute tours through the caves. Descend into nature’s cathedral and you’ll discover spectacular subterranean formations including flowstone, stalactites, stalagmites and the unusual helictites.
3. The thermal pool
Float your worries away in the lovely pool, which is naturally heated by thermal springs and surrounded by lush forest.
4. The forest walks
Stop and smell the roses sassafras with a serene forest walk. The scenic one hour return walk to Duckhole Lake takes you through a forest of stringybarks and rainforest species such as sassafras and myrtle. The lake itself is actually a flooded sinkhole that’s part of the surrounding cave and karst landscape. Fascinating!

For more info: Hastings Caves & Thermal Springs | Hastings Caves State Reserve

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Images: Jonita Young | Leanne Marshall | Rachel Wilson | Paul Fleming | Ange


Related posts:
Huon Valley: Golden Heart of our Apple Isle Plus So Much More
Tasmania’s Far South: Journey to the Bottom of the Treasure Map
Unearthing the Treasure in the Southern Trove
Four Unique Channel Experiences to Treasure
The Brilliant Bounty of Beautiful Bruny Island

Header image:
Paul Fleming

Words:
Isabel Galloway