Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Hastings Caves State Reserve

Newdegate cave, Tasmania, Australia
11 Feb 2015 | From Louise of Australia 

Hastings Caves State Reserve is the setting of a complex of caves and a natural hot springs located 102 km (63 mi) south of Hobart, Australia. It forms part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. Hastings Caves Reserve is the location of Newdegate Cave, the largest tourism cave in Australia. Newdegate Cave, the largest dolomite cave in Australia open to tourists, is a part of the complex. They are located 5 km from the nearby Lune River fossil/gem center and the Ida Bay Railway. Named after Sir Francis Newdegate, the Governor of Tasmania from 1917-1920, Newdegate Cave is the largest tourist cave in Australia which occurs in dolomite, rather than limestone.

The complex features natural hot springs, which cause many of the local streams to be at a year round temperature of 28 degrees. This feeds a swimming pool at the Hastings Cave visitor center, which is available to visitors to swim in.

The caves were discovered in 1917 by timber workers cutting trees near the entrance of the cave. The caves were initially opened up to tourists in the 1920s, and later the state government stepped in and took control during the Great Depression. Steps and a road to the cave were completed as part of depression era construction work to spur the economy, and the cave was officially opened by Albert Ogilvie, Premier of Tasmania, in 1939.

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