Mayfield Bay, East Coast

Heritage Highway - Launceston to Hobart (or reverse)

1-2 Days

Much of this drive follows the Midland Highway, the main route between Tasmania's northern and southern population centres of Launceston and Hobart.

Dubbed the Heritage Highway, it offers many opportunities to experience Tasmania's colonial past.

Although Tasmania is known for its 19th century penal settlements, it was very much a traditional colonial community, supported by the labour, produce and enterprise of free settlers.

A drive along the Heritage Highway introduces visitors to towns that have serviced Tasmania's farmers and graziers since the early 1800s.

The highway bypasses many of these historic towns so visitors can stop and wander their quiet streets, browse among arts, crafts and antiques and enjoy the aroma of freshly baked country bread and the sounds of rural life.

Day 1: Launceston, Evandale, Longford, Campbell Town - 55 min/66 km

  • Visit Evandale, a charming colonial village with Georgian buildings dating back to the 1820s. In Evandale, visit the Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Company.
  • Just 11 km south of Evandale is Clarendon homestead, on the banks of the South Esk River, where visitors can wander through elegantly furnished rooms overlooking extensive formal gardens, beautiful parklands and the original farm buildings.
  • Lunch in Longford
  • A short drive from the town centre is Brickendon Estate, an historic working farm continuously owned and managed by members of the same family for almost two centuries. Enjoy the National Estate listed gardens before feeding farmyard animals.
  • Adjacent to Brickendon is Woolmers Estate, home to the National Rose Garden. A wide range of collections acquired by the Archer family from 1817 to 1994 provides a rare insight into six generations of one family. Escorted tours are available.
  • Continue to Campbell Town, the historic heart of Tasmania with over 100 houses that are more than 100 years old.
  • On the way, at Cleveland, is St Andrew’s Inn, an example of a typical 19th century coaching inn where horse-drawn carriages stopped en route between Hobart and Launceston.
  • After dinner at Campbell Town, walk along the banks of the Elizabeth River and see the Red Bridge, built in 1838 by convict labour using over one million hand-made bricks.
  • Overnight Campbell Town.

Day 2: Campbell Town, Ross, Oatlands, Bothwell, Kempton, Hobart - 1 hr 40 min/131 km

  • Just 10 minutes south of Campbell Town is the village of Ross where visitors can stroll under huge English elms in the main street and see the famous Ross Bridge (1836). Also nearby is the site of the female factory prison.
  • Ross is in the heart of Tasmania’s world-renowned wool-growing area and displays in the Tasmanian Wool Centre include samples of superfine wool cloth together with other interesting features of a bygone era.
  • Lunch at one of Ross's bakeries or cafes or at the village pub.
  • Continue half an hour further south to Oatlands
  • On the way, stop and admire the old coaching inn at Tunbridge – now a stately private residence. Spanning the river at Tunbridge is the convict-built Blackman’s River Bridge, dating back to 1848 and the oldest wooden span bridge in Australia.
  • At Oatlands see the largest collection of colonial sandstone buildings in a village environment in Australia including the old gaol, courthouse and distinctive Callington Mill. Visit the Heritage Highway Centre for more information about the town and region
  • Climb to the top of the Callington Mill steam and wind flour mill - the country’s third oldest windmill.
  • About 30 minutes-drive off the main highway is Bothwell, home to the oldest golf course in the Southern Hemisphere, dating back to the 1820s. The Australasian Golf Museum at Bothwell has the most interesting memorabilia outside of St Andrews in Scotland.
  • Back on the main highway and easily overlooked is the tiny township of Kempton –- look for the turn-off. The main street of this historic village reveals another charming collection of colonial homes, cottages, churches, shops, taverns and coaching inns, all within one kilometre.
  • Passing through Mangalore and Bagdad, see the magnificent old homes by the side of the road – Marlbrook, Oakwood, Wybra Hall and Shene - seen in the distance with its gabled outbuildings and clock tower.
  • After Mangalore, continue on to Pontville and see fine examples of colonial architecture including sandstone churches, a convict-built bridge, hotels, stately homes and workmen’s cottages.
  • See the beautiful St Mark’s Church (1839), with its distinctive Romanesque architecture designed by convict architect James Blackburn. Then stroll through the old graveyard, with its stories of the suffering and success of early settlers.
  • Continue on to Hobart.

Further Information