The Don Mine Tin Company operated from 1880 and the Duco Tin Mine from 1919. The rain forest has almost totally reclaimed the small workings now. But you will enjoy the short walk and the glow worms!
How to find the Don Mine in North East Tasmania
From Tin Dragon Trail Cottages turn right onto the Tasman Highway (A3). Continue along the Tasman Highway through Derby, Moorina to Weldborough (26 Km). Out of Welborough the Tasman Highway crosses the Weld River (3.1 km).
Then continue another 2.6km to the Little Plains Lookout and junction with Lottah Road. Turn left into Lottah Road. This gravel road is suitable for an average sedan car. Drive another 5.5 km, cross the Crystal Creek bridge and find a car park. Less than 100m from the bridge, the Don Mine walk is indicated by a yellow marker & small sign on a tree next to the road (LHS).
On our most recent visit to the Don mine walk (Sept 2020), the sign on the tree had fallen off, but the blaze can still be seen.
On the opposite side of the road to the start of the Don mine circuit walk you can wander down an old road to an abandoned and rotting wooden bridge. Don’t attempt to cross it! However the scenery will reward you if you can shimmy down to Crystal Creek. You may need to wander a little upstream to find a more suitable place to access the creek, because the bank near the bridge is very steep!
How to find the Duco Adit
The walk from the Don mine takes you past old mining relics including an abandoned boiler. To complete the walk you will need to cross the Crystal Creek. But during periods of high rain fall you might find the rock-hopping difficult. So you might like to access the Duco adit via a short walk from the Lottah Road!
As you approach Crystal Creek on Lottah Road, slow down to look for a large tree with a small yellow blaze. On the opposite side of the road you will find a short walk in to the Duco Adit.
Care for the wild life!
This small damp cave is remarkable for its cave-life. If you are lucky you should see Glow worms and Tasmanian cave spiders. It is important that you don’t allow more than one or two people into the cave together, so you don’t disturb the ecology!
Of course glow worms aren’t actually worms, but the larvae of a type of gnat. Look carefully to see their long sticky threads hanging down. There are very few accessible places to view these creatures. So we ask you to be very careful not to disturb them.
Tasmanian cave spiders
Tasmanian cave spiders are the last of an old Gondwanan lineage of spiders. They still retain the primitive pattern of four abdominal breathing organs, called book lungs–seen as four light patches on the underside of the abdomen. Neil Gaiman and the Bookend Trust filmed a fascinating documentary featuring these pre-historic creatures.
In 2018 we hosted Luke O’Brien, photographer. You can still see his photos of the Duco on his Blog. Can you see the spider in his photo, above?
If you are interested in Tasmanian tin-mining heritage you might also like to visit the old Anchor stampers next time you visit Tin Dragon Cottages.