Best tourist activities around Derby

After a few days riding maybe you need a day to rest, or you just want to see what else there is to do in the area. We've got you covered, here are our picks for the best tourist activities around Derby.

These days Derby is definitely a mountain biking town, and on the surface, it may not seem like there is a whole lot else to do in the area. Well, dear reader, appearances can be deceiving, and there is plenty to keep you busy when you need a day off the bike, or you have come to town with folks who may not be mountain bikers.

Whether it be hiking, chasing brown trout on the fly, looking for buried treasure or even seeing the widest living tree in Australia, all of that and more is within a short radius of town.


Did you know that Tas Fisheries stocks the Briseis Hole with Rainbow and Brown trout? Well, now you do, and it’s a great spot to toss in a line, whether you’re using a spin rod or handline, or want to test your luck on flies.

There is excellent fly fishing all around Derby, and we’ve had great luck on the Ringarooma and Weld Rivers — you could find precious gems and land a fat Rainbow Trout all in a day out — how good!

There is great trout fishing around Derby, and Inland Fisheries even stocks the Briseis Hole.

We’ve heard of folks fishing Cascade Dam, though with limited shoreline access and tonnes of submerged debris, it sounds like a snag fest waiting to happen.

Pioneer Lake is about 20 min from town and has played host to trout fishing competitions in years past.

Be mindful that trout fishing season runs from August to April in brown trout waters and October to May in rainbow trout waters. Other places like Pioneer Lake are open for angling year-round. This is to provide the best opportunity and prevent overfishing during spawning.

You will also need to pick up an inland fishing licence before you cast a line. Head over to the Inland Fisheries website for everything you need to know.

Hiking and walks

One of the things we love about Derby is the forest and seeing how it changes through the network. If your legs need a break from pedalling, but you are keen to be outside in nature, there is plenty to keep you busy.

If you are going to lace up your hiking boots, we’d recommend making the effort to go up to the Blue Tier. It’s about an hour and a half in the car, but it’s well worth the effort.

The Blue Tier is one of only a handful of places that was unglaciated through the last ice age; it’s absolutely spectacular. From sprawling myrtle beech forests, to blankets of lichens, mosses and ferns to bright orange strawberry bracket fungus — the flora is spectacular.

There are unbelieving hiking opportunities around Derby, especially on the Blue Tier.

With everything from the Goblin Forest Walk and Mount Poimena, which should take under an hour, to Mount Michael and the Australia Hill circuit, which will take between two and four hours, there is plenty to do.

The Blue Tier is also home to the aptly named “Big Tree”, which is the widest living tree in Australia, it’s 60m tall and 19.4m wide. It’s about a 15-minute walk to get there, or there is a longer circuit — it’s definitely not one to miss.

If you are part of the camp that believes TLC had it all wrong and you should go chasing waterfalls, not far from the Big Tree walk is Halls Falls, a small but mighty waterfall accessible by a short walk. To the east is St Columba Falls, a 90m waterfall at the end of a lovely walk through lush rainforest.

TLC had it all wrong, you absolutely should go chasing waterfalls

And then there is Ralphs Falls, the highest single-drop waterfall on the Apple Isle. Cascading off an escarpment for nearly 100m, you can make a b-line from the car park in about 20-min or take the long way back along a walking track that runs along the edge of the escarpment, through lush rainforest, broadleaf scrub and traverses button grass moorlands.

Pyengana Dairy cafe and cheese factory

Pyengana is a tiny village in the shadow of St Columba Falls and is home to the Pyengana Dairy. You’d be crazy to come through here and not stop in to sample some cheese and watch these artisans work their magic.

The family-run dairy has been making farmhouse cloth-aged cheddars for over 130 years. With a cafe in house it’s a great spot to grab breakfast, enjoy a platter of the dairy’s finest wares, or grab a scoop of ice cream to go.

The Pyengana Dairy Company makes award-winning, traditional cheeses, in Pyengana, north-east Tasmania.

