Hastings preceeded Lune River as a site for settlement. Both arose principally around timber-getting, with many miles of tramways giving access to the extensive forests – mostly eucalypt. Established in 1868, Hastings once had the largest mill in Tasmania, which also generated its own electricity. Milled timber from both areas was barged out to the nearby international wharf at Deep Hole, Southport.
Limestone was later sent by train from Lune River, using the same wharf. All access was originally by water, with the two communities of Lune River and Hastings separated by a long, narrow tongue of land, and boat-building became a significant industry in the area, with coal once exported via Hastings. Here too, a eucalyptus oil distillery operated briefly. By necessity, people grew vegetables, fruit-orchards and livestock for food, with hunting and fishing an essential part of life as well as providing income. The discovery of the Hastings dolomite caves by timber workers(1917), led to the early development of tourism.
Hastings Caves and Thermal Pool is open to the public every day, with regular tours operating. A cafe is available at the pool.