The original Hastings town was located at Hastings Bay, the large waterway on your left just before the turn-off to Hastings Caves. Established in 1868, Hastings preceded 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. Hastings once had the largest mill in Tasmania,  which also generated its own electricity. Whilst initially much of the timber was essential for all the town’s domestic needs for housing and fuel, milled timber was exported from Hastings, and later,  when silting of the bay became a problem, timber was barged out to the international wharf at  Deep Hole in Southport Bay. Boat-building too, was a significant occupation in the bay, depending on the surrounding forest for its raw material. Coal, from nearby Coal Hill, was mined and exported from Hastings and a eucalyptus oil distillery operated there, albeit briefly. Such was the size of the settlement, that over its history it included two stores, a post and telegraph office, a cemetery, school, bakery, dance hall and a church. A temperance town (no pub), Hastings also fielded its own cricket team.

It was the discovery of the dolomite caves by timber workers in 1917, that led to the early emergence of tourism in the area – road construction to the caves began in 1935. With little remaining of the original settlement, Hastings as a name, is most often associated with the Hastings Caves. Hastings Caves and Thermal Pool is open to the public every day, with a cafe in the Visitor Centre and regular cave tours operating.