Gem Fossicking

Fossicking is gathering minerals without commercial intent, and while at the turn of the century, mining operations did their damndest to remove all the valuable materials from the ground, there were still plenty of treasures just out of plain sight.

Northeast Tassie is still rich with precious stones, and we know of quite a few people who have found sapphires large enough to set into jewellery on days off from riding. Fossicking in most places around Tassie requires a licence HOWEVER, the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995 set aside several places where everyday folks can try their luck.

Just about splitting the difference between the Derby and Blue Tier trails is the Weld River Fossicking area, one of a few places in Tassie where you can prospect without a license.

One such designated recreational fossicking area is located 12km down the Tasman Highway on the Weld River at Moorina. You’ll need a set of sieves and a shovel at the bare minimum, though as you’ll be spending some time in the river, waders or gum boots won’t go awry either.

The North East Tasmanian Lapidary Club operates out of the Old Courthouse on Derby’s main drag and has open meetings on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 10-4 p.m. where they run cabbing machines, saws, faceting machines and more.

The Pub in the Paddock at Pyengana

As the name suggests, The Pub in the Paddock is quite literally a pub plopped in the middle of a paddock.

The Pub in the Paddock offers country accommodation and meals at Pyengana, north east Tasmania.

Slinging cold ones since 1880, The Pub in the Paddock is home to Priscilla, the beer-drinking pig — not to worry, she is only served special super watered-down brewskis, but she’ll still down a stubby in about seven seconds!

Inside is a classic Aussie pub. The publican will pour an ice cold — not watered down — James Boags, there is a full menu of pub delights, and there are rooms available for those who’d like to get the full Pub in the Paddock experience.

Floating Sauna

Sometimes, a riding trip doesn’t totally feel like a vacation because you never stop moving. It’s all go go go, on the shuttle, up, down, up, down, where are we eating? What trail we doing next? Another lap of Air Ya Garn, anyone?

The Floating Sauna on Lake Derby is a one-of-a-kind experience in Tassie, offering a traditional Finnish wood-fired sauna floating on a pontoon. Once you have a good sweat going, you’re encouraged to take the plunge into the Brieses Hole.

We won’t go into the purported health benefits of cold plunge and sauna — there are folks way more qualified to do that — but what we will say is that it offers a lovely contrast to the adrenaline of riding. It’s a time to slow down and just be in the moment to relax without your phone — a fantastic way to unwind after a big day on the bike.

Breweries, distilleries and wineries

We love an afternoon at the brewery, tasting paddles and gastronomy. Fortunately, there is no shortage of master fermenters around Derby. The new kids on the block are found in Lot 40, on Main Street, where you’ll find Tin Mountain Brewing and Distilling. Located in the old Tin Centre, they’re slinging a range of brewskis and Blue Trail Gin, made in-house.

Lot 40 is the new kid on the block (well..on Main Street in Derby), but there are some great breweries and distilleries around.

Just up the road in Scottsdale is Little Rivers Brewing. Opening up shop in 2014, they have been around from the beginning and are long-time supporters of the trails. With a range of classic styles, to IPAs inspired by some of the best trails in the network, Chris and his crew have dipped their toes into spirits — and dear reader they are lovely. You’ll find their suds around town, but it’s well worth making the trip to the cellar door for a beer and a pizza.

Just around the corner from Little Rivers Is Darby-Norries Distillery, which has won all manner of awards for its small-batch Gin, Vodka and Rum. Starting in Kelso, Tas, Darby Norris moved its production to what is now the cellar door to Scottsdale in 2020. Stop in for a tasting, a tour and take away bottles of their finest wares.

Photos: Tourism Australia, Rob Burnett/Tourism Tasmania,  Kathryn Leahy/Tourism Tasmania, Andrew McIntosh, Ocean Photography/ Tourism Tasmania, Nick Osborne/Tourism Tasmania, Poon Wai Nang/Tourism Tasmania, Samuel Shelley/Tourism Tasmania, Adam Gibson/Tourism Tasmania.

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