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Hastings Caves celebrates 90th anniversay with open day


One of southern Tasmania's top natural visitor destinations is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month.

Timber workers in the Hartz Valley discovered Hastings Caves and its thermal springs when they were working in the valleys of the Hartz Mountains in 1917.

All Tasmanians have been invited to join in an open day on Saturday (November 24) to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the caves' discovery.

Hastings Caves and the Thermal Springs were opened to the public in 1939.

It was declared a State Reserve in 1919 and is now managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service.

There will be free admission to the caves and thermal springs, plus free cave tours, so it's a great opportunity for people to experience the rich formations of the Newdegate cave on a cave tour.

The open day will also feature fun and entertainment, including singers and a special performance by the Dover District High School Marimba Group.

Newdegate Caves is one of only two dolomite caves in Australia open for public viewing and one of the oldest show caves in the Southern Hemisphere. The formation of the caves started tens of millions of years ago.

Newdegate Cave, like most of Tasmania's caves, is home to a number of strange and fascinating animals. Over 40 species have been discovered within the cave, many of which occur nowhere else.

Hastings is also one of southern Tasmania's biggest visitor drawcards, with approximately 30,000 visitors per year and has provided guided tours from 1939 to the present. It was declared a state reserve in 1919.

The thermal springs, which are naturally heated to 28 degrees celsius, are beside the visitor centre and have long been an attraction in their own right, providing swimming facilities for local residents, interstate and international visitors.

In 2000 a new visitor centre was built opposite the historic chalet to provide centralised ticketing for the whole site, as well as a gift shop and the café.