Hidden in the lost valley of Loongana amongst the mountains of North West Tasmania. Mountain Valley an eco retreat on a Private Nature Reserve, with six cosy log cabins nestled under the majestic presence of Black Bluff Mt ideal for those interested in hiking, flora and unique wildlife experiences.
Guided platypus, glow worm grotto, cave or forest habitat tours. There are deep river gorges, cool fern glades, ancient rainforests, glacial lakes, mountain peaks and cascading waterfalls – all easy to explore.
Len and Pat Doherty are the owners of Mountain Valley, spanning 61 hectares and is situated in a river valley approximately 50km inland from the north coast and 340m – 500m above sea level. Vegetation includes a combination of one hundred year old regrowth wet sclerophyll forest – comprising predominantly of manna gums (Eucalyptus viminalis), alpine ashes (E. Delegatensis) and some rainforest remnants – old growth forest, riparian habitat and limestone karst.
Many of the wildlife species found on the property are threatened or unique including Karst invertebrates, Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii), spotted-tailed (Dasyurus maculatus) and eastern (Dasyurus viverrinus) quolls, Tasmanian pademelons (Thylogale billardierii), brushtail (Trichosurus vulpecula) and ringtail (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) possums, wombats (Vombatus ursinus tasmaniensis), platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), short-beaked echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus), tiger (Notechis scutatus) and lowland copperhead (Austrelaps superbus) snakes, skinks (Scincidae spp.), burrowing (Engaeus spp.) and giant freshwater (Astacopsis gouldi) crayfish, water rats (Hydromys chrysogaster), dusky antechinus (Antechinus swainsonii), and 11 of the 12 birds endemic to Tasmania.
This sanctuary is featured in Wildlife Lands 20!
We bought our land in the late ’70s along with a lot of likeminded people. But over the years lands changed hands and the native forest was replaced with plantations.
We had developed a tourist accommodation business on our 61 hectares and decided to protect the wet sclerophyll forest and karst system in perpetuity against the time when we may sell. First it was under the State and Federal Governments’ ‘Private Forest Reserve’ program to protect the manna gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), of which there are now only 2% of the original forests remaining. The land also had an extensive limestone karst system on it which was also included into the reserve. Some of the invertebrates are found only in this cave. Later we were approached to place a ‘Private Nature Reserve’ on the property. This is the highest private conservation status available. So now we have the ‘Mountain Valley Private Nature Reserve’ with management plans for both the forest and the cave.
Our guests now come from all over the world to see Tasmania’s wildlife in the wild. Those that can be seen on a regular basis are Tasmanian devils, spotted-tailed quolls, possums, wallabies, wombats and platypus. Cave invertebrates, including cave crickets, cave spiders and glow worms. Eleven of the twelve endemic birds of Tasmania. The real exciting times are when unexpectedly we get a surprise, like when we found a pygmy possum when Len was cutting firewood, or the arrival of a pair of eastern quolls – not a regular visitor to our forest. One was obviously with young and they stayed around for 12-18 months. Then there is always the call from guests -“Help, we have a bat inside our cabin.”
We have learnt a lot and still learning about the ecology of the land and love sharing it with guests and scientists who come to study the cave. There is a lot of satisfaction that comes from knowing that the land, the forest and the cave is protected in perpetuity.