Walking along the Briseis Water Race

Walking track following trench through forest

The Briseis Water Race (sometimes described as “The Great Briseis Water Race” or just “The Great Briseis Race”) transported water from Ringarooma to the Briseis Tin Mine at Derby. Built between 1901 and 1902, it was an immense engineering effort for its time, covering 48 kilometres, employing 300 workers and costing £60,000.

Most of the race is on private land, overgrown or otherwise inaccessible; part is still in use to bring water to the Branxholm Reservoir. Fortunately an unused section of the race at the town of Branxholm has been set aside for a walking track.

Getting There

Driving to Branxholm from most parts of Tasmania is simple. However, it can be time-consuming due to the winding roads in its area. Once there, we turned south onto Donald Street. This became Ruby Flats Road, which was unsealed for about two kilometres to the car park.

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Walking around Mount Paris Dam

River flowing through hole in concrete dam wall

Mount Paris Dam sits on the Cascade River south of Derby, Tasmania. It was built as the Morning Star Dam, water source for a nearby tin mine of the same name. If it were filled, it would just be another medium-sized dam among many in Tasmania. However, in 1985 the Rivers and Waters Supply Commission intentionally holed the dam. With the dam now empty and the Cascade River running through the middle, it is a fascinating place to explore.

Getting There

Mount Paris Dam is just off Mount Paris Dam Road. This may be reached from the Tasman Highway at either Branxholm (to the west) or Weldborough (to the east). Branxholm is closer from Launceston or Hobart, but the distance driven on Mount Paris Dam Road is longer: 17 kilometres from Branxholm, or 6 kilometres from Weldborough.

Mount Paris Dam Road was an unsealed forestry road. We found it to be wide, solid and no trouble to drive on. Stay clear of the drainage ditches on the south side. The final few hundred metres to the car park were not as good; if your vehicle has a particularly low wheelbase, you may prefer to park on Mount Paris Dam Road and walk from there.

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